Pros and Cons of the Course Group Chat
By now, you will know which University you are going to, which course you will be studying and which accommodation you are in. Along side all of this comes the usual excitement and nerves, as well as a lesser-known phenomenon – hundreds and hundreds of group chats. (I exaggerate, but still. There are a lot.)
First, you join the Freshers page on Facebook. Then, someone posts about the group chat for the accommodation you are in, and your course, and maybe a subset of your course, possibly some societies you’re thinking of joining, and before you know it, your phone is a seething hellscape of notifications.
There are benefits to joining group chats – and, of course, I am in all of the ones I just mentioned. I joined the course group chat for Psychology and it was OK, for the first few weeks before term started. I got to know some people on my course, recognise a few faces. I found out a bit more about how Warwick worked from people who had friends and siblings there. I worked out who was going to which Freshers events, and which ones to avoid. In fact, one of my best friends at Uni was someone I recognised from the chat, and spoke to at the psychology welcome breakfast. Once term starts, people share notes and textbooks and study groups. So – it does do some good.
But there are also bad things about all the group chats people join. Some people do a lot of reading before the course even begins. This stresses me out. The chat itself can be a sort of microcosm of stress, where lots of nervous freshers bounce off each other and create a hurricane of tension. While it did make me feel more prepared for going in to Uni, like I knew who was who, it also made me more nervous when I realised that I was no where near as prepared as some other people.
Mostly, the problem is notifications. There were roughly one hundred people on my psychology group chat. The conversations were long. My phone was constantly buzzing, until I muted the chat. Now, I only pop in to see what’s going on – if someone needs some notes, or has a question I know the answer to, I’ll send a message, but I don’t message as much as I did this time last year. I have my own group chats, with the people in my flat, or who I sit next to in lectures. Don’t feel pressured to join a group chat if you don’t want to – you’ll make friends and start ones of your own. Or maybe you’re just not a group chat person, and that’s fine too (they can be the absolute worst).
The best piece of advice I can give you is – if you join a group chat for your course/accommodation/societies be prepared to mute. Enjoy getting to know people but the minute it starts to bug you? Mute mute mute. I guarantee the majority of people will have done so halfway through term one.