Resolutions for my 2nd first year at Warwick
In a short two weeks, I move into my house in Leamington Spa, for another year at Warwick. I’m very excited to be starting a new course, to spend time with the friends I made last year and of course to make new ones. Although I start again in first year, I already experienced the “fresher” phase of university last October. I have to say I’m glad to come back to Warwick knowing how things work, where things are and being a little bit more used to the British culture than I was a year ago. Looking and thinking back to my first experience of first year, I realised I already learned a lot and have a few “resolutions” so to speak for my second first year. I hope they’ll serve as useful tips for this year’s incoming freshers.
Last year was a bit of a tricky year for me, academically speaking as I really wasn’t enjoying my course, which cast a strange spell over my previously strong study habits. I think it is quite easy to get overwhelmed quickly by the amount of required reading, note taking and writing at uni but my advice would be to stay open minded, try out different ways of studying (old and new) and pick a strategy you like early on. Let me make all this a little more concrete by giving you an example of a strategy I plan to try out when I come back in October. Lectures and seminars tend to be pretty full on and a lot of information is thrown at you at once, making it difficult to process it all. I am going to try to take some time after every class to summarise and finalise my notes, write down any questions and make a plan for further reading.
Only do things I actually enjoy
As you know, uni provides an incredible amount of opportunities for you to take part in, whether it be social, sportive, academic, or non-academic. This is a great thing and I would be the first to recommend taking full advance of it but, in my experience, it can also mean you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t partake in everything. I think it’s important to try as many things as possible, but, if after giving it an honest go, you realise you don’t enjoy it enough to make it worth your while, then stop doing it. Energy and time are precious for a committed and ambitious student, so make sure you don’t waste it on things you don’t really enjoy.
Keep in touch with home
I’ve written a post on homesickness before and although I’ve gone through most of the culture shock now, what I learned from last year is that it really helps to go home from time to time. For international students, this isn’t always easy and has to be planned in advance. For this year, I managed to book cheap flight tickets during my two Reading Weeks to study and recover comfortably at home.
Reading the news
I really enjoy reading the news or articles from the Economist for example, but last year, I noticed I somehow always found an excuse not to. I think it’s important to stay up to date with current affairs so, this year, I’m going to try to integrate reading the news into my morning routine, over breakfast. I’ll probably have to wake up 15 mins earlier to be able to get through more than the front page but that seems like a worthwhile effort.
Bring an extra layer
I get cold very quickly and I realised last year that I’m often cold in lecture theatres, which doesn’t help me concentrate. So, this year, I’ll make sure to always have a small extra layer in my bag, just in case. Same goes for an umbrella!
Trust yourself and know that things take time to fall into place
Last year, I remember feeling like others were making close friends and were finding their way very quickly and I wasn’t. A year later, I learned two important things. One, appearances can be deceiving and people are often struggling more than they let on. Two, it takes longer for things to fall into place for some than it does for others and that’s ok. Self-doubt is a dangerous thing but being honest with yourself and staying true to who you are will always be an effective way of keeping it at bay.