Retrospection: first year
The “I can’t believe how fast it all went” is real. When my flight landed in Romania a few days ago I remembered clearly the day of my departure when first leaving Romania to come to Warwick as it would have happened a week prior to that. The first time leaving was very emotional, with me crying my eyes out because of the unknown, the sense of independence and the realization that me coming to study in a foreign country is actually going to happen.
‘Confused’ would be the word to describe myself at the very beginning. Grocery shopping, for instance, would take me ages as I would just stare at the aisles not knowing what to buy, or, more precisely, not knowing what would be easy enough to cook for someone whose cooking level is sandwiches and omlette. The time I spent in the kitchen was ‘family time’ for me as I would often call my mom asking what I need for a specific dish and realizing I had nothing of what she would mention. At the laundry, the same story, with a little piece of advice: even if the detergent says ‘for colorful clothes’, don’t get too excited and mix it all together as your clothes may turn out more colorful that you would have wished for. Been there, done that.
From here, confusion would move into the class or in the library, with me awkwardly observing others using the printing machine or the system for borrowing books only so that I could do the same and then asking for help in all directions when I would fail to recreate the steps. Then there comes the sense of being disorganized that I felt throughout the first months in the class, trying to figure some learning methods out that would allow myself to balance my academic and social life. I don’t even need to mention the first weeks into my Japanese class when the question popping into my mind would constantly be: ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ I would feel dejected, disorientated and anxious. Then here I should add the struggles of writing my first essay in an academic manner, efficiently doing some literature review, spending endless hours to come up with project ideas and them modifying those ideas and the list can go on. The night life got me just as ‘unprepared’ as any other university aspect. I had no idea what ‘having pres’ or ‘circling’ meant, but I’ve learnt it quite soon.
All the ‘initiation’ into becoming a student was actually an initiation into becoming the person I am one year later: stronger, more responsible, just as clumsy as before, and, as I like to believe, more mature. Just as I remember all the moments of confusion I’ve been through, I also remember the first time I’ve gotten a positive feedback for an essay which boosted my confidence, the first time I was told ‘good job’ in the class, the first time I attended a society meeting, the first time I went out clubbing during the week, the first time I felt comfortable enough with someone so as to become closer friends and the first time I said “I feel good here at Warwick”.
For me, it wasn’t a smooth journey and an instant sense of belonging, but a true adventure where I’ve learnt how to learn, to be patient, to take some time to adjust to a completely new life style and environment, to come out of my shell and speak up, to stand for my ideas and to accept other’s ideas and to enjoy every day as it comes. Therefore, what I want to outline is that it is ok to be confused, it is ok to get frustrated, it is ok to feel that things don’t turn out as planned form the first shot, as all of these are part of the process of being a fresher. Without such moments, the initiation into becoming a student won’t be nearly as satisfying.
I hope, as a fresher to be, you’ll enjoy your first year just as much as I did and, when you’ll be in my place to retrospectively think upon that time, you’ll see how nicely you’ve grown and hopefully, that you made the most out of your time as a fresher.