Small things to do this summer to prepare for university
Of course there are many things to fill up your summer; be it a part time job, going back to your hobbies and discovering new ones, spending time with family and friends and travelling and so forth. But there are some things you can do this summer particularly to prepare for university. These are not big things but rather small things that I did or wish I had done (after writing this post I’ve realised I may be a little early with this one but ah well).
Get yourself a Facebook account: there are probably not many people who don’t have a Facebook account these days but I was certainly one of them. Those of you who don’t have a Facebook account may hate me after you get one because I personally don’t enjoy it but it is a fact that Facebook has truly enabled me to get the most of my time at Warwick. I had resolved to delete Facebook this summer because I am more of a Twitter person but not only would it make it difficult for me to write for The Boar (they post pitch ideas on private Facebook groups) but also there are useful groups within the chemistry department and many other society related stuff is posted on Facebook. I wish there was a drive by societies to come across as accessible to people without Facebook like they do to people who don’t drink for example but for now, I feel like Facebook is (almost) a must. There are also group chats set up usually and I had one for my course and my accommodation. I am not really a group chat person but if you are, this is another benefit!
Look at the SU website societies page: I did this. I was super excited about societies and I even messaged the Bhangra society before starting university. It may help you to have a rough idea of who you want to speak to so you don’t miss anyone but don’t restrict yourself once you’re at the societies fair. It is an exciting friendly atmosphere and you’ll meet loads of people to talk to.
Contact your mentors if you have them: within the chemistry department, every fresher is assigned a mentor for their first year. I had one too and I certainly made use of this help to find my way around whenever I felt stuck. I would encourage you to get in touch with them as soon as you hear from one. If any of you reading this are chemists, then you will have a mentor.
Get your contacts sorted and numbers saved: email addresses of your department and accommodation services, web links to the student wellbeing services pages, campus security contacts and anything else. You won’t come to university knowing the answer to everything but you can certainly try to be informed about who you can ask your questions to if you need anything.
Set yourself some targets for the year: I feel weird writing this because I was super laid back in my first year. I got involved with societies but only because I enjoyed it. I didn’t have anything on my CV in the end therefore to tell you to make a list feels mean but I think it would be useful. I am not telling you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I know this is the narrative but you’re already pushing yourself by joining university and many of you will be moving out as well which is a big challenge. Give yourself the time required to adapt and try to set yourself small goals so you never lose your sense of progress.
Keep the big life lessons in mind: many bloggers have lately been reflecting upon their time at university be it on finishing the academic year or finishing university. These are invaluable lessons that no doubt you will find useful. Even if you are a cool kid, I am telling you university is deep. Remember that your mental health is very important, hard work is the key, it is possible (and beautiful) to be alone without feeling lonely, if you can’t find friends then they’ll find you, and it is both the degree and the experience not just one or the other. These are some things to keep in mind but again, I greatly encourage you to check out other blogs.
Finally, if you will be studying chemistry and can’t wait to look more into how you can prepare for the course, I blogged about that last summer. You can read the post here but I would encourage you to spend more time with family and friends and take it all in. A level results come out in August and nothing is quite official yet but with exams you can only try your best. It will work out just fine. I hope this blog will be found useful if you do come and join us.