Thank you for the past four years, Warwick
I remember the excitement that I felt when I first got accepted by Warwick. I had sent my UCAS application off on Friday 13th and a couple of days later, Warwick confirmed my conditional offer. It felt so surreal. I remember writing a blog post saying how it was my ‘dream university’. And in a way, it has been.
In my first year, I was that overly-excited fresher that older years complained about. I went out three or four times a week, I did all nighters in the library (unnecessarily) and walked into the Learning Grid as if I owned the place.
However, during this time, I learnt a massive lesson that I would hold onto forever: choose your friends wisely.
My mistake was that I wanted to be friends with anyone and everyone. It was university, after all; I thought that the feeling would be mutual. Nevertheless, whilst the majority of people you meet at university will reciprocate this kind of energy, some people will not want to be your friend and this can become highly toxic. One good friend is worth ten fake friends. I learnt that I had to be selective in my friendships, and decide to whom to dedicate my time and energy. After a tough few months of reestablishing my friendship groups, I found out who my real friends were, and entered second year with a good group of people around me.
In second year, I was that overly-egocentric student that other years complained about. I applied to every society exec position, I knew nearly everyone on a night out and boasted about my ‘work hard, play harder’ attitude.
However, life had another important lesson in store for me: do not burn your candle from both ends.
I did so many extra-curricular activities that my friends, my family and my grades were pushed aside, and ultimately suffered the consequences of my decision to place my career above my mental health. After several harsh reality checks, I understood that I could still balance my time between work and play if I did it in a constructed, healthy manner, giving myself enough time for relaxation.
In my third year, I went abroad. As you can guess, I was and still am that typical ‘year abroad student’. For those who do not know the stereotype, this student radiates the same kind of energy as a ‘gap yah‘ student, who looks back at the best time of their life in a kind of boastful nostalgia of how cheap drinks were in the southern sun. On my year abroad, I felt like I was living the ‘best life’ that people show off on social media. I was living life to its fullest. However, when looking back on past diary entries from the time period, I read of sadness, discomfort and loneliness.
The lesson that I learnt that year can easily be summed up by Ginni Rometty, “Growth and comfort do not coexist”.
I grew a lot over my year abroad, but that did not come without a fair share of growing pains.
I am now in my final, fourth year. The final months of my degree passed in a kind of daze. Not only did I partially lose who I was, but I was in deep denial that my undergraduate studies were coming to an end. I suffered from imposter syndrome, and there were times when I was seriously thinking of dropping out. To come so far, yet to still feel so empty and insecure?
This was when I learn another lesson: that we are never alone in this journey we call life.
As soon as I confessed these feelings to a friend, she reassured me that she felt the exact same way as I did. It made me realise the importance of communication and strong support systems in order to overcome difficult situations. I realise that not speaking up had hindered my growth and mental health. However, through speaking up about these issues and struggles, my friend and I could connect and feel less alone.
The excitement I felt about coming to Warwick is still within me. I am writing this blog post with a tear in my eye because I have learnt so much during my time. I would never change any of my experiences because each one was an important life lesson (this list is by no means extensive). I now turn the page and look forward to the next chapter of my life, and the growing pains that’ll come with it.