Tips for Starting University Part I
As if I was writing a letter to my past self…
I sometimes wish I had the chance to rewind time or at least have a coffee chat with my younger self, although I would probably be there for a few days forcing my younger self to make pages upon pages of notes on what to do at different points… maybe that’s not such a good idea.
So instead, here is a piece on the first of two letters I would write to myself a year ago before starting university. Note that they both concern societies and opportunities beyond studies which demonstrates the importance of maximising extra-curricular opportunities.
I found that I was making tougher decisions at university than I had ever made before and with much greater frequency, which is why it is so important to be guided by principles that will set you up for success, which hopefully I can shed some light on in this post.
Tip 1: Try Gliding
- During the sports fair in fresher’s week, I went around ambitious and hungry for a challenge and no greater challenge impressed me more than the prospect of gliding.
- I was hooked when I heard that you’re slung up into the air in a tiny glider and get to experience what must feel like an extremely fast rollercoaster, not just for 10 seconds, but for a whole 2-5 minutes.
- Not only this, but the first session was free and it was a mere £20 thereafter compared to what would be hundreds of pounds for a gliding session outside of the university.
- But then I came to my room after the event and the fear of heights began talking to me… Do you think you’re going to manage being slung up in the air on a flimsy plane that’ll probably come crashing down as soon as the winds stop? The fear of heights, once again, as it has in the past, brought me ‘to my senses’. Yet as the weeks went by, I realised what a great opportunity I missed. Only if I could turn back the clocks – or maybe even give it another shot in 2021.
- The lesson here:
- Try something you wouldn’t usually try and that pushes you beyond your comfort zone, because not only does it give you something exciting to look back on, it also enriches your experience in a way that opens a door to many more opportunities.
Tip 2: Seeking perspectives from others when choosing societies
- I was very lucky in that I applied to become a fresher representative for the corporate finance team as part of the Warwick Finance Societies and became part of a close-knit community of people where I would find mentors that would teach me what I needed to know to maximise chances of application success and more importantly where I would form relationships with people I would most likely be interacting and working with right through the onset of my career.
- However, I forwent an interview opportunity with another society after accepting this position and although looking back, I do not regret this, there was a period of time where I thought I had made a mistake.
- To prevent the dwelling on past decisions, I suggest you talk to people at the society. Not just in groups with your friends where you ask generic questions, but individually seek out these people and organise a coffee with them to gain a real understanding of what it is like being in the society.
- The more perspectives you hear, the closer you get to the truth and when near the truth, you are more likely to make a rational decision that your future self will thank you for.
Hopefully, these tips help you maximise your chances at university because let’s face it, where else are going to get to go gliding?