Tips For Theatre Studies Freshers
Firstly, a huge welcome to all of you! Another academic year is upon us and many of you are about to set off on your Warwick journey. I can hardly believe I’m embarking on my 3 and final year in the Theatre department! But this does mean I’ve had lots of experience navigating the rollercoaster of university life & today I’d like to pass on some specific tips for those of you joining the School of Theatre and Performance Studies…
Get familiar with Millburn House!
The Theatre department is based in a building called Millburn House, where you will be sure to spend a lot of time in the coming months and years. ‘Millburn’ as it is typically known, is based near leafy Westwood campus, with lots of woodland nearby and accommodation blocks just over the road. If you’re a lucky resident of Westwood in your 1 year, like I was, you’ll find lots of your classes are just a 5 minute walk away! If you’re coming from anywhere else on campus, however, it’s still only a 10-20 minute walk, depending where you live. If in doubt when you’re new, try the interactive campus map (www.warwick.ac.uk/about/visiting/maps/interactive/). Inside Millburn can sometimes feel like a bit of a maze but it’s easy to find your way about after a while.There’s a seating and workspace area in the side foyer so you can also chill out before/between classes or come here to study. Not to mention our beloved vending machines with snacks and hot drinks on offer!
This year doesn’t strictly ‘count’…
… but in many ways, it really does! Although in Theatre Studies, our first year result doesn’t go towards our final degree grade, it’s a chance to figure out how everything works, how you like to work & establish good reading/writing habits from the outset. This means you can take more risks in terms of choosing essay topics and interpreting project briefs – the only way you will learn is by making mistakes. In my experience, this goes such a long way to help you make a smooth transition to 2 year. Take the opportunity to pursue areas that interest you. There’s lots of scope for this in Theatre, and you can often shape essay questions around a topic you’re passionate about. One of my first essays at uni allowed me to write about musicals (I am a musical theatre fanatic!) in order to explore postmodernism, which we had been studying! Seizing this chance may later help you making module choices by discovering areas of interest or even just helping you to work out whether you prefer written or practical work.
If something sparks your interest or raises a question, go and find an answer – or just read up on it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. In a seminar or lecture, ask that question which you think is ‘silly’ or ‘probably obvious’ – because 9 times out of 10 everyone else is sitting there wondering the self-same thing. Everything can seem a bit new and daunting at times, but you’ll get there. Make the most of your personal tutor, chat whenever you can to students in the years above – they’ve been there too!
Check your emails!
A dull yet necessary point to make! Honestly, your life will be so much easier if you make a point of checking your Warwick email everyday. We get lots of info via this means, plus important reminders about assignments and projects. In Theatre we also receive a newsletter every Friday: ‘Curtain Calls’ with plenty of news, useful tips and opportunities both in and beyond Warwick. Don’t miss out on anything!
Get to know people
We’re a small, tight-knit family in Theatre. You’ll probably work with everyone in your year at some point or other, so it’s great to get to know everybody as soon as you can. There’s lots of opportunities to do this, whether as simple as sitting next to someone new in your weekly seminars or attending the department’s fabulous ‘Millburn Mic Nights’ socials which are held regularly through the year. There’s plenty more opportunities to be involved with the department – blogging (like me!), being a member of the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC – more to come on that in a separate post!) or even working as an ambassador on departmental open days.
& finally, ENJOY IT
Have fun! As I am finding – time really, really does fly. Make the most of it!