Arriving at University for the first time as a fresher is one of the most exhilarating, scary and wonderful opportunities I’ve had the pleasure to experience. The summer months preceding my departure for Warwick were spent in a mixture of anxious preparation and daydreaming. In this blog I’ll try to examine my own university preparation, and see if any wisdom can be extracted from it so as to help any 2019 Freshers that might be looking for some tips on the topic. I’ll start with advice on how to prepare for moving into your accommodation, how to comfortably start moving around campus and how I prepared for my academic studies.
First of all, let’s start with accommodation. Whether you live in the UK or abroad you will most likely receive your final accommodation decision in September, so I recommend starting to think about accommodation around that time. Once you’ll know in which accommodation you’ll move in, take into consideration how much space you’ll have and broadly plan what you’ll need to pack. If you know the room does not have enough storage space you might wish to bring or buy some extra storage space depending on your necessities. I realised under the bed storage for small items and for my numerous pair of shoes was extremely helpful in keeping my room organised.
One somewhat helpful thing I did to prepare was to search the internet for anything that could give me an idea of what an Arthur Vicks room was gonna be like. Since I had not visited the accommodations during the open-day I attended, I really had no good idea of what the rooms were like. I recommend trying to find such videos, if you know anyone living in your future accommodation ask them for a video of their room. It can help with better visualising your future room arrangement. Then you can start thinking about what items you’ll need at Warwick. Categorise them into things you can easily bring from home and those you’ll need to buy once at Uni. Ikea is a student favorite, but keep in mind that all other students have had your exact idea, so the Coventry shop is quite crowded during moving in weekend. Try and see if anyone you know is getting rid of any items you might wish to acquire, this eliminates waste and will cost you less.
Next we’ll talk about how to get your bearings around campus. Warwick has a large campus, but fortunately its quite compact: everything is in walking distance and is clearly signaled. I personally advise to loosely study the campus map to have a vague idea of where your accommodation is placed and how to reach the main piazza and central campus. If you decide to wing it just know that university gifts all freshers with a University USB key, and on it you’ll find a welcome pack of files that will help you with orientation. Otherwise I find the My Warwick App incredibly helpful: it has an interactive campus map, your personalised schedule, a bus timetable and other handy features to help the students.
Finally, the best advice I can give you on how to prepare for your actual studying is to not prepare anything at all. Let me explain: I found during my first year of PPE that organising my studies into notebooks as I did in high school just wasn’t working, sometimes I’d get handouts to study and sometimes I found writing on my computer saved me a lot of time and effort. So, personally I recommend approaching your first year of studies at university with an open mind on how to organise your study, plus you always have time to buy stationery on campus if you find that’s the best method for you and your studies.
Moving into University will require a lot of flexibility from your part: you might not get your first choice of accommodation and you might have to change the way you approach studying, but it’s the changes that make it so exciting. You get to learn so much about yourself and explore a whole new environment. Preparing for this change will be even harder mentally and emotionally, especially if you’re an international student. This blog is by no means an exhaustive list of tips on how to prepare for Uni, but I hope it gave you all some grounding on which to build during the summer. Happy holidays, you’ve earned them!