Tips/Things I Wish I Knew in First Year
In my previous blog post I discussed what to expect from life on campus in first year, what it’s like to live there and what to look forward to. For this next blog post, which has incidentally become a sort of mini series of blog posts, I’ll discuss what I wish I knew when I first arrived at the University of Warwick and began to navigate my way through life as a university student.
Flatmates and Making Friends
The first thing I must stress when it comes to flatmates is, do not worry if you are not instantly best friends forever with your flatmates by the end of Welcome Week. If I’m being honest, the friends I mostly hang around with now, I didn’t get close to them until the second term of first year. University isn’t a sprint, and worrying that you haven’t fulfilled expectations immediately isn’t good. There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people at university throughout your entire degree, so much so that it got to a point where I barely saw my flatmates because I (and presumably they) were out elsewhere, which brings me to…
Maybe the source of many enduring friendships at university, joining societies is a great way to meet new people who love what you love. Much to my surprise, there is a society for everything, including one for Quidditch for some reason – that’s how you know there’s something for everyone, there’s even societies for made up things! I must encourage you to participate in any society that peeks your interest, though if you find yourself overwhelmed with options, don’t hesitate to message the execs of a society, they’ll be more than happy to answer any queries.
Now I love pasta. It tastes great, can go with a lot things, is suitable for lunch or dinner and, perhaps most pleasing for a student, is very easy to cook. I could eat it all the time, and one of the great temptations of not really having cooked much before is to do just that. But, as a wise man once said, variety is the spice of life, and you sure don’t want to be known as that guy that exclusively ate pasta. So have a go at cooking a bit at home before you arrive at Warwick. Ask your parents for recipe ideas, or visit the numerous websites online that detail recipes. “Cooking is all about confidence”, apparently, according to Mark from Peep Show, so, as is often the case with many things at university, have a go, try new things. Though don’t get overly confident – I doubt flatmates would appreciate coming into the kitchen after a lecture to find you cooking a full roast (maybe save it for Christmas).
Study Preparation/Reading Lists
I remember, way back before I had arrived at Warwick, receiving an email from my department that contained a reading list. This was a daunting moment, as I frantically began to read the books on the list. My advice two years later: don’t stress about completing the list. Now, reading is important throughout university, and it is crucial to consistently read, and not just the required course reading, but also independent reading so you can have a little area of expertise – lecturers will like this – but the summer reading list is more of a foundation to your learning, ensuring you have a base knowledge and understanding. From my experience, I wasn’t tested on the reading at any point, so my own personal stressing the week before lectures began as I tried to cram all the reading in wasn’t particularly helpful or productive. Everyone around you will be in the same boat, each with different areas of interest. The key is to push that boat out and try to have a little fun while you do so…