What I missed about Warwick – OurWarwick
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What I missed about Warwick

So I’m sitting there, barbecue sauce on my galette, thinking about how much I wish I weren’t. I couldn’t put my finger on it. My host university for my Erasmus year abroad had lectures, it had teachers, it had nights out, it even had a music room. But something didn’t feel the same.

I mean apart from the whole France thing…

I supposed that it was the first time out of my comfort zone, like, really far out of my comfort zone. Sure, I’d been abroad and, sure, I’d said my fair share of foreign words to foreign waiting staff (with my very foreign accent), but I had never lived in another culture before. They say it’s supposed to make you more open minded but after dealing with the absolute travesty that is being a foreign student in France my mind was certainly closing in on some bureaucracy related stereotypes.

I thought hard for a while and came to a few conclusions about what I missed about Warwick:

The Societies:

Yeah, you saw this one coming right? I’m a societies guy, I love them. I think they’re a blessing and the fact that my brother went through uni only joining one is a travesty. Where I was studying in France didn’t really have an equivalent. They would certainly claim to have societies, and they did indeed have a photography society and a music society, but these felt more like an arm of the student union and its events: providing entertainment and photos for galas and barbecues.

I was looking for societies like Acappella, Argentine Tango, and Esports. Societies that organised their own events outside of the related hobby alone. Societies that you could join and become part of a family rather than a corporation.

Societies are a beautiful part of university life and I strongly encourage everyone to take part. After university it’s much harder and much more expensive to try new hobbies and join groups like these, just ask anyone who has an office job in London.

The Professors:

Hear me out. I missed my professors not because we were best mates but because they were doing really interesting work and I wanted to talk to them about it. The best way to decide if you want to do something in the future is to engage with it yourself. I, personally, find it much easier to talk to someone about what they do than send an email and hope they care enough to respond. Professors have office hours that they have to be present for, but there’s no “email hours” that they have to respond to you in. I’m at a point in my life where I really should be deciding what I want to do in the future as a career and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to go around looking at what might happen if I choose to study a certain topic.

But professors are found anywhere, why do I care so much about the ones at Warwick? The truth is I don’t really, it’s just that as I’ve been a student here for quite a while I know a lot of them and know who’s friendly and open to questions. There’s no one better to answer questions and queries than an expert, and sometimes their answers are more sobering than what you can find from people less experienced.

The Facilities

I’m not happy about paying £9250 a year for my education, but I am happy that at least the computers work properly. I learned very quickly not to take things for granted when I studied abroad. Faulty computers, ancient websites that barely work half of the time, tiny sports facilities, and uncomfortable lecture theatres are just some of the many frustrations that really take the magic out of studying somewhere.

That’s not to mention the architectural differences. Warwick may not be one of the old guard like Oxford or Edinburgh, but its modern architecture is just nice to look at. There are so many instagram-worthy spots on campus (partly because of the trees) and it’s hard to appreciate until you study somewhere full of litter and that is an incoherent mess of design. Take a stroll to the Mathematical Sciences Building, visit the WBS, go study in the Oculus. These are the kinds of places designed with a certain vision in mind, one shared by the entire university and one that you will miss when you look back on it. Take advantage of it while it’s here!

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    Jane Hutton

    A nice, wry, gentle blog, Martin. I enjoy chatting with students. If you want to hear about my research, including some on covid-19, or missing data, or ethics, or my work as an expert witness in medico-legal cases, or the ideas which we have bounced around in the landscape working party (mathematical plants for the maths houses on Gibbet Hill?) drop me an email to set up a video call.

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