What to expect from the first day of university (based on 2021 experience)
25th September 2021. An event etched in my mind ever since A-level results day when I received my confirmation email from Warwick. A date I associated with feelings of excitement, anticipation, and mainly, a lot of nervousness.
While some nervousness is inevitable before starting university, as is always the case before any big changes in lifestyle, something that would have alleviated my nerves slightly is knowing exactly what would happen on the first day at Warwick. Therefore, one year on, I thought I would write about just that, in case it is useful for incoming Freshers in the same situation…
- Arrival at car park: Sometime around mid September, you receive an email about booking your arrival slot at Warwick. There are a variety of days and time slots in which you can arrive (for home students last year this was anytime from the Thursday-Sunday before Welcome Week) but I would recommend choosing a morning slot if you can (I do appreciate not everyone lives 1 hour away or less!) That way, you can spend more time unpacking without feeling rushed and like you’re missing out on getting involved with everything else!
- Move into accommodation/ goodbyes: After coming into the correct car park as you’ve been assigned when you booked your arrival slot, a student ambassador will give you a map, directions to your accommodation, your student ID card, and most importantly, your key! Luckily, the key system in Warwick is all electronic and very simple- there’s just one key to unlock your flat door and room door. As soon as you get in, unpack at least some of your things, especially the kitchen items, as it will help you get used to your new environment- as well as giving any emotional parents a bit more time before saying a final goodbye…
- Meet people!: Although I have gained a lot more confidence in talking to new people as the year has gone on, I don’t think I’m ever going to be 100% relaxed going into the deep end and meeting a lot of new people in one go, but once you’ve made the first step everything gets a lot easier! I was very nervous coming into the kitchen at lunchtime to meet my first other flatmate (I’m pretty sure my first panicked line to him was ‘Hi, I’m using this cupboard’ which was of course far from the ideal opening line that I might have planned) but after spending some time breaking the ice and making general conversation, you start to feel a lot more at ease and realise that actually, everything will be okay! The first day is also a chance to get to know people other than your flatmates – I remember plucking up the courage to go to the Meet and Greet at the Oculus, where you sit at a table with a bunch of other Freshers, mostly ignore the cringy game ideas provided on the table and end up just chatting, making some potential friends, and enjoying yourself!
- Giveaway fairs: If you arrive on the Welcome Weekend just before Freshers Week, there should be at least 2 giveaway fairs going on in central campus throughout the day (last year there was one in the SU and one in the Arts Centre). Whether you want an ice-breaking activity to do with your flatmates, an opportunity to start touring campus and talking to some current students and staff, or you’re just after getting as much free stuff as possible (me) they’re well worth attending! You can expect to find key rings, pens, highlighters, bags, and numerous other Warwick merchandise, but whatever you do, make sure you take one of the free lanyards for your key! It will save you the unnecessary expense of buying one later from Rootes grocery store when you realise you would actually quite like one…
- First party of Welcome week/get to know your flatmates: Finally, in the evening of the Saturday and Sunday before Freshers week fully commences, there is normally a club night at the SU’s nightclub The Copper Rooms, or you could just spend the time chilling with your new flatmates, maybe by cooking together, playing some games, watching something or exploring campus. As I mentioned on a previous blog, Warwick’s personality survey that you complete when applying for accommodation has to my knowledge been very successful at matching similar people, so you are very likely to find activities you can do together!
Overall, if you’re nervous about the first day, all I can say is: I know it’s daunting but it’s more doable than you realise, and rest assured that you’re bound to find (at least) one person that you get along quite well with, which makes everything easier! I hope this step-by-step guide is helpful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below or message me!