Congratulations, you have made it. You are officially – I presume – a student at the University of Warwick and the likelihood is, you are either beginning to freak out or already knee deep in a full-blown existential crisis. But do not fear, I am living proof that not only will you definitely survive this ordeal, you will eventually thrive here. Trust me.
So, your life looks a little something like this right now: your schedule is saturated with society fairs, introductory lectures and meet-and-greets, you need to sign up for seminars and you’re not even sure what they are, your orienteering skills are being put to practise as you try to navigate campus and inevitably resort to the interactive map, you’ve got a raging hangover, an empty fridge and, oh don’t forget… ‘pre-drinks’ are in forty-five minutes. Queue dramatic scream into pillow.
At HistSoc we know that being a Fresher can be overwhelming; after all, the regular order of your life has just been utterly scrambled by this new beginning. Moreover, here’s our six-part ‘Fresher’s Survival Guide’ from the perspective of a second-year History student to help you navigate this turbulent time.
1) Get your sh** together
Okay so you’re a little tired, you’ve got a cough and it all seems like a bit too much. Do not let it get the better of you! Decide what you’re going to attend, and drag yourself there. Believe it or not you are your own boss now, with no guardians around to nag you, you are in charge now. It is only once you realise this fact that you’ll feel like you’ve got it together, plus, more time for socialising!
2) Eat, Sleep, Hydrate (Rave), Repeat
You’re having an amazing time. Whether you’re partying, already hard at work, or simply slotting into your new world, it’s important to keep on top of your health. Particularly if – like me - your alcohol consumption has gone through the roof in Freshers, keep hydrated, eat fresh foods and get enough sleep. Otherwise, your sh** will certainly not stay together for long.
3) No, you’re not dying, you have Fresher’s Flu
The unavoidable plague of Fresher’s Flu will strike at some point. Invest early in Lemsip. Oh, and no matter how rough you feel, attend all early lectures; otherwise you’ll be stuck listening to unbearable lecture captures that are drowned out by continuous choking and coughing.
The initial weeks of your first term here will undoubtedly be a whirlwind. My advice? Embrace the chaos, grab every opportunity that presents itself and endeavour not to waste a second.
What next then? Soon the storm will settle and before you know it you will have an essay due; yes, you will need to enter the unknown world of the library and string together an actual piece of academic writing. Basically, you have survived Freshers but now you need to survive your degree…
1) Remember: you earned your place here
At times it is likely that you will feel out of place at university. The academic leap from A-Levels is like crossing the Grand Canyon and nobody seems to prepare you for that. If, at times, you feel inadequate, like you’ll never understand a particular concept, or that all of your peers are academically superior to yourself, remind yourself how you got here. You earned the grades, you did the work, you deserve your place at Warwick. Do not lose sight of this no matter how overwhelmed you may feel.
2) Don’t forget what you came here for
Moreover, amid the socials, the parties, and the society commitments, it is also easy to lose sight of what you came here to do: ultimately get a degree. If you find that your focus wavers – as mine certainly did at times – remind yourself of your goal here and work towards it. Pick up the book that has been sat under your desk for a few weeks and give it a read, you’ll feel great knowing what on earth is going on in your next seminar.
3) Have the time of your life!
Most importantly, HistSoc’s most important piece of advice is to enjoy every single second of your experience. If you’ve joined us, come on tour, you will NOT regret it! Attend events, focus on building friendships, embrace your new independence. Get ready for the best year of your life.
It is worth noting here, that if at any time your experience is not going to plan and you feel low or lost, seek help. The university has mental health and wellbeing support for students that are struggling with the overwhelming aspects of their new lives. It is not something to be ashamed of and Warwick’s services such as Nightline will be there to help you. More information can be found here: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/mentalhealth/