fresher letter
Credit: Alvaro Serrano

An advice letter to a nervous fresher

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Dear Fresher,

Currently you’ll probably be a tumultuous mixture of terrified and incredibly excited for your time at the University of Warwick. You’ll probably also be of the opinion that second and third years know what they are doing a lot more than you do…as an almost-third-year I can confidently state that this is not the case and we are all equally just blundering our collective ways through university, until we stumble dazed and confused into the ‘real’ world.

That being said, I feel that I made both good and bad choices as a fresher, had great experiences and regrets, and can probably give some mildly useful advice to incoming fresh.

My main regret from my first year at Warwick is not being confident enough. I lived in Rootes – the unrivalled greatest accommodation on campus. One should not attempt to argue this point – its is the most social and entertaining place to be at the university.

When you know you have to live in close quarters for so long, different personalities can be a great thing

On moving in day I sat on my bed terrified to go into the corridor and meet the people I would be living with for the next 9 months, taking almost an hour to convince myself to do so. I regret not putting myself out there straight away, because people at university do not bite. The university will have allocated you to live with people they see fitting with your personality, but even if you discover that a few of them aren’t your usual ‘type’ of friend, you will get along.

When you know you have to live in close quarters for so long, different personalities can be a great thing. Don’t be afraid if one of your new roomies appears to be staunchly communist and demand equal cupboard space within 30 seconds of meeting you.

That takes me to my second golden piece of advice – put yourself out there and get involved. I truly regret not getting involved with more societies at Warwick as a fresher, purely because when I became a second year I felt too awkward to become a society or sport fresh. I was shy and didn’t sign up to any in first year, but I’ve seen how much societies have shaped the lives of friends and think they are a major part of anyone’s time at university.

I’ve found my comfortable niche in an academic society now and would recommend that anyone coming to Warwick try around a few different sports and societies to figure out what’s right for them. Don’t tell the presidents, but just because you sign up to a society doesn’t mean you’re signing your soul away and must attend every social, just that you’ll still be receiving emails from RAG until the day you die…

That takes me to my second golden piece of advice – put yourself out there and get involved

My final, and fairly personal, nugget of wisdom for your time at Warwick is that you don’t always have to pretend that everything is okay and you are having the time of your life. You’ll likely be living away from home for the first time in your life. Maybe you’re even in another country. University is a place where you can be surrounded by thousands of other people and still feel the loneliest you’ve ever felt, and that can seem very scary at times.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone about this, even if it’s just over a coffee with a friend or flatmate – you’ll realise that other people are going through the exact same thing and there is a whole network of support you can fall back on if you need it.

University is a place where you can be surrounded by thousands of other people and still feel the loneliest you’ve ever felt, and that can seem very scary at times

Lovely fresher, I advise you to make the most of your time at Warwick. Not to sound like the condescending teachers who will have drilled this into you, but university will be the best three years of your life. There will be regrets and tough times, but your time here will help shape you, help you figure out who and what you want to be, if you haven’t had a ‘gap yah’ already take care of this for you.

With love from an envious third year who wishes she could do it all over again (with a few key changes…)

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