Freshers Week
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Free-doom? Is Warwick’s first lecture-free freshers week beneficial?

For the very first time, after decades of campaigning, the University of Warwick’s Sabbatical Office team announced earlier in the year that Warwick will be getting a lecture-free Freshers Week. Often depicted by the media as an excuse for students to go on a week-long binge drinking session, Freshers Week capitalises on the obvious stereotype. But a week of university at the start of the year without any academic commitments comes with many more benefits than just that of ample recovery time after a night out.

University, for many students, will be their the first experience  living away from home without their parents or carers to look after them. Living alone can be a terrifying prospect, and it can take a while to work out how to do all the mundane household chores most students forget to do. A lecture-free week will give students the opportunity to get to grips with doing a weekly food shop and their own laundry, and develop a schedule they can follow when academic contact hours begin. Making your room feel cosy and homely often helps settling into university life – this is the place where you will spend the majority of your time for the next year or so after all. Having a whole week to make your room feel your own can be a great source of comfort once your course starts and you have to return to that room after a long day of lectures.

But a week of university at the start of the year without any academic commitments comes with many more benefits than just that of ample recovery time after a night out

But it’s not just about your room. The University of Warwick has a very large campus; from Westwood to Gibbet Hill, the main Warwick campus occupies an enormous 710 acres. Most current students have their own share of horror stories. Don’t worry though! We’ve all become lost on our way to the first seminar. So a week to explore the campus without worrying about being late to your lecture can make travelling around the university a less anxiety-inducing experience.

It’s crucial to note that many of the favourite student go-to spots are not on campus. Leamington Spa and Coventry are nearby which means Week 0 is perfect for visiting the local area that most students choose to call home after their first year. Going to places like Leamington Spa during the day can make your first night out there much more fun when you know where you’re going rather than wandering the side streets of the Parade trying to find Kelsey’s.

A huge aspect of the university experience is the people you’ll meet. Yet, it’s hard to meet these people in a lecture where you can’t talk, and it’s very difficult to get to know your flatmates when your timetables do not align so you’re never home at the same time. A week with no academic contact hours means that you’ll have a lot of time to meet the people you’ll be living with, go out together to explore the campus or for a night out. One of the hardest things about moving to university is feeling homesick, but having a close circle of people around you during that first week can make a world of difference to your wellbeing.

A huge aspect of the university experience is the people you’ll meet

With over 250 societies, a lecture-free Freshers Week provides the best platform to try something new, meet more people, and explore all that awaits you. The Societies Fair is a great two-day event during Week 0 where you can see all the societies Warwick has to offer. With no lectures or seminars to attend, you can spend as long as you want at the Fair and speak to every single society. With 65 Sports Clubs to join at Warwick, you can also check all of these out at the Sports Fair, and even attend some of their taster sessions, without having to worry about missing any contact hours.

A lecture-free first week at university is a fantastic opportunity for societies and sports clubs to run events and build relationships with new and returning students. Lauren Turner, Social Secretary of Warwick’s Biology Society, explains that Week 0 enables academic societies to “begin providing support right from the very start of the university experience, which can then continue throughout the year.”

Mary Francis, President of Warwick Mixed Hockey, added: “Mixed Hockey has never had a pre-season before as we aren’t a performance sport, however we’re putting on a couple of fun hockey sessions to showcase our fun style of doing things” With no academic commitments of their own, students running these societies can focus on bringing so many opportunities and events for freshers to get involved in. She went on to explain how: “All this on top of the Sports Fair and Sports Day at the Student Union proves to be a really fun week to focus on what you want to spend your year doing, without the distraction of your degree.”

A lecture-free first week at university is a fantastic opportunity for societies and sports clubs to run events and build relationships with students, both new and returning

With so much to discover and experience during Freshers Week, it’s clear that having no lectures or seminars to focus on can make coming to university easier. Nisa Nami, Social Secretary of Warwick’s Islamic Society explains that: “Freshers Week is a time that brings about many changes for all students. While they are mostly exciting, they can be daunting too and this affects both the mental and religious well-being of an individual.” No academic commitments in Week 0 means that students are able to settle down and adjust, instead of having to dive in at the deep end and juggle their social life, academic responsibilities, and physical and mental wellbeing all at the same time.

Warwick’s lecture-free Freshers Week promises to be very exciting and a unique chance for students to explore the university societies and get to know their home away from home. It’s a time for students to socialise and absorb all the aspects of Warwick life, and with no contact hours, there’s nothing stopping you from getting involved.

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