Starting university is a scary time. If you’re feeling a little lost and want to know more about how to survive your first year at Warwick, read on for Rhys Clarke’s top six things he wishes he knew before coming to Warwick.
If in doubt, make your way to the Piazza.
It’s a scary process, dipping your big toe into the adult world for the first time. Independence means you’ll have to get used to navigating your way across campus (and that’s before we even think about Leamington Spa, Coventry and Canley) which, if you’re as bad with directions as I am, can be a nightmare. What I learned in my first year whenever I got lost was, if in doubt, head towards the Piazza. That’s the one part of campus so conspicuous it’s impossible to miss. From there, you’ll find your way around easily enough. Right behind you is the SU, the Dirty Duck and the Bread Oven. Just across the road is the Warwick Arts Centre, just to the right of that is the Senate House, to the right of that is the Humanities building and behind the Senate House is the Library…you get the idea. Warwick’s Campus is ultimately shaped like one big circle (or square, maybe?) and the Piazza is a good starting point.
POP! isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Not that my saying this will prevent you from making the same mistake I did and purchasing the Annual or Fresher’s Pass (RIP, my bank account). This particular event ‘pops’ up every Wednesday (see what I did there?) and always manages to draw in a crowd. Many Warwick students find themselves at POP! more than a few times a term for their fix of cheesy music and Warwick’s favourite DJ, Disco Dave. But POP! isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. My verdict is this: the music is generic, everyone’s drinking so you have to queue for ages to get those shots, and the creepers are everywhere. Of course, at some point you’ll end up going, either as part of circling with a society (you’ll find out what circling is soon enough) or with your flatmates. You can’t stop the inevitable. So, hold off splashing out on the Annual POP! Pass until you’re positive that you’re a hardcore fan, and make sure you’ve got some ibuprofen for Thursday morning.
It’s not a big deal if you miss a few lectures.
At least not for your first year. It’s very possible to read the material yourself, form an opinion, do a bit of research and then go to the seminar. This will save you a couple of early mornings, I can promise you. Bear in mind, I’m speaking from the perspective of an English student. It may very well be different Engineering students but for me, I didn’t really need anything I learnt in my first-year lectures.
Join at least two societies.
I knew people in my first year who were unlucky enough to get lumbered with some less-than-fantastic flatmates and who understandably complained about having no one to talk to. Then, they went four or five months without joining a single society and carried on complaining about not having anyone to talk to. Warwick has a Sports fair on the 24th of September and a Societies fair on the 25th of September. You’ll find at least couple of clubs that you’ll probably be interested in. I’m no social butterfly but if I hadn’t joined any societies in my first year, I might not have met my future flatmate.
Don’t spend all your time on campus.
In my first month or so on campus, I was too nervous to go explore the nearby towns and I rapidly found myself growing bored. Warwick has a very nice campus but it does not have lots to offer for a night out. Take the bus, take the train. Explore your new surroundings. You’ll probably be living off campus in your second year, but even as a fresher, it’s important to escape the bubble from time to time.