Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Waving goodbye to Warwick: reflections from a final year student

It’s 8pm on the first night of freshers. You’ve just changed into your bright pink ‘Let’s Flamingle!’ t-shirt and head into the kitchen for pre-drinks, a bottle of Aldi wine in hand. Around you sit a mix of your shiny new flatmates and over-eager group chat friends that you’ve been speaking to you since you got that Warwick offer. It’s a night out that is lost to the archives, a blur of new faces and VKs in the yet-to-be-discovered Copper Rooms. Nevertheless, it was the beginning of life at Warwick.

Four years later and it is insane to think about how many people I have met and all the things I have done since that first night. The end of university has always felt like some far-off, distant event that I would never really have to worry about. Yet, here I am, four months from the end of four whole years. When I look back at my time here, there are two things for which I am most appreciative: the people I met, and the opportunities I was offered.

I love looking back and being able to slot so many random names and faces into my memories of Warwick

I will forever be grateful for clicking with my flatmates and Whitefield’s neighbours who remain some of my closest friends to this day – I have loved watching them all grow from baby freshers to graduates in the big wild world.

However, I also love to romanticise those fleeting moments of friendship with people that you spend only a year, a term, even a single night out with before never really speaking to them again. University teaches you that not everyone is going to be your best friend – people will hop in and out of your life. Meeting so many new people was incredibly overwhelming, especially during the fever dream that was the first term of the first year, surrounded by streams of new people, new faces, new names. Yet, I love looking back and being able to slot so many random names and faces into my memories of Warwick.

University was also full four years of doing things that I had never done before. Even those first few lectures sat with newly-found course friends in the gigantic theatres of The Occulus were exciting. I have had the privilege to deep-dive into French culture and new areas of history while learning about concepts that I would have never really considered had it not been for my degree, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

I will romanticise the buzz of a bus full of students in fancy dress heading from Leamington Spa to campus

Warwick also offered up so many new societies with opportunities to do everything and anything. I got to try things that had always piqued my creative interests, from life drawing sessions with art society to writing articles for The Boar. Throwback to the first year when a maintenance worker had quite a shock going into my room and seeing a pinboard full of drawings of naked people, all thanks to Art Society.

Societies had so much more to offer than just trying something new: the responsibility of being an exec, the excitement of tour and running around foreign cities with people you barely knew, and of course, the weekly ritual of circle. Yes, I will romanticise the buzz of a bus full of students in fancy dress heading from Leamington Spa to campus, ready to spend an evening downing a pint of purple, bumping into everyone you know, and dancing to cheesy pop music. Being Vice President of French society in my second year and the two international tours I was able to go on with society are some of my favourite university experiences.

I am gutted that my time at university is coming to an end, but I am so glad that it has allowed me to experience so much

As a language student, I also have to mention my year abroad in France. Yet again, I had the chance to venture off somewhere completely new and get a taste of small-town French life. I met even more people from all over the world with who I ended up waltzing round a whole collection of European cities. I doubt that I would have ever considered living in France had I have not studied the subject at university and my middle-school self who hated French is probably shocked that this is something I have done.

This is not to say that life at university was always fun and games. There were absolutely times when the work was too stressful, the homesickness kicked in, and everything just got on top of me. Yet, the positives outweigh the negatives. Growing up in a small town, I spent a long time dreaming of the world beyond and thinking about all the things I would be able to do once I left. Warwick, a university with a student population three times the size of my hometown, was definitely the place where I was able to start doing that. I am gutted that my time at university is coming to an end, but I am so glad that it has allowed me to experience so much.

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