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Ana's Advice for Freshers

- Ana Heading, September 2022

Hello Warwick freshers!


My name's Ana and I’m going into my second year, studying Biomedical Sciences. I’ll be going through a few helpful tips and things to expect to hopefully make you feel a bit more prepared for starting uni.


Preparing for Uni

For me, making a packing list was a big step in the preparation for uni, it gets you ready in terms of things you need to take but I also found that it starts to get you in the right mindset for moving away from home and imagining yourself in a new environment. Later on I'll talk about what you might want to pack!


I’d suggest joining a couple of group chats through Facebook. Finding some for your accommodation and subject is a good place to start. You could start by joining the BioSoc Freshers chat and going from there. You may not end up being friends with the people you chat to, but I found it reassuring to be able to ask questions and just know people are in a similar position getting ready for a new start.


I can’t recommend highly enough joining a society. I’d say first join your subject society (which I’m assuming will be BioSoc if you’re reading this!). It’s a great way to meet people and make friends. Plus they offer a variety of fun socials which gives you the opportunity to bond with likeminded people. Forming a friendship group with other people studying life sciences was one of my favourite bits of first year as we immediately had biology in common and it meant I had people to sit with in lectures, do work together and just hang out with! It will also help you keep up to date on career and placement opportunities, and offer academic support with students in all years in a really welcoming and chilled environment. If you have a hobby or a sport you’re into, join that society too! You’ll meet more likeminded and fun people, and sports clubs in particular tend to have such a variety of regular and lively socials. Lots of my favourite memories from uni so far are from being part of the tennis club. Go to the society and freshers fairs in welcome week and sign up to different taster sessions – there really is something for everyone no matter what your interests or abilities are and you could even try something completely new.


What to pack

Clothes

In terms of clothes, bring everything you think you might wear. 10 week terms are long, and this will make you feel more comfortable and at home. BUT don’t bring everything as you simply don’t need it and it takes up space!


A good tip for saving space is to try to pack for each season and term. For example, in first term bring jumpers and coats but maybe leave most of your shorts and summery stuff at home – you can swap things out each time you come home for the holiday.


Having a smarter outfit is a good idea as you will likely end up going to at least one formal event during the year. And if you’re thinking of joining a society, consider bringing a fancy dress outfit as there are often themed social events, though don't worry if you don't have anything!


For your room

I’d recommend bringing a few room decorations to make your room feel more homely and personal as you’ll be spending quite a bit of time there!


Some good ideas are pictures of friends and family. Or posters! These are especially good as every room in halls has a pinboard and they don’t take up much packing space. A plant is also a really nice thing to have to brighten the room up, but if you don’t want to look after one, you could get a fake one! Bring one or two comfort things such as a cuddly toy, soft blanket or any souvenirs or other things that are meaningful to you as well.


Other than that, you don’t need too much for your room, and you’ll probably end up collecting random bits and pieces throughout the year anyway, like when I came back from a club night with a cowboy hat….


Kitchen clutter

Kitchen stuff is quite self-explanatory. Head down to Ikea to get all the basics like a saucepan, frying pan etc. A bigger frying pan is a good idea because it makes it easier to cook simple student meals like a stir fry. I’d say bring at least 2 plates, glasses and mugs because either they may get broken, you might not have washed everything up, or you might have a guest.


Clips for food items are great for keeping food fresh, and Tupperware containers are definitely essential as you’ll probably cook meals for more than one portion. They can be used for storing other food too, like if you pack a lunch. I’d also recommend bringing more than one tea-towel as mine got quite gross after a while, and also because you’ll likely need a clean one before you get round to doing laundry.


Try not to bring too much kitchen stuff because chances are you won’t have that much storage space and you don’t need anything fancy.


Unexpected Essentials

And finally, here’s a list of a few random but (at least in my opinion) essential items you should consider bringing.


First up, SLIDERS. You need these for the communal areas because the floors can be grim and you don’t necessarily want to be in shoes all the time. Probably even more essential if you have a shared bathroom.


Next, an extension lead is definitely a good idea because plugs can be in random places in your room, but its also just useful if you want to plug in several devices at once.


Also, extra towels and bedsheets. If you’re in a shared bathroom accommodation, a carrier for your toiletries makes things much easier. I also got a hook for the back of my door to put my towels on which was extremely useful as there were only a couple of hooks in my room and I ended up using them for my coats and bags. You can easily get these at Wilko in Cannon park which is right next to campus.


Finally, a keyring to recognise your keys is a good idea because otherwise everyone’s look the same so it’s easier to lose or get mixed up. I’ll also just say, remember that if you find you’re missing things you can buy it whilst you’re there, and most likely people in your flat or other friends will let you share some things so there is no need to stress about packing and whether you have every little thing.


My final pieces of advice

Everything else you will figure out as you go along. But I’ll leave you with a few final things to think about.


Budgeting and saving money – try not to buy things you don’t need or will only use once! And shop smart for food by avoiding brands, looking for discounts (get yourself a Tesco Clubcard!) and meal prepping before you go shopping.


Finding a House for second year - don’t stress or think about this immediately, but keep it in the back of your mind. Once you find a group of friends that you get on well with, start thinking about it.


Remember, it’s normal to feel homesick - it can be overwhelming moving away from home and everyone is in the same position as you so probably going through similar things. Talk to the people around you, call home when you feel homesick and throw yourself into activities to take your mind off it. You'll settle in in no time.


I hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful! Wishing you all the best of luck and hopefully I’ll get to meet some of you throughout the year.

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