No amount of advice for returning to University is too much – here’s how to make the most out of your second term!… By Kumail Jaffer
Going into my penultimate term of final year, I often find myself somewhat nostalgic about earlier terms. This article is meant for freshers, first years – who’ll likely be feeling a little less fresh after ten weeks in the Warwick Bubble – and second years, who still have time to take advantage of what the University has to offer.
Here are just a few pieces of advice about how to conquer the rest of the year:
1) Join Societies and Sports
I don’t mean to sound like a University propagandist, but one of the reasons I chose Warwick was the vast range of opportunities in these areas. With over 250 societies and dozens of sports, there’s no excuse for not being involved – you’re bound to be interested in something. Whether it be religious, cultural, music or interest based – there’ll be one, if not a few, for everyone.
This is not necessarily to build your CV. It’s so that you can meet similar people, increase your social circle and, often, do important work, whether it be activism, writing or simply expressing oneself.
After graduation, not only will there be little time to participate in much – but simply, there will be little opportunity. Societies and sports, for the most part, take place on campus at convenient times – take advantage of it!
As you go into your second term, most societies are more than willing to accept new members, so now’s your chance!
2) But don’t do too much
My first year was a wonderful introduction into the world described above, but I also made a crucial mistake. While some fail to get involved, others spread themselves too thinly. By the end of my second term, I was involved in around 9 sports/societies.
What did this warrant, you may ask? It meant I couldn’t commit to the societies in the way I wanted to. On the sports side, I would often skip training due to fatigue (a typical week would have, in theory, included 6 training sessions for various sports) and on the other side, societies would clash, with each other or with my own time. I was, for example, not able to properly serve my Executive role for the Amnesty International Society.
I’d say – if you play them – a maximum of two sports and two societies gives you a nice work-life balance.
3) Say yes to everything
It sounds cliché, but university is the time to experiment and take opportunities as they come.
Saying yes to opportunities that may arise – whether it be buried in a Sunday night email or a flyer given outside the library – can lead to some unexpectedly great things. It may not sound that exciting to run for course rep, for example, or take part in a society event, but you never know what may end up happening.
4) Take a Break
You come to University to study, I realise. However, as I’ve explained already, it’s so much more than that. When needed, take a break.
If you need some time off, going home (if you can) can place you in a completely different environment. Failing that, put on some Netflix or do some exercise.
Study will often come first, but don’t let opportunities pass you by – many make the error of skipping exercise and socialising for the sake of work; but as studies show, this can have a detrimental effect. So, let live and enjoy Warwick.
5) Student Politics is worth it
It gets a bad rep from the media, but the experience of student politics is one I wholly regret not getting involved with.
Even if you’re not a politics student, the skills that come with getting involved with a campaign can help you in the future, and, of course, it can be great fun.
6) Things Change Very Quickly
So don’t worry. Ten-week terms can get daunting, and perhaps seem without purpose – especially the ‘March slog’ towards the end of this term. Do remember: opportunities conjure up in no time at all, and things can turn around very quickly. And the university can help with that!
This is a good reminder to do what I wish I had done: make good use of the University services. Whether it be careers, counselling or anything in between, they can really make a difference. If you’re a member of the gym, various (free!) classes are offered which can help with your goals – from yoga to cycling.
All this can help with your physical and mental wellbeing; however you feel.
So that’s some advice to get you through this term. Enjoy your time, get involved, don’t stress about a first during a formative year, and make use of the campus!
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