Having studied at Warwick for her undergrad, Adriana, MSc Business Analytics ambassador, shares her insider tips on everything from finding activities on campus, to where to source the best cup of coffee.
Finding fun things to do in your free time
Listen, Warwick has everything, ok? It’s what they tell you at open days – and it’s true. Interested in music? Join a music society. Interested in reading? Join a reading club. Go to a poetry reading event. Love to cook? Go to a baking workshop. The real struggle is how to figure out what type of events you want to go to and then how to find out about those events. Worry no more, I have the strategy for you!
Step 1: Know thyself
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed about the amount of choice available here and end up not doing anything. So, take a step back and think about what it is that you’d be interested in doing. If you have no idea, browse the Warwick SU page, and make the most of your welcome week (go to all the fairs, taster sessions and whatnot).
Step 2: once you’ve figured out what you want to do, look for the events that match your interests.
Here’s where to find them: again, the SU website. Browse the societies, the sports clubs, the events tabs. The Arts Centre website. Go to myAdvantage to find everything careers-related. I hope you’re taking notes!
Step 3: If there really isn’t such a thing as what you’re interested in – make it yourself!
I’ve recently joined a Behavioural Economics Reading group that came to be out of the pure passion of some PhD students. I have some friends working towards creating a new environmentally focused society. The possibilities are endless.
Step 4: stay up to date with what’s what.
Here’s how to do it: skim the weekly newsletter that the university sends out. Follow the University and WBS Instagram pages – they post stories about what’s going on all the time. And keep your head out of your phone when you walk around – you may just run into the event poster of your dreams! And, of course, talk to people! Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to hear about things. Then go back to step 1 and repeat the process. It’s a learning curve, really.
Make the most of the uni resources
Make the most of the resources that the university makes available for you – they won’t always be here! Some of those I love are the all-encompassing careers support available via Careers Plus; the endless access to all the journal publications via your university account; the software licenses that the university provides; the subscriptions available (the FT is my personal favourite – I love having access to all those articles without having to pay for a subscription); the IT classes (I’ve learned how to use Python this way); the language classes; and the (virtually) unlimited free printing at WBS for students.
Want to read a book? Look it up at the library – you may be surprised by what you find. My best recent find at the library is “Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou. Need a textbook? The university can probably give you access to it. And if they can’t, ask for it – the library staff are very helpful in procuring resources for you.
Finally, make the most of the campus while you’re here. I find the campus to be the absolute perfect blend of nature and ‘city’. Its buildings are very modern, while its surroundings are mostly greenery, forests, lakes, animals, fairies, elves, trolls. Ok maybe not those last three but a girl can dream, ok? Grab a book and read on a bench next to one of the lakes. Rent a bike and cycle around campus. Have a picnic with your friends when the weather is warm. Leave your best cottage core life and then go back to the state-of-the-art lecture halls and enjoy being in one of the most modern universities in the UK.
Grab the best coffee in town
I don’t know about food, but I’m a coffee lover. And more than that, I’m a café lover and everything that comes with them: the vibes, the biscuits, the snacks. And what better place to find endless coffee supplies than a university campus? There’s a café in virtually all of the buildings on campus – my advice is to try them all out and find what you love the most. There are cafés in most departmental buildings – good coffee at very reasonable prices, but there’s also a Pret A Manger in the Piazza, two Starbucks cafés (one at the library and one at the NAIC building), a Cafè Nero at the Sports and Wellness Hub, and you can get Costa coffee from the Rootes Grocery Store.
Here’s my pro-tip when it comes to coffee: definitely go to Curiositea. It's the nicest, cosiest little place, particularly great for when you’re in an artsy mood, and try their specialty drinks, including fancy teas and hot chocolates with a twist – they are absolutely delicious, albeit on the pricier side. And also try the waffles from the café in Oculus. Trust me on this one – I’ve lived in Belgium for a year, the motherland of waffles, and the ones in Oculus are comparable on all sides.
Find the ideal study space for you
The campus is packed with study spaces. You just have to find the ones that work for you. There are silent study spaces, collaboration spaces, café-like study spaces, spaces where it’s virtually just you or spaces where you can be surrounded by the vibrant community at Warwick. Spaces with computers and without, with desks, or couches, or big presentation screens, or whiteboards, spaces open 24/7 (the library), inside spaces but also some terraces for when the weather is particularly friendly – the terrace from Café Nero at the sports hub or the terrace next to the library cafeteria.
When I feel like I want a café vibe without actually being in a café I use the study spaces in the Oculus. When I’m really set on doing some deep-focused work or I need to do some reading, I use some of the more silent spaces – the silent floors of the library (third and upwards, or the extensions for particularly quiet study) or the PG learning grid within WBS. When I want a combination of both I just go to the first two floors in the library – that’s my favourite place to go because I’m surrounded by a flow of working people who I can feel buzzing around me, so I feel motivated and not at all lonely, bored or distracted. And when I just have a free hour or two in between two classes and want to spend it catching up on my work I usually use whatever space is closest to me.
Finally, for doing group work (which you’ll probably do loads of at WBS) my favourite places are the PG lounge in the WBS (where there’s usually a bunch of other groups, and, if you’re especially lucky, they may just be your course mates working on the exact same assignment) or some of the group study rooms either in WBS or around campus – where it’s just going to be you and your teammates wracking your brains about your project. But make sure you book these rooms about a week in advance, especially when working closer to the end of term when deadlines pile up – these rooms get booked quickly.
Discover more about the MSc student experience at WBS on our Postgraduate blog.