The top five things I wish I knew before starting university

15 September 2023

Our undergraduate student ambassador Chloe shares her top tips on how to prepare for university life.

I can still vividly remember my first day arriving at Warwick University campus, full of excitement and nervousness. I have now been studying here for nearly two years and I feel I may have made a few mistakes along my way. Sometimes I think, ‘what if I had known this before coming to the university.’ Therefore, I have put together the top five things I have learned from studying and living in the UK.

  1. Travel smartly

Budgets are usually tight for university students. Having a monthly student bus pass can definitely save some transport costs. Although first-year students normally prefer living on campus, if you plan to go to Coventry and Leamington Spa frequently, or are a travel wanderlust like me, getting a bus pass is a wise choice. My recommendation is to choose the NXBus student 4-week ticket, which includes unlimited travel on all National Express Coventry buses within the Coventry zone. Similarly, you can enjoy discounted travel to different cities in the UK by train with a trainline railcard. You can save a lot of cost by having a 16-25 railcard (enjoying a third off rail fares) instead of purchasing individual tickets every time you travel, so do make good use of all the perks.

  1. Learn some simple cookingNoodle dish

Coming to university might be your first time living away from your family. My best advice would be to not arrive here without knowing how to cook any dish and end up eating Tesco meal deals every day. They might be your best friend during busy term times, but having pre-cooked meals are unhealthy in the long term. Learning some simple cooking is therefore essential. For example, my signature dish is Gyudon (beef bowl rice). For Asian students, my biggest advice is to bring a rice cooker to your accommodation. Believe me, a rice cooker will be your survival kit as it is very convenient to make simple dishes with the pot, such as steamed egg, porridge, soup noodles, or even a hot pot.

  1. Do not stress about going to socials every week to fit in

Freshers Week is one of the highlights of your first-year university life, with a variety of activities held by the Warwick Student Union. We all occasionally suffer from ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) but don’t feel like you have to go to every single social event that you are invited to. The best way to adapt to university life is to make sure that you do this at your own pace as there are lots of opportunities for you to meet new people. While having a work-life balance is crucial, having too much fun at the expense of your academic grades may be something you end up regretting.

  1. Join societies and sports teamStudents attending Warwick SU Holi Party

There are over 250 societies at the university, ranging from academic societies, and sports teams to performance groups. Being part of a society can definitely increase your exposure, get acquainted with new friends, and enrich your campus life. I dedicated most of my time to my society, WHKPASS society (Warwick Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service) as part of the executive committee. We have held events such as a charity ball, photography competition, career talks etc. throughout the term. You can always find like-minded individuals who share common interests with you within the societies. So, do not miss out on the society fair which happens every year during welcome week.

  1. Seek help from others 

It’s completely normal to feel lost at some point in your life and require someone’s assistance to get back on the right track. Whenever you encounter obstacles in completing assignments or preparing for examinations, you can always hop into a coffee chat session or meet with your module leader to talk about your concerns. You can also reserve one-to-one meetings with the WBS CareersPlus team for any questions regarding CV writing, internship application, and work placements. Besides, there are various mentorship programmes held by the university.

For instance, this year WBS launched a buddy programme that pairs up junior students with a mentor from a more senior year studying a similar course. Being a mentee this year, I gained a lot of help and practical advice from my mentor who shared his year abroad experience and guided me along with my application. Therefore, try not to panic and work on difficulties alone, it’s ok to seek help from your peers or the Warwick Wellbeing Team.

Your university experience will most likely be the most memorable time of your life, as you get to travel, learn new skills and make friendships for a lifetime. The most important thing is to make the most out of every opportunity, dodge the aforementioned mistakes, and create your own unique experience!

Are you ready to embrace independence and start your undergraduate journey? If you would like to discover more about Warwick Business School, you can download our Undergraduate brochure.

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