“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” (Randy Pausch)
I’m impatient to share with you some freshman (not really)wisdom, and why ‘The First Year’ is apparently a make-or-break experience, since it is probably the most valuable thing a university has to offer, here are some things that happened during my first month at Coventry University and what I have learned so far.
Mental breakdown ?
Most of us arrive with a great variety of academic and social skills, and from different backgrounds and cultures, which means making big life adjustments: for instance, by living away from home for the first time. And even-though I have previously experienced living away from my homeland – first few days especially were very odd and a little bit depressing. I mean – homesickness, we all experience it and it’s totally okay. Now, I can say I have completely adapted to the new situation and feel great about living and studying here. My advice is – keep busy for the first couple of days or weeks, exercise, eat and sleep well, face time your family – and it will be all good !
2. I made new friends
I may not live in a students’ accommodation, what makes it a little more difficult to socialise – it is freshners’ week that involves making new friends, going out, socialising, getting to know the city, the University and your Faculty better. However, I have met the best people at my first work place. For this reason I advice everyone to get out of their comfort zone and spend time searching for a part time job, not only does it give you a valuable work experience but helps socialise and meet new people.
3. Got lost looking for a lecture’s building
Happens… every… single… day, basically “How to spot a freshner around the campus”. We get lost all the time or search for a class for half an hour just to realise we have already passed it 10 times. To be honest im 99% sure I’ll never learn where is what, as the campus is almost as big as another city, but I guess google maps was made for purpose right ?
4. Wrote my first assignments
Since it’s November, it’s also mid-terms. Everybody loves mid-terms. This is the time, people realise they have essays due the following day that haven’t even been started. But that does not apply to most freshners tho. Freshners care and to my knowledge most of us, me included have started doing ‘something’ a while before November. Still, the month is a little stressful.
The first assessment I had to submit was due November 5th, and it was a poster, which aim was to show the cultural dimensions between my country and another country of choice and how a person can adapt to their work environment and culture in order to be a successful professional. To be frank – I hated doing it. We had to do the poster itself in PowerPoint but the charts and comparison tables had to be done in Excel – we don’t get on well with this one. Then, was the essay-ish part, done in Microsoft Word, cut and pasted into PowerPoint poster.
Second one, in fact due next Monday is already finished as, conversely to the previous one – I frankly enjoyed doing all the research and putting it together. The task was to examine how a mix of Brexit and e-commerce trend affects high street retailers. My cas study was Lush and I have to admit, Google bombarded me with the information about the firm and surprisingly it had me completely focused and engaged. Reading about my choice’s morals was moreover thought provoking.Never in my life have I thought I would say such a thing butI didn’t feel forced to do any work and writing this one was a pleasure.
5. Got my first job – quit it and found another place.
My first job here was a disaster. I worked for an Italian restaurant called XYZ and this place is a complete mess and joke. I don’t really fancy going into the details. I didn’t feel safe as a woman, a worker and the environment was nowhere near friendly – and so I quit, what led me to a great accident. One day I have sent a job application to Pizza Hut for a Shift Manager. I’m still astonished I got the job, because I have had no previous experience as a manager but I think Luck has decided to follow my steps with this one !
Just for your information, the minimum wage here for under 21 is £5,90 – not very satisfying right ?
6.Learned not to care too much about outfit
Another way to distinguish first year students from the rest. Here, dress code is basically wearing pyjamas 24/7 after you have had enough of trying to look pretty. Remembering how it looks in Poland, for the first couple of weeks I would take extra time in the morning to put on nice clothes and makeup. Now, I usually wake up half an hour before my lecture, switch from one pyjama to another and get out of the house.
I truly enjoyed my first month here in Coventry city, this has already given me great life experience and it’s only been those couple of weeks ! I look forward to what the future holds and encourage every single person reading this to get out of your comfort zone and take up risky opportunities !