Letters from the dorm: Coming to terms with university life

Letters from the dorm: Coming to terms with university life

It's been a pretty great first term at university. When I look back, I genuinely feel like I've learned so much, both inside and outside the lecture hall.

Now that I've mastered the art of peeling and crushing garlic, I spend so much less time in the kitchen. For a university student juggling many commitments, time is everything. I've also become a surprisingly good dancer - mainly because I do two hours of Bhangra (a folk dance from Punjab, India) every week, and also because my best friend dances in the kitchen while I do the dishes.

On a more serious note, I have learned how to manage my time better. It's a "must" when you take what is supposedly one of the most demanding courses in the university. I know this is true because people wince and pat me on the back when I tell them I do philosophy, politics, and economics.

I think I deserve credit for sacrificing my social life and sleep for my grades. For example, I had to read 10 weeks' worth of political lectures, revise a bunch of notes for philosophy, write a 2,000-word economics essay and study Chinese over the Christmas holidays.

I've also learned some interesting things about myself: I can work under pressure, and I proved this to myself while trying to organise my off-campus accommodation for next year. It involved some stressful situations, and I managed to handle all those issues while revising for my maths test, completing two 2,500-word essays, organising a careers fair … I think you get the point.

But perhaps the most wonderful, even heartbreaking, lesson I've learned is how to figure out who your real friends are. I'll warn you now: it's unlikely that the friends you make in your first two weeks at university will be your friends for the next three years. I had a huge group of friends from all over the world in my first few weeks at Warwick, but over time, some of them proved to be not as friendly as I first thought.

It wasn't until the sixth week at university that I felt comfortable with my current group of friends. And now I can safely say that I trust at least two of them with my life. I doubt everyone will have the same experiences that I had, but it's something to watch out for.

If you're thinking of going to university, be prepared for things to come at you from all directions while you're there. I assure you that you will have a wonderful time, both in and out of the classroom.

However, you'll learn the most important lessons from the best teacher there is - and that's you.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Coming to terms with university life

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