3 years ago I wrote an article as part of a competition to be featured in Warwick University’s magazine: Obiter Dicta’s ‘Cool Zone’ section. At the time I was home sick and struggling with all the change that comes with being a Fresher. So I decided to throw myself into new things and this was one of them. I realised I liked writing about all things University and started looking into blogging – and the rest is history!
Anywho, I was scrolling through my earliest blogs on here and stumbled across it and thought I would dig it out again.
UNIVERSITY REALITIES – WHAT YOU WEREN’T TOLD ABOUT BEFORE COMING TO WARWICK
University life isn’t always what we expect it to be, and some things can only be learned by experiencing them first-hand. Here a few Warwick uni experiences to be warned about for unsuspecting freshers and tips to help you make the most of your time in the Bubble.
‘Adult-ing isn’t easy’
One of my favourite quotes is that being at ‘University is like losing your Mum in a supermarket for three years’- and this is so true. It’s undeniable that University is one of the biggest learning curves. Before I started at Warwick, I knew nothing about bills, washing machines or even how expensive it is to buy fruit. But it’s certainly a giggle figuring these things out- once you’ve put a red sock in the white wash, you probably won’t do it again. But hey, pink is the new white. Likewise, with the buses you only put a ten pound note into the money-sucker once before realising they don’t give change.
‘Who took my milk?’
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to set up hidden cameras in University kitchens, I really do think it would be like Big Brother. Living with a group of people, from a range of backgrounds, with a variety of personalities, can be unbelievably fun, but equally challenging. Being a student is very much like being a detective- who took my milk? Who left the kitchen unlocked? Who’s that sleeping on our kitchen table?
‘I like going home and picking up a tea towel, knowing I won’t catch a disease’
One of my top tips to any Fresher is to befriend the cleaner. Nagging your flat to keep the kitchen tidy, in fear of a fine, is the bane of any Fresher’s life. Last year I had a friend over to visit, had just cooked a typical University meal (probably potato waffles) and was starting the washing up. After a few weeks at University you adapt to the environment, for example you never lean on a kitchen surface, unless you, personally, have cleaned it. Less than 5 minutes prior. My friend, with good intentions of course, picked up a random tea towel from the side and started drying my plates. I don’t like to think what was being smeared over my undeserving tableware. Another University hack is never to venture out your room without some form of shoe or slipper- it’s not worth the risk.
‘Student Union + Sticky Floors = Trainers’
In my first year I went shopping for the perfect Freshers outfits and the best shoes. By term two, I was wearing trainers to go clubbing. The Copper Rooms are perfect for singing to cheesy music, being dragged into mosh pits, making friends in toilets and ultimately getting your footwear covered in some sort of sticky substance that eternally swamps the floor. In a way, it’s a beautiful thing- no need to worry about blisters from 5 inch heels, people jumping on your feet is blooming irritating, but not excruciating, plus there is no need to take your shoes off on the walk home.
‘University Food Favourites’
Cooking for one is pretty limiting and, having come to University with several Cook Books I hoped to use, it is quite easy to fall into eating unhealthy and convenient foods. During my first year, I found a few ways to make maintaining a healthy lifestyle easier. One thing that surprised me was the expense of fruit and vegetables, which is an immediate deterrent to eating healthier- but persevere, there are ways around this!
Firstly, I found that cooking a decent meal for one is difficult and time consuming when you have deadlines and general university pressures. I found that making food in bulk is a good idea, which means you need loads of Tupperware. Examples of foods to make in bulk include; spaghetti, chilli con carne and breakfast muffins. Breakfast muffins are a particular favourite of mine, once they have all cooled out of the oven, put them into plastic bags individually and put them in the freezer. Then, when you are rushing to get out the door, put one in the microwave for a minute and eat it on the go. Top tip- careful, berries can explode if they’re microwaved for too long!
Secondly, after a long day, I just want to eat. I’m not fussed with faffing around. So I love the weight watchers meals, they take a maximum of 8 minutes in the microwave and are truly delicious. There are lots of variations such as; Thai green curry, sweet and sour with rice, risotto, carbonara, tikka masala and salmon with potato wedges.
I have never been a breakfast-lover, and at University, there is so much temptation to skip the meal, but it really isn’t worth the embarrassment of a tummy rumble in a lecture theatre. So, I make sure I buy the pots of fruit from the Supermarket, often there is an offer and they are so convenient to make porridge or Weetabix that bit more exciting. Likewise, I had never tried avocado either. Now, I would have half an avocado on toast for breakfast every day if I could. I even have them as a snack (they’re even better with Nandos piri-piri salt on top). It is just about what is best for you and your diet.
Finally, I absolutely love the phone app Life Sum: I never particularly liked calorie counting but nothing was working and it is hard to keep up a diet when you’re at University and on a budget. With this, I try to avoid lactose and gluten, which makes the diets even more difficult to follow. So LifeSum really does make me feel more in control of my diet, and is really flexible with the foods I can and can’t eat- I eat what suits me, unlike strict diets that give you recipes for each day. I don’t feel like I am constantly thinking about what I am eating, but I feel like I have a plan that is sustainable.