This post was written by an external contributor. Here, Suphanida Thakral talks to freshers and finalists to find out how their opinions on university life have changed.
Fresh faced and eyes wide with aspiration, it is not difficult to pick out a fresher in a crowd of students on campus. Going to university will transform you, they say. You’ll be away from the safe haven of your home and be one step closer to the realities of the ‘real world’.
Whilst many people claim university to be the best three (or indeed four) years of their lives, exactly how much does it change us? We decided to speak to students at the University of Warwick to find out!
Do you miss living at home?
General Fresher Verdict: Although newly found independence was greatly appreciated, the general comforts of home were missed- support from the family and, of course, mum’s food.
General Finalist Verdict: Spending time with family (as well as having home cooked food) was also missed.
Our verdict: At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much difference- both freshers’ and finalist (well, at least a sizeable majority) alike find cooking for themselves a pain. With freshers’, however, you can tell that they do not take their independence for granted and probably rely a lot more on the support system at home.
Do you feel closer to your friends at uni or your home friends?
General Fresher Verdict: Uni friends, due to easier access during term-time, are seen as much closer. According to most respondents, they feel that they can relate to their uni friends better because they are doing the same thing and following a similar path.
General Finalist Verdict: It really depends on the shared experiences one has with either their home/uni friends over the course of their time at uni. On one hand, it’s easier to feel closer to home friends because you have grown up together and you tend to have similar backgrounds. On the other hand, however, it’s easier to make closer friends at uni because you meet such a wide selection of people to choose from and, as you’re often living together, they become more like family.
Our Verdict: The responses aren’t surprising to us because, as a fresher, one tends to look at that particular moment in time. As a finalist, however, you realise that you won’t be around most of your uni friends either so you start to see the bigger picture- friendships are built around shared experience, and at each stage, your close friends know a part of you that your new friends probably never will.
Do you face any problems currently? If so, what are they?
General Fresher Verdict: Exams were seen to be quite stressful- the be all and end all of one’s life almost. Other than course related problems, budgeting was another area many students struggled with.
General Finalist Verdict: For those that have not already secured a graduate job, the main problem is not knowing where to start when looking for a job or finding the application process intimidating.
Our Verdict: This one is a no-brainer. We all know how exams felt like the end of the world when we were just starting out uni. And when speaking to any finalist student/graduate, the word ‘job’ is definitely going to come up somewhere in the conversation.
How do you envision your future to be?
General Fresher Verdict: Most people have an idea of what they want to do. But a lot of the time, they don’t know how to go about achieving that and are open to that changing.
General Finalist Verdict: Most people found their own path after uni. Whether this may be a graduation scheme/job, time off to travel, or even moving back home to look for new opportunities.
Our Verdict: There does not seem to be a set path after uni – people do what works for them because at the end of the day they are just starting out with their lives and don’t have to have it all figured out by their mid 20s. But, for a lot of freshers, they feel like they have to know where their lives are headed.
It is generally agreed that one was more naïve and carefree as a fresher. Since coming to uni, one has the opportunity to become more open minded and confident thanks to living on their own. They also have a lot more life experiences and a lot more chance to make mistakes as well as to learn from those mistakes.