Starting university is a daunting time for many, including me. I remember the day before my orientation week begun like it was yesterday. I was so nervous about so many different things. What if I didn’t like it? What if I didn’t make any friends? What if I hate the course? I had no idea what to expect so I have came up with this list of 10 things which I wish I knew before I went to orientation at Coventry University to try and help some of you out there who may also be feeling the same way I did.
1. You will make friends—no matter what!
This was the one thing I was most nervous about. As I was commuting to university, I presumed it would be more difficult for me to make friends. However, I soon realised that everyone there wants to make friends. You just have to pluck up the courage to introduce yourself and it all starts from there. I can’t even count the amount of people I introduced myself to on that first day—and it payed off in the end! No one will mind you talking to them because everyone is there for the same reasons so don’t be scared to introduce yourself to everybody.
2. The parking is going to be very limited so if you are commuting make sure you leave extra early to avoid being late on your first day.
Coventry University is notoriously known for their lack of parking for students. If you think it’s bad during orientation week, wait until the second week when all of the students are back! There are two student car parks at Coventry, one which can barely be classed as a car park considering it is coated in a layer of mud. I managed to get a parking ticket in my first week at university because I didn’t park in a bay as there were no spaces left so be prepared to have to park elsewhere and pay far more than you would at the student car park. I now get the train into university because parking is too stressful to handle on a Monday morning!
3. The Ellen Terry building makes finding your room impossible—so get there early!
This is the building where all media students will be based. I remember getting there fairly early and having to ask at reception where my room was only to be given the worst directions. I was standing in the corridor staring at a map confused when luckily one of my lecturers walked past me and pretty much saved me from the embarrassment of having to ask at reception again. When he took me to the room, half of the class was already there and walking into a class full of strangers only made my nerves double. I would definitely suggest getting there earlier than you need to be, even if you aren’t a media student because the university is not the easiest to find your way around so just save the embarrassment and get there early.
4. Pick your student ID card up before your first day!
Your student ID card is so much more important than you think it will be. Not only do you use it to clock in and out of lessons but you also use it to get into the buildings you need to be in! So, make sure you pick up your student ID card prior to orientation week because otherwise you won’t be able to get into any of the buildings so you will probably have to wait outside until someone decides to let you in.
5. There may already be friendship groups formed before you get there.
I am sure this doesn’t apply to a lot of courses but for mine there was a group chat on Facebook prior to everyone meeting at orientation week. I had joined this group chat about a month after it started and was shocked at how close the people in it had become. So, when I went to orientation week I wasn’t too surprised to see friendship groups already forming from the get go. If you have applied to university then make sure you look around for group chats that your course may have so you can get to know people prior to orientation week as it will probably make you feel a lot less nervous about your first day if you already know people. You may have to do some real digging to find these chats but they are around!
6. The walk from the train station to the university is lengthy.
Anyone who commutes to Coventry University via train knows how easy it is to get lost on your first day. I found this out after my orientation week but I know a lot of people who got lost on the first day trying to find their way from the station to the university. There are shortcuts so I would highly recommend downloading google maps on your phone and using that as I used to walk the longest way round which took me double the amount of time it does now! The station isn’t in the middle of Coventry so just be prepared to have to walk quite far on your first day.
7. Don’t bother collecting your textbooks during the first week.
At Coventry University student’s fees include textbooks which means we don’t have to pay any extra to get them. This is a great thing for us but the queue to collect these is not. This year, Priory Hall was where we could get them from and I made the mistake of going there as soon as I found out we could collect them. I must have been in that queue for longer than two hours before I finally could get my textbooks—only to find out one was missing so I would have to go back to get it. Definitely go a few weeks later as when I did eventually go back, I only had to queue for a few minutes.
8. Have the courage to decline all of those leaflets you will be given outside the Hub.
I couldn’t possibly tell you the amount of leaflets I was given during that week. Local clubs sent their representatives (who would not leave you alone until you took a leaflet) and even Dominoes had countless people handing out bags with several leaflets inside. By the end of the day, my bag would just be full of leaflets that I knew I would never use so have the courage to say no and walk away unless you want to recycle all of them yourselves. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
9. There WILL be free pizza so don’t bother pre making any lunch.
Leading on from this, Dominoes did have a free van outside the university with staff handing out FREE PIZZA. No one ever told me this so I had already made lunch which went to waste because who wouldn’t want free pizza? So, I would highly recommend going for a walk down to the cathedral square to find the van!
10. Just enjoy the experience.
Most people will only ever have one orientation week at university so don’t spend it worrying and being nervous about what might not happen—just enjoy the week! Whether you are commuting or living in halls, you are bound to make friends and have a good week. Orientation week really is about getting to grips with the university and settling your nerves. Everyone is going to be nervous on their first day so just remember that you are not alone and everyone is there for the same reason as you.