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My first week at school a year ago!

Just as the new set of students on the MBA ‘conveyor’ start their year long journey tomorrow, my memories go back to my first week at Warwick. Excitement levels to their hilt. It was an amazing amalgam of excitement and nervousness. Many amongst us were getting back to books after over 10 years.

Fellow students were regaling the groups with their past achievements. The class seemed infinitely large because of the urgency to speak to each one of the fellow students and make friends. Some were loud, some were muted, some were interesting and some……..

The first week was action packed. While we coped with the schedules of introductory classes, alumni meets and tried to make our airplanes to take a flight of success and achievement, some stumbling blocks came our way in the form of settling-in blues.

Bank Accounts – It’s a struggle, we needed to get a letter from the University house that we were registered students – to open a bank account. And this needed to be done fairly early on as the first instalment of fees was due soon. HSBC and Barclays charged 6 pounds a month just to keep our money with them. NatWest didn’t charge anything like this and was happy to give you a connect card (more easily acceptable in most establishments and online transactions) if your balance was over 5000 pounds.

Mobile phones – We were required to give our mobile numbers for the talent book that had an alleged life of a year and beyond. Most mobile companies have arduous procedures of giving out contracts. The least requirement is a proof of address in the form of bank statement and the first statement can take about 2 months to arrive. A pay as you go card can be as expensive as 20p for a minute’s call and 10p for a sms but a contract gave us almost 600 mins and unlimited texts in under 20 pounds. My advice – do not worry. Take a pre-paid card and convert it into a contract at a later date and retain your number.

Lunch – University house that is 5 mins of walk gave us a lunch in under 5 pounds and Rootes (Ist floor behind bar fusion) that is 8 mins of walk from the school served an elaborate buffet that costed less than 4 pounds. Needless to say – if we did justice to the buffet, it helped us better in catching up with our sleep during the afternoon class. Else for the benefit of pocket and weight watchers, the school – kindly and appreciably, served a splendid variety of fruits and muffins at the coffee lounge.

Grocery – Cost cutter (next to Rootes) was really a pocket cutter. It took many of us a month to realise this. Tesco is 30% cheaper. Is open 24 hrs Monday to Friday, till 2200 hrs on Saturdays and 1600 hrs on Sundays. Residents of Claycroft had an advantage here. Its 2 mins away. Residents of Heron Bank and Lakeside struggled a bit more as they stacked up their freezers etc in the initial weeks. But 2 or 3 of us always enjoyed our walk from lakeside to Tesco and took a taxi back in 5 pounds.

Extracurricular – Warwick has over a hundred societies to suit every enthusiast. Polo, salsa, golf, cricket, sailing and many more. This we could figure out only in the 3rd or the 4th week as we began to settle down.

Hostels – Computers took a while to adjust to the new environment. A data cable could be purchased at Tesco or Costcutter. Irrespective of our previous attachments with our old IP settings we had to let our computers find their new IP. The accommodation service was fast and efficient. If at all we had an issue with our accommodation we used our login starting with bs….. and logged in an online complaint. We only realised much later that all the spiders that we found in our rooms were pets. But if there was a strong aversion we could politely request their removal.

A high point of the first week was Nicholas Bate and his introduction to discipline and self development.

In retrospect I feel academics were a miniscule part of this amazing experience that we lived. Work smart and party hard was the mantra. This was an opportunity of a lifetime to make new friends and nurture relationships. Some amongst us made the most of it, some faded away into oblivion.

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