Monday, 4 August 2014

An end and a new beginning

In a few weeks you will have packed your bags, said your goodbyes to family and friends, and be on your way to your new life as a Brookes student. You will probably have a lot of questions but very few answers, a lot of dreams and expectations but maybe some worries too. I remember my last night in my Norwegian bed at my mum's house and the following morning, thinking "this is it, I'm leaving the country I grew up in, where I've spent 90% of my 21 year old life and moving to a country I've only been a few times before, but never outside of London".

So my question is: are you ready? Are you ready for a whole new life, in an unfamiliar city, and maybe in an unfamiliar country? Are you ready to start your new life as a Brookes student?

If so, be prepared to have a whole lot of fun, but also stressful times before deadlines. Be prepared for nights out with friends, and nights at the library. Be prepared to be part of something so many people want to do - what you have been given the opportunity to be a part of. Don't waste it - make the most of it.

Arriving at Oxford in general and Brookes in particular can be both a dream come true and a slightly chaotic day. Maybe you don't know who you will live with or where you will stay, but just remember that it will all be fine.

If you arrive during arrivals weekend and arrive at Heathrow airport, I recommend using the Meet and Greet Service Brookes is offering. If you arrive outside of the arrivals weekend, as I did last September, my tip is to take the bus to Oxford. If you prefer to take the train I'm not going to stop you, just be aware that you'll need to change at least one time. Coaches are running regularly from both Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted, and stop at Gipsy Lane campus where you'll collect your keys, unless you're renting a private flat.

After you've arrived at Brookes there will be a number of events and meetings to help you settle into life as a Brookes student. You'll get valuable information, such as how to open a bank account, who to contact if you have questions and much more.

You will also take part of a day of enrollment, where you'll officially become a Brookes student. You'll meet your fellow students doing the same course as you, and be given even more information. Maybe more information than your brain can handle. Especially if you're a non-English speaking student. Don't let the English speaking part stress you out, you'll be fluent in English in no time! I remember the enrollment day being the day I was most nervous about. I didn't know anyone when I sat down, and even though I really wanted to speak to the girls around me, but they were all British and I didn't want to embarrass my self with my Norwegian accent. After the meeting a green dressed girl working as Brookes guide showed us around, and I was really pleased when she told me she was from Romania. She told me not to be afraid to speak English with a bad Norwegian accent, unless I wanted to stick to the accent for ever. That would be really awkward if I still sounded like a Norwegian after spending three years in Oxford!

If you get lost, don't understand what the teachers are talking about, and just feel complete and utterly confused - that's where your Academic Adviser comes in. Your AA is your very own adviser, who will be able to help you and give you advice. Make sure to use her/him, they're here to help you improve your stay at Brookes.

If you're an international student as I am, you'll find that opening a bank account really isn't that easy. But my advise is to do it as quickly as possible, because without it you won't be able to get an UK sim-card or set up an internet subscription. So make sure to bring your offer letter, passport and proof of your UK address, such as your flat contract.

After being through it all I can truly say that it's nothing to worry about. If someone told be a year ago that I would achieve better grades than ever before I would've just laughed at them. But I did, and I've been able to achieve nothing but A's and B's during my first year at Brookes. And I was a girl with mediocre English skills. I've learned that nothing is unachievable, you just have to believe. And study. But most importantly - you got to have fun. And with Brookes having so many competent members of staff, I can assure you that you'll have the time of your life.

See you in September!

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