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What’s it like at Warwick Uni? Joely Axelrod, History

Published August 2014

What do living in Leamington Spa, busting the myth of Disney’s Pocahontas and Curiositea have in common? They are all second year History student Joely’s favourite things about studying at Warwick University.

A gig in CuriositeaName: Joely Axelrod
Degree: History and Politics (Joint Honours)
Home town: North-West London
A-levels studied: History, Politics, English Literature and French

Where were you before you came to Warwick?

JFS (a state school)

How long have you been at Warwick?

Two years

How did you apply to Warwick?

I applied through UCAS after visiting on the open day. I was fortunate enough to come on a sunny May day which made campus look even more appealing! I decided to make Warwick my first choice after hearing back from all of my universities and deciding that Warwick was both the course and type of university I preferred. I’m an extremely indecisive person but after coming on a departmental open day to make sure I was absolutely certain, I went home and firmed Warwick on UCAS!

What’s it like to study at Warwick?

There’s no getting around the fact that studying at Warwick is hard work. We’re at one of the best and most academically rigorous universities in the country but the challenge is extremely rewarding and it also means we’re being taught by some of the best! The range of modules on offer to me is mind-boggling and means that the degree programme you study really is tailored to your interests. This is particularly helped by the wider resources available to us, for example the library, as well as online materials such as journals, so you’re never short of something to read for an essay!

We’re at one of the best and most academically rigorous universities in the country but the challenge is extremely rewarding and it also means we’re being taught by some of the best!

What was it like going from studying at A-level to studying for a degree?

One of the biggest changes was the amount of independent work and reading we do as opposed to being directly guided by our tutors. It was a big adjustment choosing which books and articles we wanted to delve into from the reading list and writing an essay without having a teacher going through an essay plan and working on it as a class was daunting at first! However, this also gives us the opportunity again to tailor our work to the parts of the course we find most interesting meaning that all that reading really is rewarding!

Why Warwick?

The key moment for me was the departmental open day. It gave me a great perspective on what it was really like to be a student at Warwick on a day to day basis and see the hustle and bustle of campus first hand. Having an open day specifically for my course also gave me the chance to find out more specific information about what I would be studying at Warwick and about the range of opportunities available to me. It was definitely the departmental open day which confirmed that Warwick would be my first choice!

What have you found most challenging?

Having the confidence to just turn up to an event or society without knowing anybody. It’s something I found really hindered me in first year and I now regret not jumping in at the deep end and taking advantage of all the clubs and societies running at Warwick!

What were your favourite memories of the past year?

My favourite memory of the past year has to be just generally living in Leamington Spa. It really is a fantastic student town and has enabled me and my friends to have many a great evening whiling away our time over a delicious (and normally inexpensive!) meal.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this year?

In my Early American Social History course, we had the myth of the Disney version of Pocahontas well and truly busted. I’d never before realised quite the extent to which a childhood favourite could be so inaccurate, even down to the landscape in the background!

Any low points?

My only real low point was a week I spent in first term not knowing if I’d got on to a year abroad yet when all my friends were signing up to housing in Leamington. In the end, I signed up for a house on Warwick accommodation and later swapped out with a friend once I found out I had a place to go to Monash. It may have been stressful at the time, but it’s a distant memory now and it all worked out for the best in the end!

I’ve made friends from all over the world and have immensely enjoyed getting to learn about other cultures, be it through a film or food! It also makes for some very exciting potential future travel plans!

Will you be studying overseas as part of your degree?

Next week I will be flying out to Australia to spend my third year studying at Monash University in Melbourne.

What do you plan to do once you’ve completed your degree?

Using a typical History student response, so many things are potentially open to me, yet I’m not really sure what I’ll end up doing. I like the idea of teaching or working for an NGO or charity but there are no real concrete plans yet.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

This year I’ve been part of Warwick Volunteers and the Jewish-Israeli Society. I also enjoy swimming and so being able to have unlimited access to the pool for only £50 for the year really is a bonus.

Who have you met whilst you’re here?

One of my favourite things about Warwick is how international it is – I’ve made friends from all over the world and have immensely enjoyed getting to learn about other cultures, be it through a film or food! It also makes for some very exciting potential future travel plans!

What’s your favourite spot on campus?

My favourite spot on campus has to be Curiositea. Not only are the chai tea lattes excellent and their selection of cakes exemplary but it’s also a really lovely atmosphere and a great place to people-watch on the piazza. Highly recommended!