Searching for blog posts tagged with 'my welcome week 2012'

Settling in



So today was my first day as a student at the University of Sussex, and I'm tempted to call it the beginning of an adventure. The thing is, it really isn't. Not that it isn't an adventure - it most certainly is - but it has begun a rather long time ago. During this first week, I'll try to give you glimpses of how the universe conspired to get me here. In this way, I can show you what kind of person I am, and of course I hope it'll give you a laugh or even inspire you in one way or another.

But first, about today! If you were on campus today, you'll have seen a lot of students coming in with all their luggage, moving into their rooms. Some of them will have come by car, many accompanied by their parents, sisters or boyfriends. You might have seen a few coming off the train or bus, dragging their suitcases across the pavement with searching eyes. And then, if you were here around 9:30am this morning, you may have seen a guy on a bicycle, pulling a trailer, and you might have wondered if he'd mistaken the campus for a campsite. Let's cut to the chase: You'd have been wrong.

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On fitting in



I inadvertently challenged myself to an exercise in fitting in yesterday. After spending an unnecessarily long time unpacking and getting organised in my room, I dragged one of my flatmates, Natalie, along to Falmer House to join one of the Union Tours offered there. Kit, the Union's communications officer, showed a bunch of mostly international students around Falmer House, giving us an idea of just how much our Student Union does. During the tour, Natalie found out that a couple of other students were from Hong Kong like herself, so we grouped up afterwards to grab a hot chocolate at Falmer Bar. It felt perfectly normal at first, the four of us chatting in fluid pairs, mixing English (where I was involved) and Cantonese (where I wasn't). However, Asian people seem to have a tendency to flock together. Within short order, I found myself surrounded by eight or ten Chinese faces, struggling to keep track of who's who.

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On fairs and friends



The Fresher's Fairs on Tuesday and Wednesday were arguably the busiest, most packed events I've attended this week so far. On Tuesday, many of Sussex's student clubs and societies presented themselves in a bid to recruit some of us first-years. And boy, were there many of us - and many of them, too. There really is something for everyone, from fencing to films, from pirates to politics, there's so much to choose from that I'd be surprised to find anybody at all who couldn't find at least five things to sign up for.

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On patience



I'd heard rumours of the legendary queue at the Co-op in Bramber House before I even knew where that was. Now I know, and confirm the rumours! I just meant to pop in for the very basics on Sunday, aware that, on the days of moving in, many students would probably be doing the same. Although getting through the packed, narrow lanes was quite a squeeze, the shelves were still reasonably full (I hear things got a little more sparse on Monday, though, as might be expected). But oh, the queue. Winding around shelves, it easily reached the far end of the shop. I groaned a little and prepared to be very patient, but I soon noticed I'd been thoroughly fooled: The staff worked quickly and efficiently, and with all eight registers open, it wasn't long before I was out of the shop myself. That was my pleasant queue experience #1.

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Domo arigatou gozaimasu!



Picture the title of this entry as being said in conjunction with deep bows and a face-splitting smile, for cultural completeness. It's a hint to where I am right now1, and it means Thank you very much, and indeed, I have much reason to be grateful: To Michelle and the Recruitment Office team for running the Welcome Week blogging competition and awarding my blog; to all who commented on my efforts, in writing or in person, for providing criticism and encouragement; and of course to all of you, the readers, for your lending me your attention and showing interest in my writing, even if the only trace you left was a click.

I entered the competition on little more than a whim – a volunteer urged me to do so when I cycled across campus with all my belongings on the day I moved in. It seemed like a welcome opportunity to exercise my writing muscle and an easy way to let my friends and folks beyond the Channel know what's going on without writing essentially the same letter a dozen times or resorting to bite-size facebook status updates. Winning the competition seemed a distant possibility, a pleasant side-effect in the unlikely event that it did happen.

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On the road – again



Today, my Freshers Fair signup frenzy had its first direct – and very enjoyable – consequence. I went on a surprise ride with the Cycling Club! I expected a crowd as I headed out of sleepy East Slope to the Library Square. Instead, I was only the second person with wheels in sight. Half an hour and some introductions later, we'd grown to a fabulous group of five. We set out into a most beautiful autumn day, riding up through Stanmer Park to Ditchling Beacon. There – after regaining our breaths and enjoying the view – we unfortunately had to part with one of the crew, leaving just three lovely women and myself to continue onward. But onward we rode, with a tight grip on our brakes down towards Ditchling and thence westward, past Hassocks and through Hurstpierpoint to our chosen target, a...

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