Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to Winchester
I think it's safe to say that our lives have well and truly been flipped upside down in this last year. In a time when everything is so uncertain, I’ve shared some things I wish I knew before coming to Winchester, and I hope you’ll find them useful too.
1) Winchester is a really lovely, small city
Winchester is a sociable place and despite the small size there’s plenty to do. You’re bound to bump into familiar faces in and around the city centre. With around 56 pubs and plenty of bars, there's no shortage of places to grab a drink. Some personal favourites of mine are The Old Gaolhouse, Turtle Bay and Incognito. If alcohol isn’t your thing then Josie’s is a lovely place for brunch. As too is Rawberry, which does great vegetarian snacks. If you prefer walking, there are some lovely places to visit. My personal favourite is walking up St Catherine’s Hill.
If you want to venture out, there's Marwell Zoo, which is a short drive away. If you’re more of a shopper, Winchester has lots of independent boutiques to explore; but if you prefer the big chains, Basingstoke and Southampton are only a short train ride away.
2) Money is actually kinda important...
It's so easy to get your first maintenance loan and suddenly think ‘oh my gosh, I’m rich’. Spoiler: you might not be as rich as you think. Come up with a strict budgeting plan and make sure you stick to it otherwise you might find yourself struggling a bit. Luckily, Winchester has a great support system in place to be able to support you through any financial struggles as well as help you find a part time job if you need it.
3) Societies are great for socialising and character building
Perhaps one of the things I do regret was not joining a society. With so many on offer, it was hard to decide which one to join, so I kept putting it off. I was also too scared to attend any sessions without knowing anybody. But to overcome this, I would say to take someone along with you, perhaps a new flatmate or course mate. Even if you are scared, there are Facebook groups you can join beforehand that help introduce you to the society and integrate you before you've even gone to your first session.
4) Friends are everything
It's a common saying that the friends you make at uni are the friends you’ll have for life, and for the most part, it's true. Don’t be too scared of going a little bit outside of your comfort zone and become friends with people that do different courses. A great tip I slowly realised was that living with people from different courses is great. You don't all have essays due at the same time, you can read each other's work and you might even learn something about a course you may have never known!
My best advice to give to you is that you should attempt to grow your social circle as much as you are comfortable with. If you’re an extrovert who loves parties, great! If you're an introvert who loves movies and nights in, great! You’ll find people who are just like you easier than you think.
5) The library is amazing!
The new West Downs library opened recently, which offers some great new study spaces and resources. In my first year, I of course had the Martial Rose library, but a younger version of myself wasn’t interested in going to the library (because that sounded boring). But now I realise that having a bit of time by yourself to focus on work is probably the most important thing because, after all, that's what we’re at uni for.
Overall, don’t stress too hard. Look after your mental health and remember, Winchester is always there to support you through everything, whether there's a global pandemic or not.
About the blogger
Caitlin is a 3rd year BA (Hons) Education Studies student.
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