As the echoes of laughter and excitement from this year's Staffordshire University London, Welcome Week, continue to reverberate well into the brand-new academic year. It's now time to take a moment and reflect on the whirlwind of experiences that marked the beginning of a new scholarly adventure for our latest cohort.
For many freshers, a university welcome week is more than just a series of events; it's considered a rite of passage, an inauguration into a world of endless possibilities and, for most, a newfound independence.
For many of the students, the week began with a mix of anticipation and nerves as they entered the campus for the first time as students at Staffordshire University London. The anticipation and nerves soon disappeared, however, as they met their academic lecturers for the next three years, befriended their new classmates, and navigated a campus that would now be like a second home - it was a journey into new horizons. Yet amidst the anticipation and expectation, there was a shared sense of excitement that bound our freshers together.
One of the hallmark features of a Staffordshire University London Welcome Week is the opportunity to forge new friendships. Omar Medina, Student Support and Information Admin, who was instrumental in organising the events, stated, "Welcome Week holds immense significance for new students, offering opportunities to forge friendships, engage with clubs and societies, contemplate future academic and career paths, explore the university and for some, a new city. It's a diverse experience for everyone, as well as a chance to embrace new adventures and find their place within the university community.”
Our freshers had the opportunity to get to know each other through a variety of events, including: a week-long gaming tournament which had our students compete in The Arena before finishing off in a nail-biting finale, a quiz night on the picturesque Canalside with prizes won, a campus-wide scavenger hunt which served as an opportunity to get accustomed to the new surroundings, and a freshers festival by HereEast which united all the neighbouring universities. Siya Asthana, Computer Science, Year 1, said, "The freshers fair outside in the Yard of Here East was a great way to meet new people, the local community, and have some fun. There was a variety of stalls at the fair, representing different clubs and societies, student services, and local businesses." These friendships that started as casual introductions are blossoming into a supportive network and are providing a sense of belonging, in anticipation of the adventure that lies ahead.
Welcome Week was a melting pot of experiences, from club fairs showcasing the array of student organisations such as the Mini Figures and Pokémon Society, to cultural events celebrating diversity like the LGBTQ+ Network, the week was a celebration of different passions and backgrounds. But the week wasn't solely about fun and games. Workshops on money and guidance, wellbeing and safeguarding, study skills, and career support provided invaluable life lessons as well as the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers such as The Metropolitan Police’s Crypto Protect Team who presented to our computing students. This was echoed by Saira Khan, Computer Science, Year 1, who mentioned, "The most helpful and informative aspects of Welcome Week for me were the seminars that took place on subject-related topics; for instance, the blockchain ones, I felt they really gave an insight on how certain things such as cryptocurrency work which was interesting to learn about. As well as this, I also found the talk from the Metropolitan Police really helpful since it was very informative on the different ways scammers could approach and target you and how to avoid them!"
As Welcome Week came to a close, its impact reverberated beyond the initial first days of the semester. The friendships formed during this week became the foundation for study groups, social outings, shared academic experiences, and a prelude to the transformative journey that lies ahead.