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15. November 2018 Václav Benedikt Loula

An Unexpected Journey into the Realm of Ideas

Travelling tends to be surprising and stressful, as we mostly fail to preconceive the full picture of our final destination. In contrast, places that are already familiar to us are like an old-friend, comforting and sentimental. These two opposing worlds soon became the centre of my current condition. Their boundary was a clear-cut demarcation line that I was about to cross.

On September 21st, I embarked on my way to Warwick. Stressed, worried and anxious - all these words would describe the thought process of a starting undergraduate. However, I felt quite calm and curious on the train to Coventry. I envisioned this moment for a long time, so that any irregularity had already been encapsulated in my mind. When you strive for something for so long, the idea of a potential reality becomes clear like an architectural sketch, whereas living through such possibility is just furnishing the building. Still, my initial conception barely touched the surface.

First of all, I was touched by an awe of modernity as the architectural style of Warwick University resembles classical American campuses. Even though many British universities tend to be locked in cities, Warwick is situated in an open field. The whole campus is pretty much modern with an array of sport fields, art centres, restaurants and lecture rooms. These various sections are mostly occupied and operated by students of over 120 nationalities. Thusly Warwick, in some parts, loses the scent of Britishness.

The appearance of the university is also telling about the intellectual conditions of this place. The University of Warwick was renowned as an institution with some radical ideas, since it sheltered several far-out leftists in the past (such as E.P. Thompson). Nevertheless, the expanding prestige of the Warwick Business School brought in market oriented individuals who made the department a stronghold for modern conservatism. This clash of ideas that is sewed into Warwick’s design makes the university a home to manyfold streams of thought. Although, Warwick is a relatively new university, the respect for alternative views is probably a major contributing factor to Warwick’s success. It is no accident that the Piazza (a central part of Warwick University) resembles ancient theatre that was intended to provide the best conditions for dialogue.

As for myself, my course is pretty much different than I expected. Philosophy was my companion through my teenage years, yet now I indulge in material that due to its complexity is hard to pass on. Sometimes, even I grapple with the task at hand, but luckily, most of our lecturers are very articulate, since most of them studied at Oxford or Cambridge. Furthermore,I did not hesitate to broaden my argumentative skills. Therefore, I joined the Debating society and I have already travelled to several tournaments. At one tournament in London, I even met the Czech National Team!

In conclusion, Warwick is different than I expected, but it is worth it. The university still surprises me and I am curious what will happen next.

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