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Student Profile: Lara Tokar

Warwick clearly put an emphasis on the students' own perception of literature and gave them great freedom to shape their degree towards what they are interested in.

Discover Lara's journey at Warwick and what led them to apply for BA English Literature.

How did you find out about Warwick?

If I'm being honest, I can't remember the first time I heard about Warwick. It was always a university I had been aware of due to its high reputation. When I first started looking into universities, at the beginning of 6th form, Warwick was one of the few I directly had an instinct to check. As soon as I read about the course online and looked at several module descriptions, Warwick quickly became my first choice.

Did you consider studying anywhere else? What made you choose Warwick?

Warwick's English Literature course was the main factor why I knew I wanted to study here. I found the content much more diverse compared to other universities in the UK and globally, featuring authors and stories from many different backgrounds be it nationality, ethnicity, generation, sexual-orientation wise etc. There is also the fact that Warwick's course covers more modern texts than some other universities. Although we also study the past, all the way from ancient epics to the medieval times, we also look at texts closer to the present day, even things such as music albums and graphic novels, and have many options to pursue an interest in more modern literature in the second and third years. I also noticed that Warwick clearly put an emphasis on the students' own perception of literature and gave them great freedom to shape their degree towards what they are interested in. Having only been here for about a month, I have seen that this is genuinely true. Even in the first year, where our modules are compulsory, we are being told about the possibility of writing our own essay questions later on in the year! Our own interpretation of texts is valued greatly and I appreciate that very much.When I also saw the possibility of getting a scholarship, I had no doubt that Warwick was my first choice university. This was encouraged by one of my A level English teachers who told me about how well-known Warwick was for its English department, upon hearing about the universities I intended to apply to.

How did you feel to be awarded a scholarship?

It's a feeling of pride I can't quite begin to describe. It was an extremely rewarding feeling, particularly because I wrote my application talking about my passion behind English Literature. Being awarded a scholarship to study the thing I love most, almost felt like a confirmation that I have made the right choices and this is truly what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I'm a big believer in fate and things like that, unsurprising for a literature student. Additionally, the scholarship gave me the opportunity to study in the UK - I find being able to study English Literature in its origin country to be a blessing.

Who was the first person you told when you received the news about your scholarship and how did they react?

The first person I told was my father, who really wanted me to study in the UK as he had done so when he was younger and believed the UK's education system to be a very strong one. He was ecstatic when he heard the news, more than excited that his daughter was going to study not only in the UK but also in one of the most highly esteemed universities in the UK, studying what she's most passionate about.

How did you apply and did anyone help you with your application form and visa application?

My high school was quite helpful regarding the UCAS application process, I filled out my details with the help of the University Entry department. We were encouraged to start working on our personal statement the summer before applying to university, and I'm really glad to have taken that advice and starting early. My final year of high school was the busiest and it was great to be able to take time beforehand to focus on my personal statement and try out many different drafts. After a few attempts, it was easy to get what I wanted on paper. My focus was on depicting my passion for my field, and why I believed I was capable of undertaking this study.The application process for the scholarship wasn't particularly difficult for me, and I did it all on my own. All I had to do was answer some questions regarding how I came to my choice of degree, choice of university, plans for the future etc. Literature being what I love most in the world, I was able to answer the questions without difficulty.Out of the three, the visa application was the most tedious, there were many steps I needed to complete and many details I needed to provide meticulously. However, I was able to thoroughly fill it in all on my own, as well.

What was your first impression of Warwick when you first walked around campus?

I had never been to campus before arriving in order to move in, and I immediately fell in love with it. This isn't an exaggeration. I had looked at pictures before arriving, even watched videos of what the campus looked like, but it truly exceeded my expectations. I hadn't been expecting so much greenery and nature, nor such a colourful social presence. Everywhere felt alive. I loved it.

What is the best thing about Warwick?

This is genuinely a difficult question to answer because I have so many wonderful things to choose from. However, I have to say, the kindness and attentiveness of the staff has probably been the best part of my experience at Warwick. The academics I've encountered have all been extremely encouraging and understanding. Ready to answer any questions with no judgement at all. They also radiate awareness, be it through asking for the students' pronouns in class or giving content warnings before discussions. I find that little things such as these make classrooms feel like safe spaces where students feel welcome to express their opinions.

What is the worst thing?

I had to think about this question much longer than the 'best thing' question, and I'm still having a hard time coming up with an answer. The worst thing about Warwick, for me, is probably how far away it is from home. However, as this is my first time experiencing living on my own, I'm quite enjoying the journey of becoming independent and learning about myself. Warwick also compensates for the distance by having long holidays and reading weeks where I get to see my family again!

How is your accommodation?

I live in the on-campus accommodation Lakeside. I like Lakeside because of the tranquillity of the surrounding area. Walking by a lake and seeing swans and ducks (as well as geese) every day on my way to class is an experience I don't think I would have in most other places. I also like the size of my room, which is bigger than the rooms in most other accommodations I have seen, with lots of storage space.

Are you a member of any societies?

I have joined the Literature Society, which has been very fun! Through the first meet and greet the society had, I got to meet my closest friend on my course. We don't have any seminars together, so I might have not met her if not for the society, even though we are studying the same course! Most recently, I have joined Literature Society's families scheme, where I now have a 'family' of society members, my 'siblings' who are other first years and 'parents', who are older students. I cannot wait to get to know my family better and go to family specific society events!

What are your plans when you graduate?

My dream is to become an academic. I want to continue studying English literature, finding the area that I love most and specialising in that. I would love to write my own academic criticism one day, I get joy out of expressing my opinion on literature and I love to write!

What would you say to someone considering applying for an Undergraduate Global Excellence scholarship at Warwick, what would it be?

I would tell them to make sure to have chosen a field of study they truly care about, and to depict this honestly in their application! After that, responding to the application questions will come naturally to them.

What one thing about Warwick makes you happy?

If I have to choose one thing, it's my course. I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing because I love every minute of learning. I even look forward to classes I thought I wouldn't be interested in. For example, I did not think I would enjoy Medieval English literature, just because how old it was, and now I'm seriously considering choosing a module on it next year, because I found it so intriguing.

Lara's course:

BA English Literature will spark your passion for reading and writing, and develop your intellectual, political, and creative responses to literature and the world. As your understanding of literature and yourself is transformed, you will be prepared for an array of careers that value strong communication skills and critical thinking.

Find out more about the BA English Literature course at Warwick