The Warden gave this speech at his welcome reception after dinner on Sunday 27 September 2015.
If we haven’t already met, I’m Adrian Clark, your Warden. And I have just a few brief things to say tonight.
First, to everyone, let me extend a very big, warm welcome to the Hall. I hope we've made your first days or weeks here comfortable, friendly, and relaxed.
Let me introduce some other members of the team…
We are all so happy that you have joined us at Connaught. It's been an absolute pleasure to meet so many of you in the last few weeks.
Our goal here is for everyone to feel a sense of belonging in our Hall community – for everyone to naturally want to look out for everyone else, so by the end of the year, we're not sharing this building with 235 strangers, but with 235 friends.
If you join us in working toward that goal, I promise you will make some amazing friends at Connaught Hall this year – forging friendships and great memories that I hope you will carry with you for a lifetime.
And we are going to offer you so many opportunities to get involved.
If you’re all about social events, stand for election to the Residents Club Committee. You'll get to know nearly everyone in Hall and have a great time doing it. There are posters everywhere explaining how to stand for election. We'll be voting next Wednesday.
If you want to help us improve the Hall itself, come to our facilities forums. We'll be advertising the first of those very soon.
And if you want to enrich the cultural environment in which we live, think about getting involved with the multicultural students’ forum, which aims to bring the whole Hall together in celebration of festivals from all around the world.
Speeches like this are often full of advice that we all quickly forget. So I am going to share only one bit of advice tonight.
And that is, to ask questions.
Ask for information. If you're being being taught something you don't understand, ask your tutor to clarify. You won't be the only one who didn't get it first time.
Ask questions about things. Challenge the way things are done. If you're not happy with something on your course or here in hall, ask what we can do to make it better.
More importantly, ask questions about people. Ask how your neighbours are. Find out what makes them tick. Ask them what you can do to enrich their experience this year. Cultivate your interest in everyone around you. We can all learn so much from the people we share the world with – and they will like you for asking about them.
Ask questions of yourself, too. University is as much about getting to know yourself as it is learning your subject. Use this year to explore and expand your own preferences, your views, and your beliefs.
So… Ask questions everywhere you go. You may not find the answer to every question you ask, but you can at least enjoy the asking.
You know, I have a really good feeling about this year. We're going to have a great year together. But let's not pretend there won't be challenges. It's not always easy studying a new subject, in a new city, with new friends.
And it's ok sometimes to think “hey, actually this isn't the best time of my life”. It's normal to sometimes feel lost or sad. But please promise yourself now that if you're struggling with something, you will tell someone about it. Tell a friend, tell your tutor, tell your college welfare service, tell me or a senior member. We're all here to listen and to help.
Ok. I said I would be brief. So let me finish with a toast. Please raise your glass… To the best year ever!