For lots of 17 – 18 year-olds who are going to University – the next few weeks are an exciting time. Heading off to begin life as an Undergraduate is the first time most will have been away from home for more than a couple of weeks. It’s sure to be thrilling, exhilarating, inspiring – and a (probably) little bit scary. Meeting new people, doing new things and getting used to a whole new way of life can be a daunting prospect.
Fortunately, most Universities appreciate that. So to help you find your feet, first year students get to attend for a week before the rest of the students return to study – and it’s called Fresher’s Week. So here then are our top tips for getting the most out of freshers week…
Freshers week is all about settling in, meeting new people and getting comfortable with your new University life – here are our top five words of wisdom to help you through:
1. Uni Checklist
Before you even get to Uni, make yourself an essentials checklist then use it – pack everything on it and check them off as you go. There’s more to think about than you might realise and are plenty of useful resources out there to help you – like this one from Studential. Typical things you’ll need to include on your list are essentials such as documentation (passport photos, driving license etc.), furnishings (bedding, pillows etc.), kitchenwares and housekeeping (tableware, cutlery, cleaner/bleach etc.), technology (Laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.), stationery pens, ruler, post-its etc.) and of course clothing, toiletries and pharmaceuticals.
2. Settling in to you new digs
Student accommodation certainly isn’t the ritz – but it’s not usually the pits either. As long as you’ve got everything on your checklist you should be OK. One essential thing to remember is that most humans of the opposite sex prefer things clean – so it’s worth having a clear out and clean up once a week. Minging underwear hung in the floordrobe, empty pizza and kebab wrappers do not an enticing party room make. Student rooms aren’t generally palatial either. So if you do find yourself in need of some extra space you can always consider self storage – we’ve got some great offers and arrangements for student storage.
3. Making friends
Friends you make at Uni are often friends for life. Many students meet their future husband or wife whilst studying. In 20 years time you’ll be reminiscing about that time you stormed the stage in the student Union… It’s worth remembering that freshers week is as daunting for the person in the next room as it is for you. Whilst some of your peers might give the impression of making friends being a breeze – everyone has their insecurities. Take time to get to know people and see who you click with. Be sure to avoid the Elephant traps (they’re coming next). Becoming notorious as the individual who had too much to drink and passed out in the corridor in a pool of vom, in nothing but their underwear will not generally endear you to most people.
A great way to meet people you’ve got something in common with is to join one or more University clubs or societies (the americans call them fraternity’s). The Student Union usually coordinate these (there’s an elected Club’s and Society’s Secretary) and part of Freshers week is a Freshers Fayre – where the world and his wife will be trying to tell you why their society or sport is the best. You’ll pretty much find everything you can think of. Extreme sports such as Skydiving, Climbing and Skiing – down to more sedate pastimes such as an allotment, art or history club. Avoid the ones that have an initiation ceremony or humiliating task to join. That’s an americanism creeping in, and it’s unnecessary here in the UK, rise above it.
4. Elephant Traps
There are plenty of ways to trip up or get yourself into trouble at Uni. Here are some of the most common:
Budget – unless you’ve got sensible parents who are drip feeding your money throughout the term – it’s easy to get carried away with your new found freedom and blow all your money in the first half of term. Keep an eye on how much your spending and budget for all the essentials – then only spend what you have left. If you go bankrupt and don’t finish your degree it could impact the rest of your life.
Study – it’s very easy to get carried away with your new found freedom to the point that you forget what you’re at Uni for. It’s costing you and and your parents a lot for you to be there – so make sure you study hard enough to pass – better still pass well. A good degree will go along way to getting you the job you desire and enjoy – rather than just a job that you get paid for in between weekends.
Alcohol – we’ve touched on it already, but the new found freedom of being at Uni means a new found freedom at the bar. In the student Union. Drinking too much can get you into all sorts of trouble – both financially and with your health. Moderation is key.
5. Stay Healthy
It’s pretty likely that you’ll get a cold in the first few weeks of term. It’s nicknamed Freshers Flu – when a whole bunch of young people from different parts of the country come together everyone catches a cold. The best defence is eating well and getting enough sleep. So as tempting as it is to party until the small hours for three solid weeks, make sure you get some rest sooner. Cold’s are one thing – sexual health is another – there will be lots of helpful advice and health freebies on offer from both your student union and University health clinic. Make sure you seek it out, pay attention and make the most of it.
So there you have it. A bit of a crash course in feeling fearless about Freshers week. If there’s one final piece of advice we have, it’s enjoy yourself, your University days will be gone in a flash.