Hellooooo, all my lovely readers!
So big news: Fresher’s week is next week!! AHAHHHHHH!!
For all those not aware, Fresher’s week is when all the first-year students come to university, get to know the campus, have their subject inductions, sign up for clubs/societies and sports and just get settled really before academic work starts the following week. Even though I’m not a first-year, I’m still part of Fresher’s week as I’m managing stalls for the Creative Writing Society and Disney Society this year at the Fresher’s Fair, so I’m still part of it.
On the topic of Fresher’s week, though, I mentioned in a previous post that I’m thinking of doing a series on tips and advice for university, and I figured this was the perfect starting point! Fresher’s week is not something you can escape, and it can be the best time ever, but it can also be very overwhelming and stressful, and I would hate for your first week at university to be anything other than exciting and delightful. Sooooo… here are my 12 tips for surviving your Fresher’s week at university! I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!
No, I’m not about to break into the epic villain song from the Lion King (although I’ve just started playing it on YouTube…). Being prepared is my top mom comment for surviving and coping with anything to do with university. Before you arrive, read through your welcome emails, do some research on your college/university and any other documents to help you get an idea of what to expect. That way, you won’t arrive with a mini-fridge if your student res doesn’t allow them, or you’ll know exactly where to go when Fresher’s Flu hits (we’ll chat some more about that later). This is especially important for international students, so be aware of any documents you need and where you need to get any BRPs or speak to officers regarding your studies.
Do university admin early
Okay, so spending half your day hunched over your laptop filling in forms or standing in queues is never something anyone wants to do, especially during Fresher’s week, but it’s far better to get it done now than leaving it until it becomes a problem. Find out what documents you need, have all your copies ready and get things done sooner rather than later so that you can just tick it off your list and then enjoy the rest of your Fresher’s week and first year at university without essential admin haunting you. Plus, you’ll be much more confident starting the year knowing that all those boring, essential things are done.
Explore campus before lectures start
Moving to university can be a chaotic and stressful time. There’s moving into your room, leaving home and your family behind, figuring out how things work, joining clubs and societies on top of getting to all your classes. The last thing you need is to get lost on your first day or be late because you weren’t sure where your lecture hall is or how far of a trip it is from your flat/dorm. So I’d highly recommend checking out all the essential university locations (student service offices, the library etc.), and where all your classes are going to be, plus how long it takes to get there from your room so that if you ever run late, you know how much to stress.
For my first year, my flat in college was a 45-minute walk from where my department was, so there was no chance I could ever risk oversleeping otherwise, I would literally miss my entire class. That’s really useful information to know ahead of time, instead of when it’s too late (pun intended).
Sign up for everything you’re interested in
University, particularly first year, is the perfect time to get involved in anything you’re interested in and try out new hobbies and activities. During your Fresher’s week, there will be a Fresher’s fair where you can see all the different clubs, sports and societies your university offers. Most have hundreds of clubs, so no matter your interests, I can guarantee you’ll find something that interests you. Sign up for their mailing lists to see if their events interest you, but just be sure to check if any call for upfront membership fees. Extracurriculars are such a great way to meet new people, make friends and destress from your academics, so if there’s a doubt in your mind, rather sign up and try it out, then stop if it’s not for you than miss out on a really cool opportunity and the chance to meet your future best friend.
Don’t feel obliged to go to every event
That being said, Fresher’s week can be hectic. There will be events happening all the time for you to get involved with, and while it might be loads of fun to try and go to as many as possible, you mustn’t feel obliged to go to every single one. I know that FOMO is a common plight amongst our generation, but seriously don’t panic. You won’t be the only one pacing yourself, it’s so much easier to get to know your flatmates and friends on nights in than nights out and even though you might miss out on one or two events, you won’t be burnt out for your first week of classes which you’ll appreciate when everyone else can’t get out of bed.
Never forget about student discounts
Oh, the beautiful glory that is student discounts. Those who don’t take full advantage of things like Unidays, Club cards and other online student discounts are missing out. Plus, your student card can also get you lots of juicy details if you know where to go, and while you think you don’t need to worry about discounts, life is that much sweeter when you know you got something on a discount (or free) plus who doesn’t love to save a few extra pounds or dollars where you can??
Keep an eye on your health
For those who don’t think Fresher’s flu is a thing, let me stop you right there. For those who don’t know, Fresher’s flu is essentially the guaranteed illness you’ll get during your first few weeks of university from a mix of all the craziness and socialising of Fresher’s week, meeting lots of new people and not focusing enough on your health. Drinking too much, eating lots of takeaways and diets missing fruit and veg also contribute to Fresher’s flu, so not that it’s a big deal if you get it, but try to make healthy choices, eat your five a day and stay hydrated, so your immune system is ready for you should Fresher’s flu come knocking.
Be civil and friendly with your flatmates
Whether you’re living in a flat with a group of people, or in halls or dorms with lots of people, it’s always a good idea to be friendly and civil with the people living around you. These will be the people who you likely buddy up with on nights out, look after you when you’re sick, complain to when you’re stressed and chill with when you need a break from studying. Introduce yourself and be friendly to everyone you meet – put a little card on your door so people know they can come and chat with you, leave your door open and maybe play some music? Even if you aren’t friends with everyone, at least try to be civil because, let me tell you from experience, nothing makes living in student halls more awkward and tense than when there is unnecessary drama going on in a space that’s meant to be your relaxing happy spot.
Don’t be scared to say hi
You might think you’re the only one who’s shy and awkward when it comes to making friends. However, no matter how shy you’re feeling or how overwhelmed or nervous you are about starting university, I guarantee almost everyone else is feeling the same. Everyone is feeling nervous and unsure about making friends, so don’t let feeling shy stop you from simply going up to someone and saying hi. I know it sounds super cringey and lame, but you’d be surprised how much that can break the ice and make a difference when it comes to making friends.
Prepare for costume parties
This may seem a bit bizarre but be prepared for loads of excuses to wear costumes at university, particularly during Fresher’s week. There are so many fun occasions to wear costumes, and it’s a great theme to have for a party that always comes with its own conversation starters and a fun extra element. During Fresher’s week, there will be lots of themed events, and half of the fun is coming in a costume that matches, so either come with a few outfits that can be transformed or do your research where there are charity shops or costumes you can make on the cheap because whilst costume parties are great fun, what’s not fun is emptying your savings account over a costume you could have made for a tenth of the price yourself.
This is probably obvious, but I am fully embracing my mom side when it comes to giving university advice. People drink quite a bit during Fresher’s week, and there are lots of parties and moving around late at night, so always remember to be safe. Keep your wits about you on nights out, make sure you eat something proper before going out (vegetables and carbs are always a win) and keep an eye on your belongings and your drink when you’re out. Go out with a buddy and take note of your University or Student’s Union taxi service if you need it.
Don’t feel pressured to fit in
Again, this is the mom/geeky side of me coming out, but as someone who made it through Fresher’s week (it was online but still!), has loads of friends and didn’t have to sacrifice any of my values, ideals or dignity, you don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not to fit in and make friends. University is huge, so if you’re not a big party person or drinker (join the club!), that’s perfectly okay! Rather stick to what you believe in (but still try new things), and more often than not, being true to who you are won’t limit your friendships, it will grow them! You’ll make far more long-lasting friends if you are just you, and people will respect you more down the line if you didn’t fall in with social pressure just to not feel left out in Fresher’s week.
What did you think of this post?? For all those who have gone through their own version of Fresher’s week, would you agree with my tips? Are there any that you think I’ve missed out that are really critical?? Share in the comments section! Also, all those who are about to go through their Fresher’s week (or have already done them), is this sort of thing helpful, and is there anything else you’re worried about for university? Let me know in the comments section, and I will do a blog post on any concerns you’re having – what’s the point in me experiencing all these things if I can’t share my wisdom?? So please, please don’t feel shy. I would love to know what university tips and advice you want to hear 😊
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx