Hellooooo lovely hoomans!
The fateful week has finally arrived … Freshers week! Well, it hasn’t technically arrived. It starts on Monday but I’m getting in ahead of it as I figure a lot of students will either be moving in this weekend, or gearing up to start uni soon so I figure it would be a good idea to start off my uni advice posts with literally, the first thing you normally experience at uni as a uni student. No matter where you’re off to, the first week of tertiary education life has a lot of similarities, and normally includes moving into your accommodation, signing up for loads of societies, figuring out where everything is, meeting people, making friends etc. etc. etc.
Sooooo even though my fresher’s week was definitely not what people would consider normal *cough covid cough* (yes that was meant to be both ironic and a bad joke), I have helped with fresher’s events and still vaguely know what’s going on. Today’s post is going to be a bit chunky – fair warning – but I’ve split it up into a section of best steps to breaking the ‘transition to uni’ thing into manageable chunks, and then some tips for making the most out of freshers week. Right, enough dillydallying there’s a lot to talk about.
Step one: Deal with moving into your uni accommodation
Before you can dive head first into all the events, you maybe sorta kinda have to move into your accommodation first. You need a home base after all, right? Moving in itself can be a bit of an overwhelming experience, what with unpacking all your stuff, getting your shelves organised without making it look like they’re about to collapse under the weight, but it’s also really exciting. Whether you’re moving in all on your own, or have a parent to help you lug heavy suitcases/boxes, there are three things I would say make the whole process easier.
#1 Unpack your room one step at a time
If you start unpacking everything all at once, it’s bound to get chaotic and overwhelming. Not to mention messy. Rather start with your bedding, then place suitcases or boxes one at a time on your bed and slowly work through it, or start with clothes, then move to books etc.
One. step. At. a. Time.
#2 Get creative with storage
Student accommodation is notoriously cramped so to avoid feeling like you’re living in a dollhouse, try to sort out some innovative storage solutions – boxes under the bed, little storage baskets for clothes in your cupboard, extra hooks for your coats, whatever. You’ll feel like you have all the space in the world, even though it’s probably not true. And hey, it’s all part of the charm when everything is arm’s length away.
#Leave your door open and smile
This may sound like a line, but I swear it’s true – you’re not the only one feeling nervous. Everyone else is too! And the best way to connect with your flatmates (or anyone) is to make the first move and be friendly. Try leaving your door open (when you’re in it of course) so people can pop in and chat as they walk past. This is also a great way to chat with people and make friends if you’re more shy, as it’s a lot less intimidating talking to people when you don’t have to knock on their door to start a conversation.
Step two: Get the boring admin things out the way
Yes, uni is a lot of fun, but there are some important adult components too that are important to sort out. And they are especially important to get sorted out sooner rather than later, so you can fully enjoy your fresher’s week and avoid stressful situations later in the year. Spending half your day queueing for things or doing paperwork isn’t exactly the wild and fun experience everyone hopes for, but trust me it’s so much easier to just get it sorted first. Get your student bank account opened, register for classes, send important emails, get doctors appointments out the way, if you’re an international student sort out your visa stuff, and anything else that has been sent to you by the uni to get done. You can also include signing up for student platforms/student discount apps as admin – that is more fun, and will have its benefits.
Step three: Schedule in any academic sessions/induction talks etc.
During your first week, you’ll probably have lots of induction sessions for your department to introduce you to your different subjects/modules, who your lecturers will be, what the expectations are etc. Check when any and all of your academic-related subjects are and MAKE A NOTE OF THEM!! Sometimes things change, and there are lots of important things that happen in these sessions so it’s worth going to them. Plus, if you pop those into your schedule first, you can plan the rest of your life around them and can see what’s coming in advance. Also, make sure to ask questions to clear up any confusion from the get-go. This is coming from someone who is incredibly shy … don’t be scared to ask your lecturers questions! They are not unapproachable (or at least mine aren’t) and they understand that this is a new and overwhelming time so they won’t be upset if you ask a question. Besides, it’s better to ask it now than to stay quiet and still be confused in a month’s time.
Tips for thriving in freshers week, not just surviving…
Righttttt now I’m moving onto the more social side of things because once you’re done with those three things, it’s time to enjoy your first week at uni! There is so much to do from a fun, social side of things, and ways to make the most of the week, so here are 10 tips to make sure you get to the end of the week and say you thrived!
#1 Safety first kids
Okay yes I’m starting on this note but it’s important so I’m doing it anyway! It’s great to go out and have fun on nights out or with friends, but it’s always important to remember to be safe because there are some awful people out there. If you’re going on a night out, look out for your friends, be careful with your drinks and make sure you’re safe walking home. Even if you’re not on a night out, it’s still a good idea to be cautious and just make sure you’re looking out for yourself and your friends.
#2 Try everything!
When I was starting uni, I remember our college principal saying something at our welcome meal that truly stuck with me. “Don’t let your degree get in the way of your education.” Essentially, just because we’re here to do something academic (and that is still important), you shouldn’t let that get in the way of experiencing what the rest of uni life has to offer.
Try anything and everything that interests you, even if you’ve never done it before. You don’t have to commit to it for a lifetime, but you won’t know if it’s something you could enjoy unless you try it out. Sign up for all the societies you think sound fun – ones that link with a hobby or interest you love, or ones that just sound like a funky opportunity. It’s a great chance to make friends not just with people in your living community and degree but people who have similar interests to you. Plus, it’s a great way to get away and clear your head from academic stress, and even if you decide you don’t love it, you may still make some really fun memories.
#3 Figure out where your different classes are
Again, another one of those things that sounds a bit boring, but you won’t regret it if you happen to oversleep one morning, or are feeling stressed and overwhelmed and need to make a mad dash for your class. Take a few hours and figure out where all your different classes are, so you don’t have to stress about it before an actual class. It could also be a fun thing to do with your flatmates, or other friends, and it will be a chance to chat and get a sense of where you’ll be living for the next few years.
#4 It’s okay to say no!
Soooo I’m going to broach this topic because that’s me. You don’t have to drink and party every night to make friends or have a fun week. If that’s something you want to do or enjoy, then absolutely go for it! But if you’re not that type of person and prefer nights in, then that’s okay too. I guarantee there will be people like that around you, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll be all alone if you don’t want to go out clubbing. If it’s not your thing, tell your friends and there will probably be something else fun you can do that’s more your vibe. I told my friends going clubbing is not my thing and it didn’t change a thing – we have fun doing loads of other things but they never would have known if I hadn’t told them.
#5 Be prepared for themed events
Okay I’m going to be honest with you, whether you’re into it or not I can almost guarantee there will almost always be some sort of fancy dress event for you to go to during your freshers week. Dressing up is a fun icebreaker for people who don’t know each other, and it can create some pretty epic memories. You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy costumes or anything, but it’s a good idea to have a heads up in case you have some fun costumes you love from home.
#6 Always remember about student discounts
Student discounts can be a budget saviour! And the best thing about freshers week in particular is there will be so many student discounts around. Some you might need to sign up for on different platforms, but a lot of shops or restaurants may just generally have student discounts so never forget to ask about student discounts, and remember your student ID!
#7 Never underestimate the power of food
I know this sounds a little odd but bear with me – food can be a great way to socialise! First things first, food can be a great way to bribe people into being your friend. If you love baking, whip up a batch of something and use that as an ice breaker, or excuse to introduce yourself. I did a lot of baking in my first term of uni and not only is it therapeutic for you, but everyone around you will appreciate it and like I said, it’s a great start to a friendship! The next foodie thing is to get a meal together. Whether you’re in a catered uni or self-catered, going to the dining hall to eat together, cooking together, or going out for dinner together are all really fun bonding experiences that are both chilled and enjoyable because who can be miserable when there’s food?!
#8 Beware of Freshers flu
It’s safe to say just about everyone will get freshers flu – it’s a fact of life. Some bug goes around at the start of the uni term and because everyone’s having fun, socialising, going out etc, everyone catches it at some point. You might be lucky and escape it, but just in case, make sure you’re looking after yourself by taking vitamins, eating as healthy as possible and just generally thinking healthy thoughts. No one wants to be going to lectures and trying to do uni work when you’re sick.
#9 Look after each other
Uni can be a challenging experience, no matter where you are, what you’re doing or at what point in the experience you’re at. It can be stressful and challenging, and just think that if you’re going through something, someone else could also be going through a challenge. One thing I’ve loved about my uni experience is the fact that people seem to look after each other more, whether that’s offering to walk home with you from something at night, checking in on you every now and then, or just offering a hug when they can see you need it. Things can get hectic, and the easiest way to get through it is if everyone helps each other out a little so just keep that in mind.
#10 Be you – you don’t have to reinvent yourself
And last but not least, don’t forget to be you. You don’t have to completely change who you are when you come to uni. In fact, uni is the perfect time for you to be exactly who YOU are, because the odds are you’re way more likely to find friends for life if you’re being true to yourself. Before uni, I thought I was never going to make friends. But now I’m going into my third year and I have so many amazing friends who I can honestly be myself around and I absolutely love it. It may be weird, or scary, but don’t be scared to be exactly who you are, and I promise you will make all the right friends (I know I sounded like such a motivational cat poster but they’re cat posters for a reason!)
Okay wow that is a long post, and I think I’ve been speaking at you for long enough so let me quickly wrap things up. I hope this post was helpful, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! For everyone starting uni, I wish you all the best. For everyone going back, good luck with the next year and for everyone not at uni, I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for reading. If you have any tips for surviving freshers week, or fun uni experiences please share them, and I will see you all next week for another post.
Until then, stay sparkly!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx