Freshers’ Week is an exciting time for every student. It’s when your student journey really gets going, and is your chance to immerse yourself in your new life, embracing your newfound independence.
However, as with many things in life, the preconception and the reality might not match up for you. That’s why we’ve written this article for you: to make sure you know what to really expect from your first week at uni, and help you avoid some unnecessary disappointment.
So, first things first.
It’s Not Like a Weeklong Teen Movie
If that’s what you were looking forward to, we’re sorry, but this is real life. You might not come across any beer pong tournaments, and you hopefully won’t see anyone jumping off a roof into a swimming pool or anything like that.
Which leads us on nicely to this next point - a very important one...
You Don’t Have to Get Wasted
Everyone knows the classic Freshers’ Week stereotype:
Pre-drinking heavily, then heading into town and getting cross-eyed drunk if not paralytic. Next thing you know, you’re back at your accommodation with your head hovering over the toilet bowl.
But, like most stereotypes, it’s way overexaggerated. That’s not what UK student life is about these days.
We’re changing as a society, with more young people choosing to drink in moderation, and some choosing not to drink altogether. Plus, we now have a wonderfully diverse population of international students across the country, many of whom come from cultures that don’t consume alcohol at all.
By all means, have a few drinks if you want to, but don’t feel as though you have to - because you really don’t.
It Is About Enjoying Yourself and Making Friends
If we sounded at all like the Fun Police just now, we didn’t mean to, because Freshers’ Week absolutely is about having a whale of a time and getting stuck in.
You’ve probably heard that phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Bear that in mind throughout Freshers’ and the first few weeks of uni.
There’s a good chance that you won’t know anyone when you arrive at uni, and even if you do, you don’t want to limit yourself to the friends you already have.
It might sound corny, but the student experience is about broadening your horizons, and a big part of that is mixing with people from different parts of the country and even different parts of the world - people you’d never get to mix with otherwise. You’ll get new perspectives and become a more well-rounded person as a result.
And besides, now is your time to pursue your own interests rather than go along with what everyone else is into, which is what many of us do when we’re at school and college/sixth-form.
So make sure you chat to as many new people as you can (as long as you’re comfortable doing so). Whether it’s people on your course, your new flatmates or anyone else you come across, make a great first impression and you’ll never be stuck for company.
There Is Important Stuff to Do
As important as having a fun Freshers’ Week is, it’s also about getting some practical tasks done and dusted. This might seem boring, but it’ll actually help prevent boredom - not to mention confusion and frustration - further down the line.
Get Your Student ID and Timetable
Your main priority for Freshers’ Week, even before pouncing on the free Domino’s, is sorting out your ID card and getting your timetable, so that you’re ready for the first week of lectures and seminars.
Your university will send you an email and/or a letter telling you where and when to do this, so make sure you bring it with you on moving day.
Find Your Way Around Campus
Having your timetable is one thing, but actually being able to find the buildings and rooms in question is another thing entirely.
You may be blessed with a small and compact university campus to navigate around, but then again you might not.
You’ll have to get your bearings at some point, so why not do it before you have to rush around? You’ve got a full week to wander around and familiarise yourself with your new surroundings, so make the most of that opportunity. You might even find a quieter library where you can work more happily and productively. Or perhaps you’ll just find a great coffee shop. In any case, you won’t know unless you go exploring.
Find Your Way Around the City
Don’t limit the exploration to your campus, because it won’t just be there that you spend your time. Get out and explore the entire local area, including the city centre.
Where’s the nearest supermarket and/or convenience store?
What are the best bus routes in and out of the city centre?
Which city coffee shops can you head to when you want a break from campus life?
Where in the city has the best free Wi-Fi?
Where does the best pizza?
Which cinema can you watch The Fast and the Furious 37 at when that comes out?
All of these are important questions to answer within your first few weeks.
This one might not sound particularly important, but it is, and it’s a fantastic way to make friends.
You’ve probably seen how niche some university societies can be, so it’s the perfect opportunity to meet people who share your passions. For example, there’s the Game of Thrones Society at Exeter University, and the Hula Hoop Society at Nottingham University (the exercise, not the crisps)...
You don’t have to join a ‘wacky’ one, of course. A straight-up movie society or book club can be equally rewarding, if not more so.
Have a Great Time During Freshers’ Week 2019
The beauty of Freshers’ Week, and student life in general, is that you can do it your way.
Whichever way you choose to spend your first few days as an undergraduate, be sure to have as much fun as possible - because you’re only a fresher once!
Still need to find some uni accommodation? We might be able to help you there, because we have safe, secure and stylish student residences in 16 cities across the UK.