Amazing parties, fun activities and friends made for life – Freshers’ Week is the stuff of legends. But how do you really make the most of it? Whether you can’t wait, or are feeling a bit nervous, these dos and don’ts will see you through.
You’re probably in a new place with lots of new people, but that doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You might be able to keep it up for a few days, but soon it’ll start to be a right pain. Be proud of who you are – it’s got you this far hasn’t it? – and don’t be afraid to let it show.
Get to know your neighbours
These people are going to see you at your best and your worst, so get bonding with them now! Not only will this avoid awkward silences as you wait for the kettle to boil in the kitchen, but it’ll set you up with someone to turn to when you need it.
Whether it’s playing computer games with you all night, helping you pick the perfect outfit for your date, or bringing you a cup of tea in the middle of essay hell, a good neighbour will always be there for you. Think of them as family, only more fun.
Join a society
At the Freshers’ fair a host of Students’ Union Societies will ply you with sweets and stickers in the hope you’ll sign up to their club. But don’t just grab the loot and run – join something! Societies are a great way to meet people from other courses, accommodation and years who share your interests.
From drama to football to voluntary work, there really is a society for everyone. If you fancy something out of the ordinary you won’t be disappointed either: St Andrews has a Barbeque Society, The University of Liverpool has a Paranormal Investigations Society, and in Edinburgh you can join the Arabic Belly Dancing Society.
You don’t want to ruin your first week at uni by ending up somewhere dramatic like a hospital or police station, so look after yourself and your new buddies. It’s obvious stuff, but don’t walk home alone, keep your belongings secure when you go out, and try to keep an eye on how much you drink.
Sort the boring stuff out
Freedom comes with its costs, and one of them is having to sort out boring stuff for yourself. Perhaps the most important is enrolling, as your student loan won’t be released until you do so. Get this done early and you’ll be all set to stock up on food, pick up some bits to customise your room, or treat your new friends to a round of drinks.
Other jobs include getting a login for the computers and wifi, collecting your library card and signing up at the doctors’ (many unis have one on campus).
Yes, you could do these things next week, but by then you’ll be busy getting your head round your course. So grab a companion and get organised – that queue will a great opportunity to get to know them better.
Judge too quickly
Not everyone you meet is going to be just like you or your friends back home, but try your hardest not to judge people before you’ve given them a chance. That posh girl with the designer clothes or that shy boy with a dodgy haircut might turn out to be your next best friend.
Assume it’s all about drinking
There’s much more to Freshers’ Week than drinking. Check out your Students’ Union listings for all sorts of fun activities. There will be stuff anyone can join in with, as well as special events targeted at mature students, international students and others.
Edinburgh shows off its cafes on tea and coffee crawls, thrill-seekers at The University of Liverpool can go on a ghostly tour of the city’s most haunted spots, and UCL students can make friends singing sea shanties in the Cobden Arms pub in Camden!
Burn toast at night
It’s three o’clock in the morning, you’re rudely awoken by a shrill alarm. You drag yourself outside and stand in the rain for half an hour in your PJs, desperately trying to avoid that guy or girl you fancy. That’s right – someone burnt their post-club toast. Again.
Setting off the smoke alarms at night wastes the fire services’ time and is a sure fire way to upset everyone in your accommodation, so stick to cereal instead!
Be hard on yourself
Freshers’ Week is great fun, but it’s also very intense. Meeting so many new faces, trying to find your way around, maybe having a few late nights – at times it’s bound to feel overwhelming. Make sure you allow yourself a bit of me time, and don’t feel like a social failure if you don’t click with people immediately.
Why not turn to one of those neighbours? Chances are they’re feeling just the same way, and will be relieved to know they aren’t the only ones.
Spend all your student loan at once
The nice people at the Student Loan Company have just dumped the first chunk of your loan into your bank account, brilliant! Your bank balance is probably the highest it’s ever been, but try to resist the temptation to blow it all in your first week.
Nightly takeaways, weird and wonderful drinks, plus a whole new wardrobe will start to add up quickly. Before you know it you’ll be down to your last fiver, doomed to a whole term of staying in.
A good way to budget is to plan yourself a weekly allowance. Work out a sensible amount for food, socialising and other stuff, then draw it out in cash and do your best to make it last (yes, paying on a card is cheating!) If you’re trying this tactic don’t carry your entire allowance with you, take what you think you’ll need for the day and keep the rest in a safe place.
Need more advice?
The countdown to Fresher’s Week has begun, so it’s really important to make sure you’ve got your accommodation sorted out. If you’re still looking, we have a couple of spaces left – check out the great options available in St Andrews, Liverpool, Edinburgh and London.
Keep an eye on our blog for more info on making the most of your first year at uni.