The beginning of university brings great excitement and anticipation to thousands of students throughout the United Kingdom every year. For many of you, it’s the first opportunity you will have had to spend time away from home – a chance to experience a certain degree of freedom and independence. What many of you may or may not let on about, however, is that apprehensive feeling of stepping into the unknown with a totally new group of people.
Thankfully we’re here to help ease those nerves with a few helpful tips on what you can do before, during and after your university’s Fresher’s Week. And remember, everyone is in the same boat. You can bet that whatever you are feeling at the moment is reciprocated by each person you meet.
There is no harm in being prepared:
Visiting your new university campus with a group of friends/family, or simply getting to know a campus map will eradicate concerns of pastures new. This will help when becoming accustomed to your new home, while eliminating the chances of getting lost in your first couple of weeks. Pinpointing your subject department may also be useful before going to your introductory lecture.
Visit your Student Union’s website:
Familiarising yourself with your Student Union and the upcoming events will give you an insight into what to expect. It is important to remember that although you are likely to have access to purchasing tickets or a wristband for all Fresher’s Week events, these often sell out – you don’t want to be caught in the evening reading your subject timetable because you left it too late to buy tickets!
Facebook is the key:
Facebook and other social media can be a helpful start to your university career. Posting a status along the lines of, ‘Just been accepted to do Environmental Geography at the University of York’ will encourage others heading off to the same University to contact you. Seeing a friendly familiar face in your first couple of weeks may help you to settle into your new life. Some universities may also have groups you can join for your accommodation where you can start initial conversations with your future housemates. This will help to identify those who may have similar interests to you, and help quell fears of who you will be living with for the next year.
Note down a few local taxi numbers to ensure that you don’t get stranded on a night out. Make sure you travel in a group, and never get taxis or travel home alone.
Back up your computer:
Before setting off for your greatest adventure, it may be worthwhile backing up certain files on your laptop/computer. You don’t want to risk losing photo albums such as ‘Zante 2k12’ if your laptop decides to update itself and wipe all your most precious files. Make sure you also pack the essential gadgets to make student life run a lot more smoothly.
Ensuring that you go to a variety of social events (or as many as you can) is the best way to meet a whole host of new people. However, a week’s worth of partying will eventually take its toll. As much as it’s tempting (after all this is the first time you will be living away from home, so there’s nobody there to be telling you at what time to come home), don’t massively overdo it. It doesn’t hurt to have a quiet night getting to know your housemates a little better. Every university will host non-alcoholic events on campus for those who do not drink, or are looking for a quieter environment in which to get to know people better.
Bring a door stop:
The most useful item you can have with you on move in day is a door stop. Propping open your door will encourage others walking by to come in a chat to you. Having a sign with your name to put on your door also acts as a conversation starter and may help others remember your name; as you are likely to meet loads of people within your first hour.
Make your bed:
Making your bed as soon as you get into your new room will help feel like it is your space. A tedious task as we all know, but it will help to settle you in. Besides you don’t want to have to make your bed later on that evening – particularly if you’ve had a drink or two.
From Grandma’s homemade treacle sponge to a box of Scottish shortbread, food is bound to attract others as well as making you a popular member of your flat.
Set up music:
Having the radio playing in your room or bringing along an instrument will draw in others, while sparking up conversation on which band/artists you all like.
Have cash/ID on you:
The last thing you want to be doing is running off to find a cashpoint because you’ve only got a couple of 5ps in your wallet or purse. It is also useful to double-check you have both regular ID and your Student Card on you, as you may be asked for both.
Register with a local GP and Dentist:
It may seem like a monotonous task, and it’s one that many forget to do. But the last thing you want if you fall foul of fresher’s flu is inadequate accessibility to a doctor. Suggesting a group of you go and sign up together will ensure you’re all covered and make it feel like less of a chore.
Go to Fresher’s Fair:
Sign up for anything and everything. There are clubs and societies for everyone, and signing up via your email address to a large number of activities will ensure you get the latest news and times they meet. Even if you’re not that interested, it’s a great way of meeting people, and can be a good talking point in the years to come. Be careful not to hand over money though, as these people are selling to you. It’s okay to swap university email addresses, but you don’t want to get caught subscribing £50 to Medieval Re-enactment or Quidditch society if you have no intention of joining.
With your first week of university over in a heartbeat it is important to manage your money wisely. Don’t spend all of your student loan in the first couple of weeks. While it may seem a tedious task, by the end of the term you will be thankful that you spent a little time to budget what you need to spend on food, socialising, and materials for study. For example you could group together with your housemates to buy food staples such as rice and pasta. Organising nights where you cook and eat together can also reduce costs.
Don’t stick to your House:
It is important to carry on talking to random people you have met across university. Latching on to the first group of people you meet may not always be the best idea. Holding conversations with people from various sports clubs, societies and on your course will ensure you have a wide range of people to talk too.
You are about to take your first steps on a whirlwind adventure, so remember to have fun! But most of all be safe and enjoy the first week of the rest your life. Remember it doesn’t necessarily have to be the best week you have ever had, but it will certainly live long in your memory. Don’t forget the reasons why you have come to university – to graduate into your dream job. Utilitise the chance to boost your employability by completing an internship with Enterprise during your time at university.
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