I’ve been talking about uni since I started my blog. I’ve gone through accommodation, money, even some recipes. However, I’ve never really talked about Freshers week and the initial University process… Therefore, when Boohoo* asked if I would put together a guide for Freshers week in light of their new student hub, I felt that it was an opportune time.
For those who don’t know/aren’t from the UK, ‘Freshers week’ is what we call the first week of University. It is known to involve a lot of partying and not much else. However, there can be far more to it than that.
What Was My Freshers Like?
In all honesty, I feel like I had a good balance. It started very club and alcohol heavy, due to the fact that I didn’t know my flatmates well and I wanted to “fit in”. The days consisted of adjusting to the new surroundings and city exploration with new people. However, we were all in the same position, so it wasn’t all that awkward. 5 days into the 7 day week of straight partying (Yes, you read that right), I decided that it was all a bit too much for me, and opted in for a Netflix night in alone. A couple of my flatmates were a bit iffy about it… But by the end of the year I’d found out we weren’t compatible people, so it was fine in the grand scheme of things.
Would I Do Anything Differently?
I’ll get more into this in the advice, but I’d probably care less about what people think. I like clubbing and drinking and partying, and I wanted to have the whole “freshers experience” that you see in the movies. However, I also like chill days in and daytime activities. I didn’t want to club almost everyday for a week, but I did because I felt that it was expected of me. Nothing is expected of you. I’m not saying avoid going out completely. In fact, I strongly recommend giving your all for at least the first couple of days to form foundations. However, you don’t need to maintain a reputation of the perfect social student if that’s not you.
Aside from that, I’m pretty content with the way my freshers played out. In fact, my problems didn’t start until a little while after freshers… But that’s a story for another day. It’s been a couple of years now, and I’ve had time to think it all through. Therefore, here are 10 tips to help you survive that first week of uni…
10 Survival Tips
1) Make that effort to socialise those first few days!
This doesn’t mean you have to constantly drink, just make an effort to form connections, no matter how hard it may seem for you. Everyone’s shy those first few days! Everyone misses home! Put on a brave face and get out there and socialise. I’m a massive introvert and I thought I would suffer, but the push for those first few days was worth it. It’s the perfect chance to bond over your shared loneliness and new experiences. The sooner you put the work in, the sooner you can feel comfortable and stop yourself feeling like you missed out.
2) Be yourself.
It sounds really obvious and cliché, but honestly remind yourself of who you are. I found it easier than I thought it would be to try and match the personalities of those around me. Before I knew it I was emulating the behaviour of the girls and boys in my flat, convinced that that was the best way to fit in. I started dressing plainer, watching the way I spoke, denying certain interests, and participating in activities that weren’t my kind of thing. All that happened was that I ended up in a group that really weren’t my kind of people. Stay true to you. You’ll find your way.
3) Do the Boring Stuff Now. It’s Worth It.
It’s your first week and, though it may seem hectic, you haven’t seen anything yet. Do the boring stuff like registering at the GP, checking your class schedules, going through the reading lists and registering any mental/physical health issues now. Before you know it, life gets super busy and you’re already halfway through the year. Set aside a moment in the first week to get all the boring but essential things done, so you set yourself up for success.
4) Avoid Buying Your Wristbands Before You Get There
If they’re going to sell out and you’re panicking, then fair enough, but they don’t usually sell out before you get there. In the summer before Uni, various uni Facebook groups will convince you that you need every wristband under the sun, and you probably won’t be able to tell which ones are official and which ones aren’t. The best way to do it is to wait until you get there and talk to your flatmates. You can decide with a group what you plan to do, and all buy your wristbands etc. together. It will settle your worries, save your money and ensure that you have people to attend freshers events with.
5) Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Ice Soberly
Everyone is best friends when they’re drunk, but maintaining that first day friendship sober is a talent. Talk to flatmates you see in the kitchen, smile at people you walk past in your building. It’s the first few days and everyone’s alone, so don’t be afraid to knock on people’s doors (Once or twice… not excessively) and ask if they want to hang out during the day. If you’re stuck for hangout ideas, I suggest exploring your new city, food shopping or having a snoop round your accommodation.
6) Personalise your Room in Super Simple Ways
If you’ve seen an empty uni room, you’ll know that they’re as plain as plain can be. Unfortunately, it’s not worth the time or hefty fine to completely do up your room for the year. Make it personal with bright colourful bed sheets and as many photos and posters as you can fit on the walls. They’re easy steps to keep things cute, and also the photos are a nice reminder of home.
7) Adding Every Fresher You Meet In A Club on Social Media May SEEM Like a Good Idea…
But trust me, it’s not. If I had a pound for every time I clicked on a Snapchat story in first year and had no idea who the person was, I could pay off my student loan right this moment. Don’t get me wrong, obviously make connections with people you keep meeting/think you hit it off with! However, alcohol makes you think that everybody is your best friend… You probably won’t meet half of those people again.
8) Go to Freshers/Welcome Fair.
It may seem pointless. You may have convinced yourself that you don’t want to join any societies. It may be on a Friday morning at the end of a week of constant hangovers. However, you do not want to miss it. Not only is it a chance to scope out all the societies (And put your email down for a bunch that you’ll never go to), but it’s where all the cheap stuff is! From enough 50% off Dominos vouchers to last you til Christmas to free pens and subway vouchers… Freshers fair is the place to get those deals. You do not want to miss it.
9) Travel in Packs/Pairs for Nights Out
I know that you may not know anybody, but I cannot stress the importance of not being alone. If you lose your friends then find any familiar face, or join a new group: people are friendly when they’re drunk. While Freshers is a great time for clubbing and making new friends, it is unfortunately a time where people prey on the new and vulnerable. Stick with your newly found people and watch out for each other. On a positive note, it may actually bring you closer, you can bond over avoiding creeps.
10) Budget for Freshers. You’ll Thank Yourself.
You suddenly have the government dropping a grand or two in your bank account… It’s easy to get carried away. However, remember that that loan is for maintenance. Groceries and other necessities add up over the term and you need to take care of that money more than you know. I’m not saying that you can’t spend money during freshers – of course you should! However, try to lightly keep track of what you spend, and avoid your drunk mind telling you that you’re rich. Freshers is about having fun and letting loose, but if you let too loose during freshers week, you’ll spend the rest of the year paying for it (Literally). I’m a sucker for organisation and spreadsheets, so I divide my money up at the beginning of the year and set myself an amount for each week (More details on that here), but find what works for you.
And there you have it, a list of tips that helped me get through that first week! They certainly helped me. Thank you so much to Boohoo for collaborating with me on this post, and make sure to check out their brand new Student Hub for more helpful student advice when it’s live!
Do you have any tips for your first week of Uni? I’d love people to share their own tips in the comments!
Lots of love,
*This post was written in collaboration with Boohoo and the launch of their new student hub, which you can find here.)