If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I didn’t really have the traditional freshers week experience. Moving straight into a flat with my partner meant that I didn’t experience what a ‘typical freshers week’ was like. So, reading this, you’ll probably be wondering why on Earth I’m writing a post on your freshers week survival kit. However, my slightly more unconventional start to university life meant that even though I didn’t get the traditional freshers experience, I still learned some pretty valuable lessons. So, as many of you embark on your first year of university, here’s a selection of the most important lessons that I learned.
1: Meet People Beforehand
Thanks to technology, we have the ability to get to know people before we even meet them in person. We should use that to our advantage. When I made my choices, doing it all through UCAS meant that you could chat to people who were on your course and start getting to know them. Of course, this was a good 9 years ago, so it didn’t go as far as having a Facebook group or anything, but by having that pointless small talk with the people who were on your course meant that you recognised a few faces on that first day. Saying this probably makes me seem old, but make use of social media in these situations. The chances of your chosen university and your course having a Facebook group or something is immensely high. Join it and introduce yourself, and by the time freshers’ week actually come around, it’ll be a lot easier to talk to people.
2: Take Care of Your Health
As someone with a severe fear of germs, freshers’ flu isn’t something I really want to think about too much. However, it’s a thing. Looking out for your health is one of the top tips for freshers week that you can do. Keeping healthy will mean that you can take part in those all important social events as well as making sure you attend all those first week lectures. Make sure that your freshers week survival kit contains essentials such as cold and flu medication, Dettol wipes, painkillers and re-hydration sachets. Being prepared for the typical freshers’ illnesses will ensure that you can get back on your feet quicker! Not only should you stock up on remedies for those typical freshers’ ailments, but make sure you get yourself a stash of other health essentials too. Stocking up on other essentials such as plasters, antiseptic cream, condoms, upset stomach medication will ensure that you’re prepared for every eventuality.
3: Don’t Go Crazy with the Booze
I’ll be honest, friends of mine will be reading this and thinking pot kettle black. However, this is a lesson I’m taking from my work Christmas party during my second year, and I think it can definitely be applied to freshers week too. First impressions are everything, and while during that first week of partying almost everyone will be drunk AF, no one wants to be that person who was kicked out of the student union because they were too hammered. Just know your limits, grab a glass of water every now and then, and take care of your new friends if they’re looking a bit worse for wear.
4: Talk to People
It sounds obvious, but if you’re as shy as me, this one is actually quite difficult. Believe it or not though, freshers week is actually one of those times where you should make the effort to talk to people. Say hello to that person you’re sat next to in your lecture, have a chat to the person next to you at the bus stop. My closest uni friendship was made through chatting to someone while we waited to go into a seminar every Friday. Make the effort to talk to people and you never know where it might lead.
5: Accept Invitations
One of the easiest ways to get to know people is to accept any invitations that come your way. It doesn’t have to be for a big night out either! If someone you meet invites you back to their halls for a cup of tea in between lectures, go for it! It’s a great way to get to know people in a different environment to the lecture hall.
6: Don’t Isolate Yourself
One of the main mistakes I made during freshers week was that I isolated myself. If anything, I shot myself in the foot by doing so. If you’re feeling a little homesick or a bit down in the dumps, it can be easy to shut yourself away in your room. While sometimes a little peace and quiet is great, you don’t want to get into the habit of doing it all the time. Try and sit in the communal areas of your halls or your flat every so often and get involved with the conversations. It can be hard, especially if you’re not very confident, but if anything, freshers week is the perfect time to put yourself out there! Remember, everyone is in the same boat!
7: Be Yourself
While it can be tempting during freshers week to ‘reinvent yourself,’ you don’t want to end up being like Oregon in Fresh Meat. It’s important to make a good impression of course, but do you really want to start off those 3 years pretending to be someone you’re not? It’s cliché, but there are plenty of people out there who will like you for you. Embrace those quirks!