Starting Uni can be really daunting and scary but also really exciting, you might want to throw yourself into everything or you might want to find your own space in this new environment. Everybody’s experiences of these strange and disarming times are different but here are a few tips I picked up from my own freshers week (getting very drunk with people I barely knew) and last years freshers week when I worked behind the bar at the student union (very sober watching the terrifying antics).
- Those freshers helpers who seem so much older, more mature and independent, who flatter you with their smiles and helpful advice, probably have a bet on who can sleep with the most freshers. Yes they’re not all like that but freshers week is generally seen as a time to have lots of casual sex, especially for older students who might have forgotten how bewildering it can be for someone who has just moved away from home for the first time. Of course this attitude can mean lots of fun but its worth being aware that this whole experience may be the most exciting thing to happen to you yet but for them it does not have the same magnitude. So go have fun if that’s what you want but as always be safe, keep yourself protected and be aware of the situation from all perspectives.
- If you don’t want to drink or go to loud club night events or gigs that’s fine! There will be people exactly like you, but they are likely to be harder to find so try and make the effort to go to some of the day time events too and hunt them out. Freshers week is really great for making friends, especially with the people you’re living with so even just hanging out with other people in their rooms or communal areas can be a great idea.
- Even if you do plan on drinking and going out every night remember that the day time events can be just as good of an opportunity to meet new people, perhaps even more so- when classes start are you really going to find that one person you met at the bar also doing your subject in a lecture hall of 200+ people and if you do will you actually have that much in common?
- Don’t worry if you find that neither the night time events or the day time events are your cup of tea. You can find your own way of settling into uni and making friends, you don’t have to stick with the prescribed events that your uni thinks will help you if they are not helpful to you personally. However I personally would advise at least giving freshers week a chance because you never know what you might find.
- If you’re nervous about talking to new people freshers week is a great chance to push yourself, chances are you won’t see the same faces much (unless you are at a small university) so why not try talking to that girl who’s dress you’ve been admiring, it could be the start of a great friendship.
- Equally, don’t worry if you don’t meet anyone in freshers week who you feel an immediate affinity with! It is perfectly possible to find friends in lectures, societies or later on in the year who you become closer to than the people you met in freshers week.
- If uni is the first time you’ve really drank then try not to feel pressured to keep up with everyone else, as I said before the people you meet might not be your lifelong friends (especially if they try to pressurise you into drinking more) so don’t worry about impressing them.
- Homesickness will (probably) hit at some point. It may not be in freshers week if you’re busy with events and meeting new people, or it may be the second your parents leave. Either way moving away from home, even if your uni is in the same city as your home, can be scary and its ok to feel overwhelmed. It might sound corny but everyone is in the same position so reach out to the people around you if you feel like you can, if not maybe you can talk to friends from home who have also gone to uni and will understand the position you are in. Even your friends who have not gone to uni will be able to help you, so don’t be put off talking about how you feel.
- Freshers week is only a week, once uni starts things will likely be completely different so don’t let this week get to you too much, if you feel overwhelmed or isolated remember that it isn’t going to last forever.
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, take these tips with a pinch of salt! They are generalisations and your experiences could be completely different, as long as you keep your wits about you and stay safe you will have a great time and learn lots about yourself.
Leave some comments with your tips and advice if you’ve done freshers week before or if you’re going to uni soon and have any questions!