As ‘Welcome Week’ draws nearer, it is understandable for new students to feel nervous and unsure about starting university. With everything that has been going on over the last few months, now more than ever, we need to look out for each other and work together. Keep reading for a list of the top ten most important tips for starting university, getting through freshers and navigating this strange and interesting new virtual style of university.

Don’t be afraid to try out societies

Don’t be afraid to try out societies
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Joining and taking part in societies is not only a brilliant opportunity to meet new people, but also for many, becomes a defining feature of your university experience. There’s something for everyone; whether your thing is music, politics, sport, tech. Societies are sure to become your university family.

Go to events if you can, especially the fair

There are so many events which are going on during Freshers Week, lots of them really worthwhile attending. This year is a little different with so many events held online or through Zoom, but it is still important to go to those you are able. One of the best events available is the Fresher’s Fair, where you’re introduced to all the societies and can chat with them about how to get involved.

 Don’t worry about messing up

You’re new at this! The change to university brings many new challenges, and everyone is bound to slip up every now and again. Lecturers, tutors and peers all are far more understanding than you imagine they are and are all there to help you.

Hunt out bargains

Hunt out bargains
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The temptation to spend when student finance comes in can be great sometimes, but it is very important to be able to budget once you start university. Luckily, moving to Edinburgh gives you some of the best charity shops in the country as well as that, make sure to look out on platforms like Meadows Share for bargains and services like ‘Too Good To Go’ for the best deals.

Drink, or don’t!

Freshers week has become synonymous with hard partying and heavy drinking. If that is your thing, then great! There are people who are more than down to club till dawn and explore the pubs and bars of the city. If not, that’s great too! There are lots of events of all kinds where drinking isn’t the main point of interests. Try out tours of Edinburgh, cafe crawls or even a ceilidh!

 It’s okay to struggle

You’re only human, it’s absolutely fine to have a few down days when you start uni. The whole experience of starting at university, especially in a new city is nerve-wracking, and there are many others in the same boat. Everyone gets a little homesick from time to time and has days that aren’t so good. The good thing is that there are people and services out there to help, so remember that even on days when it feels hard, you aren’t alone.

Remember essentials

Remember essentials
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This isn’t just for packing! If you are studying away from home, make sure you set aside some time to register with the local GP. It isn’t exciting nor is it going to be the highlight of the week but you’ll thank yourself once freshers flu comes around.

Learn a couple of basic recipes

Unless you’re lucky enough to be living in catered halls, it’s likely you’re gonna have to cook for yourself at some point over the next year. Having a few recipes and tricks up your sleeve really will come in handy when you’re sick of dominos or can’t afford another Deliveroo. Pasta will most likely become your saviour, but there’s plenty of other cheap basics out there for you to try out. 

Remember – the clubs are further away than you may think.

Although Google Maps may say that The Liquid Room is only a 30 minute walk away from halls, mix that with your inebriated state and new heels and suddenly that 30 minute walk is now nearly an hour longer than expected and the line to get in is all the way down the street.

I suggest either getting a bus or taxi to your destination but if you want to spare the expense of using public transport, make sure you leave your accommodation earlier than you think you should.

And…trying to get a taxi is nearly impossible

There will no doubt be a 30 minute wait until a taxi could get to you. The idea of walking back to your accommodation is not even an option due to being in heels for hours and trying to figure out a bus timetable in an unfamiliar city when you can barely see your own hand in front of your face proves difficult.

To avoid this problem from happening, it’s definitely worth your while to either book a taxi prior to going out or to familiarise yourself with the timetable of the bus that will take you back to the accommodation but be aware that the bus that will be running is a night bus and is more expensive than the ones that run during the day so make sure you have the right change!

Make sure you know how the library works

You’re here first and foremost to study, and in order to study effectively, you’ll probably need to make use of the library. In Edinburgh, our library is huge-five floors huge. Though at times it feels a bit like a maze, with a little bit of guidance and practice you’ll be checking books out like a seasoned pro in no time.

 Getting your laptop insured

The vast majority of lectures this year are taking place online, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you keep your laptop safe. There are lots of cheap covers available, and though it may seem a little overly cautious, it’ll be worthwhile if you have a crash at 2 am the night before a deadline.

Prepare for the 3:30am Princes Street McDonald’s queue

We all know the feeling of hunger that comes upon you as soon as the cold, 3am Edinburgh air hits you while stumbling out of Why Not. Obviously, there is nothing better than a burger and chips or a happy meal to suppress your hunger. However, the drunken fast food-filled dreams are somewhat flattened as you reach the promised land only to find that every other clubber in Edinburgh has had the same idea as you.

This results in a 45 minute wait to get in the door while hysterically crying to your newfound friends because all you wanted was a chicken nugget-not attractive!



-DO always back up your work

-DON’T forget to ring home every so often

-DO make sure you’ve always got enough loo roll

-DON’T shop when you’re hungry

-DO unpack early

-DON’T skip lectures

-DO make use of all student services

-DON’T leave things to the last minute

-DO invest in a laptop which will last

Last Updated on July 10, 2024