University is an experience like nothing else you’ll have done before. You suddenly move out, live with strangers, study a course where you’ve got to manage your own time, and you have access to adult money. It’s exciting, fun and a little bit scary, but most of all, it can be the best time of your life. To help you adjust to university, we’ve got a list of 10 essential things freshers should know.

1. It’s okay to not like your flatmates 

what to know as a fresher
Source: Bustle

When you move to university, you may well end up living with some people who you just cannot vibe with. One of the most important things to know as a fresher, is that this is okay. You don’t need to be best mates with everyone you live with, as long as you’re not actively at each other’s throats! Besides, it’s hard to like people when you live with them a lot of the time anyway, especially during freshers. So don’t bend over backwards or change your personality to try and fit in with people – it’s not worth it. Be yourself, and find friends who like that.

2. It’s normal to feel homesick 

essential things for freshers to know
Source: Study in the USA

Everyone talks about how university is amazing, and how it’s supposed to be the best time of your life. But it’s also okay if you feel a little bit homesick! You’ve moved away from home, your parents have gone back home, and that’s hard to adjust to! It’s important to let yourself feel your feelings, and if possible, talk to someone about them. Give your best friend or your mum and dad a call, tell them you miss them, and you’ll feel much better in the long run.

3. How to cook 

what to learn as a fresher
Source: The Times

There’s a stereotype that university students just live on instant noodles or pasta (and vodka, of course). This can be really bad for your physical and mental health, and it’s also just really dull! You don’t have to learn how to make filet mignon or sushi from scratch, but learning how to make your own pasta sauce, casseroles, rice dishes and stir-fries can really spice up your diet whilst you’re at university.

4. How to organise your own time 

what to know as a fresher
Source: Whatuni

One of the biggest things to adjust to at university is the responsibility when it comes to studying. You are in charge of yourself, so if you decide not to go to any lectures for a week, it’s on your back. Likewise, if you spend all of your time partying and then don’t understand the lectures because you’ve not done the reading, you’re going to struggle when it comes to assignment season.

It’s important to learn how to organise your time before you go to university, that way you’ll be able to make the most of your uni experience whilst still getting your work done.

5. It’s okay to say no 

One thing freshers should know that’ll help with organising your time is the ability to say no. University is largely all about saying yes to new experiences, but it is essential for you to know how to say no at the right times, too. If you’re full of fresher’s flu and get asked out to a club, saying no is probably the best idea! You might get a bit of FOMO, but sometimes you’ve got to look after yourself first.

6. How to budget 

budgeting as a fresher
Source: HuffPost

It’s tempting when you get that first instalment of maintenance loan to spend it all in one go. But in order to survive at university, it is crucial that you know how to budget as a fresher. You don’t need to know how to make or use fancy spreadsheets, but just keep an eye on your spending. Check how much money you have to last between now and your next SFE payment or paycheck, and divide it by the weeks left. That way you know what you have for food, fun and anything else you might need money for.

7. It’s okay to ask for help 

things to know as a fresher
Source: York College

If things get a bit too much, don’t suffer alone. Possibly the most important thing to know as a fresher is that it’s okay to ask for help. Nobody will think less of you if you reach out, and you might be able to get the help you need. So whether you need financial support, mental health aid, or an extension, speak to your family, friends or student support team and ask them what can be done. You’ll be surprised at how much assistance is available for freshers! Click here for some mental health resources. 

8. How to tell real friends from fake friends

things to know as a fresher
Source: Verywell Family

Another thing freshers should know is how to tell real friends from the fake ones; just like with your flatmates, it is not worth wasting time hanging around with people who aren’t actually there for you. If you realise that someone in your life is only ever interested in your company when it involves going on a night out, or attending flat parties, maybe it’s worth considering if they’re actually interested in being your friend. University is the perfect place to make new friends, but you don’t want to end up getting attached to someone who’s just going to disappear after freshers!

9. How to take notes 

essential things for freshers to know
Source: Learn English Teens

University is, ultimately, about learning. So one of the most important things for freshers to know is how to take notes. Lecturers can move through content pretty quickly, and you never know what is and isn’t going to be useful when it comes to your assignments. But trying to keep up when they’re storming through a 2-hour long presentation can be really hard if you don’t know how to take notes correctly! Check out the best note-taking apps here. 

10. How to cure a hangover 

freshers skills
Source: Insider

Arguably the most crucial thing for freshers to know is how to survive the morning after a wild night. Yep, that’s right – you need to know how to cure a hangover. Find a cure that works for you, whether that’s Berocca and a fry up or a cold shower and some plain toast. There are plenty of weird and wacky remedies out there, you’re bound to find one that solves your headaches, nausea and deep-seated regret.