Starting university is a monumental step in anyone’s life, and Freshers’ Week is the rite of passage that kicks it all off. New students, or “freshers”, can find themselves feeling like a rabbit caught in headlights. But that’s what Freshers’ Week is all about – getting to know other new students, the university, student life…and just having the best week ever. So if you’re curious, excited, or even nervous, we’re here to make sure you know what happens at Freshers’ Week so you can start feeling prepared.

1. Settling into your new home

Meet your housemates

You’ll get the chance to meet the people you’ll be sharing your living space with for the next year. These are people you’ll probably spend quite a bit of time with, organising house parties, getting late-night takeaways, and generally learning how to get over a hangover together! It can feel a little bit intimidating at first, but don’t be afraid to strike up a chat as they’re probably feeling the same.

Explore the campus

The vast and sprawling campus will be a labyrinth initially. But, as you wander, you’ll start to find your way, as well as all the spots to study, grab a coffee and the quickest routes to your lecture halls. Remember, it’s okay to ask for directions too. You can even get a campus tour if you’re worried about getting lost (see below).

2. Social events (parties mainly)

what happens at freshers' week is usually lots of themed parties
Source: UCAS

The Fresher’s fair

Fresher’s Fairs are of like bazaars selling university life. Think of this as an explosion of all things student life. Clubs will woo you and societies will intrigue you – oh and there’s a whole load of freebies to stock up on usually. It’s an excellent opportunity to sign up for what interests you and bag some student discounts.

Themed nights and pub crawls

If dancing the night away or dressing up is your thing, the student union will have a line-up of themed nights and pub crawls. From 80’s disco nights to international food evenings, the social calendar is jam-packed. If you’re stuck on costume ideas – we’ve got some great fancy dress ideas to get you started too . It’s also usually cheap, with lots of drink offers and free entry to club nights and parties.

3. Induction and getting to know the university

university campus tour

Course introductions

While Freshers’ Week is mostly about fun, there’s also a sneak peek into your academic life. Lectures introduce the course, giving you a bit of a glimpse into what’s to come. Remember to note down important dates! You’ll probably also hear a lot about seminars too, but if you’re unsure about what they’re talking about – we’ve got a guide to knowing the difference between lectures and seminar.

Campus tours

The campus can be an intimidating place, but fear not! Most universities offer tours to help you navigate the maze of halls and rooms and departments and common areas. You’ll also probably visit the library, which is where you might be the place you’ll spend many a late night, so best get acquainted.

4. Health and well-being

mental health support during freshers' week

Registering with healthcare providers

No one plans to fall ill, but it’s best to be prepared. Registering with a local GP ensures you have medical support should you need it. Some unis even have health fairs during Freshers’ Week to help with this. You might need to find a local doctor if you’ve moved cities to study, so here’s everything you need to know on how to change your doctors to a local one while living at uni.

Mental health and support services

Transitioning to university can have its ups and downs. Universities are equipped with counselling services and mental health resources to ensure students have the necessary support. It’s crucial to be aware of these. If you do feel stressed, anxious or worried during Freshers’ Week (and beyond), Young Minds have a great article on tackling this.

How to making the most of Freshers’ Week

make the most of freshers' week

Balance fun and rest

While it’s tempting to attend every social event, it can also be a good idea to get downtime if you feel you need it. Buy your books, organise your room, and perhaps even indulge in a quiet night in. Yeh…unlikely but at least we’ve said it!

Join clubs and societies

This is the golden chance to dabble in something new. Whether it’s quidditch, debate club, or wine tasting, there’s a club for almost every passion. You’ll not only learn a new skill but also meet people who share your interests. Here are some tips on how to join a society, as well as how to find the best university society for you.

Embrace the experience

Freshers’ Week is unique and only happens once. Well it doesn’t actually because each year you’re at university you can enjoy what freshers offers. But it’s mainly aimed at new students and just having a blow out week before the studying begins. So embrace the experience, have fun, and know that it’s just the beginning of life at university.

Also don’t feel pressured to go to any events you don’t want to. While it’s all about trying new things and having new experiences, do what makes you feel excited and comfortable.

So if you’re wondering what happens at the non-stop party whirlwind that is Freshers’ Week – it’s kind of a bit everything! It’s a mix of fun, learning, exploration, and of course chaos.