Moving to university can be daunting. You’re suddenly leaving home, and usually, most of the people you know, to go and study somewhere you may have never even been to. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Freshers is, for a lot of people, one of the best times of their lives. So here are our top tips for freshers week to help you make sure that you make the most of it, and don’t end up with too many embarrassing freshers stories!
1. Avoiding Fresher’s flu
Even before university, everyone has heard of fresher’s flu. It seems like an inevitable evil, but it really isn’t. You can easily lessen the effects of fresher’s flu and potentially stop yourself from catching it. Considering the last year we’ve had, it will come as no surprise when we tell you that one way to look after yourself and protect your immune system is by washing your hands. Students are known for being, well, a little bit grim. So make sure you keep your hands clean to avoid any nasty surprises.
Secondly, make sure you eat reasonably well. Now we don’t mean you have to survive off of salads and fruit, nor do we mean you can’t enjoy a takeaway with your new flatmates. But try and get some fruit and veg into your diet, even if it’s in the form of an Innocent smoothie or some vitamin gummies. Students are stereotyped as only eating pot noodles for a reason, and it is easily done, but your immune system will fight off fresher’s flu a lot easier if you’ve been nice to it.
2. Unpack quickly
Once you get to university, it can be easy to get distracted by everyone else moving in and the events. But you really ought to unpack. The faster you unpack, the quicker you can go and enjoy everything else guilt-free. Plus, if you intend on going out a lot as a fresher, you’ll need to know where all the right outfits are.
The quicker you unpack also means you get a better pick of fridge shelves and kitchen cupboards. That may sound unimportant, but when you end up with one cupboard, and it’s the one under the sink, you’ll wish you’d listened.
3. Arrive early
Whilst you might have a long journey ahead of you, and you don’t really want to get up super early, it is best to arrive at the university as early as you can. This gives you a chance to make more friends, get a more solid understanding of the campus, and not stress about trying to unpack everything before your parents head off.
Ideally, you want to get there just before your flatmates so that you can scope out the place, pick the best cupboards, etc. Not only does this mean you’ve got the best of the lot, but when your flatmates inevitably can’t find something, you can lend a helping hand and get in their good books. Making friends is easy when you show them where the loo is!
4. Take the essentials
When you get to university, you are likely going to want some of your things straight away. It’s the same as moving anywhere; you should always have an ‘essentials’ bag. This should include:
- toilet roll
- phone charger
- bottled water
- coffee or tea
Most of these are self-explanatory, but just in case you’re not sure what we’re on about, we’ll explain the meaning behind the madness. First of all, you and your parents or whoever has helped you down have just travelled across the country – one of you is bound to need the loo. You’re also likely to have spent a lot of that journey on your phone, and you want to be able to use it throughout the day to add new friends on Snapchat, so a phone charger is a must. Bottles of water come in handy when you’re moving everything around and haven’t found the box of kitchen stuff yet – likewise, the coffee and tea. And of course, whilst it’s September, British weather is forever unreliable, so a jumper and a brolly are there to keep you dry and warm on your many trips to and from the car.
5. Budget, budget and budget some more
Another student stereotype is that all students are broke all of the time. Now, this is true for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to make your student loan last until April, then you’re going to have to budget. You’re also going to have to make smart decisions. Like, for example, borrowing that £80 textbook from the library rather than buying it and not using your student discount to buy every sale item on ASOS.
This is best to do before uni or soon after you’ve got there, to try and help you not overspend during Fresher’s week. Put aside the money you can afford to spend that week, and then don’t touch the rest. That way, you’re less likely to reach Week 3 with 3 pence left in your account!
6. Don’t forget it’s not all about the clubs
Fresher’s week comes with a hefty reputation, but our top tip for freshers week is to remember that it isn’t just about getting absolutely hammered! A lot is going on, including Fresher’s fairs, introductory seminars and lectures, inductions, the society meets and, of course, club nights. So try and split your time across everything. Make the most of the lack of reading you have whilst it lasts, and enjoy yourself.
7. You cannot go to everything
There will always be that one student in each friendship group who is determined to go to every. Single. Event. But we’re here to tell you, as students who have tried – it’s not feasible. You’ll end up either missing whole days sleeping off your hangover or spending all of your student loan in the space of 7 days. Now, that’s not to say you can’t go to lots of things, you could easily go to 4 or 5 nights, the freshers fair, some society meetups and a student event, but if you try and completely book yourself up with every club night, fair, event and social, you’re going to exhaust yourself (and your bank account)!
8. All hail the student discount
One of the best things about being a student is undoubtedly the student discount. During Fresher’s week, companies often hike up the percentage, so make the most of it whilst you can. Check out all of the places that provide student discounts online, and see if there’s anywhere that has anything you need. Likewise, when checking out your new home’s city centre, be sure to ask every shop if they do a student discount. A lot of student cities do, but it isn’t always advertised!
Every penny helps at university, so whilst 10% off here and 5% off there may not seem like a lot, it all adds up. That could be the difference between you being able to afford to visit home or have a night out!
9. Make sure you take some fancy dress
You will have to go to a fancy dress night at some point in your first year at university, and often there’s at least one in Fresher’s week. Usually, these are zoo themed nights or something along those lines, and they’re a great time. But, of course, it does mean that you need to own something you can use as fancy dress. So before you go to university, we’d recommend checking what events are going on and ordering something to take with you, or, making a stop at the fancy dress shop one of your first trips at university.
10. Find a hangover cure that works for you
Inevitably, you’re going to get hungover during Fresher’s week. It’s no surprise, you’ll know it’s coming, but that won’t make it any easier. If you know you’re likely to get hangovers a lot (either if you’re very susceptible to them, or you’re just a really heavy drinker) then make sure you figure out a hangover cure that works for you before (and that’s important) you go to university.
Once there, you won’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. Especially during freshers. You’ll be too booked to lay in bed with a coffee and lots of ibuprofen, so figure out a quick fix before you get there. A lot of people swear by a cold shower and a fry up, a banana, a lemsip and a berocca – whatever it is, no matter how weird, find something to make the morning after the night before that little bit more bareable.
11. Start looking for work
If you know you’re going to want to work whilst at university, then freshers week is when to start looking. Most people will be leaving it until later, so you’re less likely to have lots of competition for each job you apply to. Use the library to print off some CVs, and head around town. If you’re somewhere with a lot of independent shops, then those are the places most likely to take a CV, otherwise sign up for websites like Indeed and get job hunting!
12. Utilise mum and dad
If your parents have driven you to university, you really need to make the most of them and their car. Any student will tell you that trying to get a full food shop back to halls can be a literal nightmare. So persuade your parents to come food shopping with you. It may mean you have to buy a few healthier thing than usual, but it’ll be worth it for the ease of not having to lug it all on a bus.
13. Make sure you buy the right stuff
When you do go on your first food shop, whether it is with parents or without, be sure to get the right things. We know that sounds stupid, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to go wrong. Check out the laundry situation before you go, and get what you know will work best (i.e if you’ve got huge washing machines, buy a pack of tablets rather than liquid, as they’ll get used up slower). See how much freezer space you’ve got, and how many cans of beans you can fit in your cupboard. Better safe than sorry – otherwise your room is going to have to be bean central.
14. Take photos of your accommodation
When you get to your new home, before you so much as even put the first box down, take photos. Of every corner, crevice and mark. You want to make sure you keep these photos for when it comes to moving out, so that you can use them to argue against any deductions from your deposit that the landlord or agency may try to make.
Obviously if you do make a mark or damage the property, these photos won’t help you there, but just… try not to do that.
15. Don’t throw away your moving boxes
If you’ve used cardboard boxes to move your stuff, do not through them away. We repeat: DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY. Whilst a year seems like a long time, moving out of halls will actually come around super fast, and suddenly you’ll need to pack up all your stuff again. This is stressful at the best of times, but it’s even harder if you’ve not got anything to use to pack your stuff into. The last thing you want is to have to pay for new cardboard boxes or trapse around town asking every shop for their spares. Just keep them. Slide them under the bed, forget about them, and thank us later.
16. Try not to stress
This seems like an easy point, right? Wrong. With your parents there, new people, thousands of people moving in, unpacking to do and shopping to get, moving day can be hard. But the key thing is to remember that by the evening, it’ll all calm down and you get to start a new chapter of your life with people who are all in the same boat as you. It’s also good to remember that whilst your parents may be cramping your style or getting in the way, they’re there to help, and they’re going to miss you – so try and be nice, even if it feels weird.
17. Don’t ignore the non-drinking events
You’ll likely get a calendar or something through with all of the events happening ran by the SU and other parties. A lot of these will be club nights, and some of them will be other fun events. Don’t just dismiss any of the other events because they don’t involve booze.
University is the time to try new things, and that includes going to odd things like the murder mystery night at the SU cafe, or the puzzle evening at the local cafe. Give things a go – you never know who you might meet!
18. Join societies
If you’re worrying about trying to make friends at university, one of the fastest ways to do so is to join societies. There’s bound to be one that you’d enjoy, whether that’s RPG, ballet, cheerleading, bookclub, feminism or quidditch, societies cover a lot of ground, and they usually have regular nights out and events for you to attend. Its the most efficient way to fill out your social calendar.
19. Sign up for a GP
This is one of the boring tips for freshers week, sorry in advance! But you really ought to register with a GP during freshers week. Especially with the world the way it is at the moment, making accessing healthcare easier for you should definitely be a priority. Your SU or university will often have a recommended GP that is good with student enquiries and local to the campus, but you can register with any that you’re in the catchment area for, really.
Make sure you register quickly, otherwise when freshers flu hits and your hypochondria takes over, you’ll have nobody there to convince you it isn’t the end, and that you will pull through.
20. Figure out the library
At some point across freshers, it would be worth your time to take a trip to your campus library. You don’t have to stay there long, but just get an idea of whereabouts your books are, where the printers are, the opening times, how to get in, etc. A lot of students don’t breach the library doors until they’re 5 minutes off a deadline and desperate for a certain book – don’t let that be you.