Freshers’ week was the longest week of my life and by the end it didn’t feel like I had only known my house mates for a week. I am a generally outgoing person, however, don’t be fooled by the people who don’t seem like they’re nervous, because everyone is. Everyone is in the same boat and everyone will be anxious about making friends, enjoying their course and fitting in.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my freshers’ week but I was very broken by the end of it, however, please do not fret if you are not enjoying yourself. There is so much pressure to have an amazing week that often it does not exceed expectations. Although it is important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, please, do not do anything you are really not comfortable with. I have put together a few tips for freshers week which I think will come in handy.
This is something I actually did, I got it done as soon as I got there and I was super grateful I did. My room didn't look exactly how I wanted it to straight away, but my bed was made, my clothes were away and the floor was clear. For someone who is quite shy it is understandable that unpacking could be used as an excuse to not go out and socialise, but if you get it out of the way then you can’t use this excuse! By having your room all set up, it means you have somewhere nice to come back to after the first night out, and potentially your first night away from home.
Prop your door open whilst you are unpacking - this is a good way for people in your halls to know you are open for a chat and you don’t have to awkwardly walk away at the end, you can just continue with your packing. Even if you are naturally shy, try and have a conversation with people - have a few set questions you can ask and let them do the talking.
Budget for the Week
So many students will be living away from home for the first time, and it is very tempting to splash your cash early on - especially if your maintenance loan comes in by the time freshers’ week has started. This being said, your maintenance loan might not come through straight away, so it is worth having a little bit of money saved up before you go to uni which you can use until your loan comes in. You don’t want to be left short, or in your overdraft within the first week. Don’t forget you’ve got the whole rest of the term to budget for as well!
I ended up spending a lot of money during freshers’ week, and I discovered how easy it was to spend in bars and clubs using contactless payment. From freshers’ week until now, I only take cash out, I’ve disabled Apple Pay on my phone and I leave my card at home - this is the best way for me to control my spending when I am drunk and is something I would seriously recommend to you all. Make sure your sober self is taking control over your drunk self.
It might be worth setting up a mini freshers’ week budget, so you can work out how much you will be spending throughout the week. Don’t forget to include one off costs such as freshers’ week wristbands or event tickets.
Be Open Minded
Personally, I was so surprised by the calibre of people I met at uni and how different they were from my friends at home, from school. It is likely that people are going to be very different from what you are used to, but that’s a good thing - uni is such a good way to meet people from all walks of life. Try something new when you get to uni, such as a new society or sport. This is a really good way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and to meet new and interesting people.
Firstly, do not feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to. There are plenty of non-drinking events going on throughout the week that you can join in with. Also, just because you don’t drink, it doesn't mean you can’t go out with the rest of the drinkers.
If you are drinking make sure you are always keeping an eye on your drink and you don’t leave it unattended. If you are not used to drinking (and even if you are for that matter), take it slow and don’t give it to peer pressure. You don’t want to get super drunk, make a fool of yourself and wake up the next morning with beer fear. My first night of freshers’ week I got so drunk I don’t remember anything and I had to get escorted to bed - not the best way to start off the week.
This might sound like a weird one, but during my freshers’ week I completely lost my appetite, I could barely eat. I think it was partly because I was so anxious and also because I was drinking so much, and I always find it hard to eat after I have had a heavy night (probably because I am consuming my daily calorie intake in liquid). Each day I tried to force myself to eat and it was a struggle but one thing saved me. On the first day I was in my accommodation I made a massive batch of pasta, chicken and veg in a tomato sauce. As I was eating so little this lasted me the whole week, but also saved me from complete malnutrition.
I would definitely recommend cooking a simple batch meal at the start of the week, because during freshers’ week the last thing you will want to do is to cook every night. Additionally, because the food was already cooked, all I had to do was heat it up in the microwave, which made my meal times super quick and easy.
Make sure you go! This is a great opportunity to see all the wonderful and wacky societies your university has on offer. Societies are a great way to meet other people from outside your accommodation and course, and often do a themed night out each week. However, don’t bother signing up for societies you know you won’t actually join because your inbox will become flooded with their emails.
Being a part of a society is also very beneficial for your CV and is something you can talk about in interviews. This may seem a while off for you now, but it will come around quickly.
I hope you have a really good and successful freshers week and make the most of it. After the week is over, dont stop making conversations with random people you meet, you will continue to make friends throughout your time at uni. It is probable that you will feel a bit broken over freshers week, so my best advice is to plan in advance to make life as easy for yourself as possible.