When you read the words “Freshers’ Week” what comes to mind? Most likely, you’ll have an image of very drunk undergraduates staggering through town in your head. TopUniversities has a fairly accurate list of inevitable Freshers moments. While some of these will definitely happen, whatever university you choose, the first few weeks of your uni experience are about so much more than drinking up your student loan.
For me, Freshers’ was quite a daunting experience. At that time, I’d never drunk more than the occasional cider, let alone bounce like a pinball from club to club until dawn. So, when I was handed a timetable of “bar crawls” I had to suppress a shudder.
To anyone who might be thinking the same, do not panic! With the pressure of trying to make friends as quickly as possible, it can be tempting to tag along with everything that’s happening. While I would encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, do this within reason. After emerging unscathed from my own Freshers Week, I assure you it’s not all about the party!
First things first
When you arrive at university, the last thing you want to do is boring adult stuff. Sadly, this is where the boring adult stuff begins. Get yourself registered at a local doctors’ surgery, stock up your fridge and make sure your bank account is up and running. Trust me, in a few weeks’ time when the first assignments start to slowly but surely trickle in, you’ll be glad you were organised. Check out The Complete University Guide for some more Freshers tips.
Get to know your new home
A lot of students will have travelled a long way to university, and it can be a shock to find yourself in a strange new place. So, get out of bed and go exploring! Where are the best cafes and restaurants? Ask second and third year students for this; they’ll know what’s good and, importantly, what’s cheap. A lot of the best spots are tucked away and would never be found unless you know where to go. My favourite Italian place is a secret I’ve only shared with my closest friends, so see what secret gems you can uncover.
Discounts and free stuff
Here's a social experiment. Shout “free” in a room full of students and count how many heads turn. Everyone loves a discount, and every good Freshers will have pop-up shops full to bursting with 50% offs and 2-for-1s. A highlight of my first year were the “After Dark” shopping sessions, where the local shopping mall was open all evening solely for students, discounts aplenty. That’s your chance to get any forgotten stationary on the cheap, not to mention discounted clothes you don’t need but feel you should probably still get. – amusing little tone.
So, enjoy your Freshers’ but remember there’s so much more to do than go out drinking. Have a read of Studential’s Guide to Freshers for an idea on what to expect. Starting university is exciting, strange and sometimes nerve-wracking, but it’s also where you’ll make firm friends and study something you love, so make the most of it!
- By Rebecca Gibson