Whether your Freshers’ Week has been and gone or it is coming up, here are six tips that will help you survive possibly the best week of your university journey.
1. Don’t forget about eating properly
I’m sure you have all heard about the dreaded freshers’ flu that plagues many students who participate in Freshers’ Week, but a way to avoid becoming a victim is to keep your vitamins up and maintain a healthy (or healthy-ish) diet. If you’re new to the whole cooking situation try and get someone at home to teach you at least five recipes before you leave so you’re not completely in the dark. Eating well will really make a difference to how severely you catch the dreaded freshers’ flu.
2. Make use of the Freshers’ Fair
Most universities will have a Freshers’ Fair on during Welcome Week, which is not something to miss. At the fair, you’ll receive loads of vouchers, a lot of free food (hello free Domino's) and lots of important information. All of the sports groups and societies at your university are often at the Freshers’ Fair so it’s a good place to sign up for any extracurricular activities.
3. Be sociable
Starting university can be a scary place at the best of times especially when you don’t know anyone, so make an extra effort to interact with others so it seems like less of a lonely place. Everyone is in the same boat when you start, so don’t feel intimidated; everyone is probably just as nervous as you! Keep your door open when you’re in your room so others will see you when they walk past and hopefully this will prompt a conversation.
4. Have a night in
Okay, so most Freshers’ events revolve around nights out, which are great, but you also don’t really get to know anyone (ignoring any facts or info divulged by anyone in the obligatory pre-drinks game – ring of fire) so give a night out a miss one evening and opt for a night in instead. Have a movie night or go bowling — you’ll actually be able to hear what other people are saying and it will give your body (and mind) a rest from a ‘typical’ Freshers’ night out.
5. Get to know the city/campus
During Freshers’ Week, you’ll probably have a bit of free time on your hands so use it wisely. Use your spare time to familiarise yourself with where all your lectures/seminars are and get to know the area a bit better (after all it is your home for the next three years). Find out where your subject books are kept in the library and scout out the best places for food/coffee on campus. Trust me, it will make life a lot easier once you start to get busy.
6. Use the services provided to you by the university
There is a multitude of services offered to students through the university, and Freshers’ Week is a good time to make use of them. The careers service can help you write up a CV and find work experience or work shadowing placements. While the student welfare service offers guidance and information to students who are in need of support. So, if you’re struggling with homesickness, financial difficulties, a disability or any mental health struggles, student welfare will be on hand to help you out.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to survive Freshers’ Week (and avoid fresher’s flu, hopefully). Freshers’ Week is about having fun and settling into your new environment. Make the most of it and enjoy yourself!
Eileanor is about to begin her third year studying English Language at the University of Chester.
Note: 'Student Blog' pieces highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.