The drinking culture at university can be intense, especially if this is something you are not that into. Freshers' Week can be quite intimidating: you have left home (perhaps for the first time), are thrown in with a group of diverse people and are about to live with complete strangers for a year. You'll also be going on nights out in a city that you may have never visited before. This thought will either send some nerves through your system or make you feel more excited! Here is some information about what to expect during Freshers' Week.
What to expect
Typically, you can expect going out with your new flatmates to your local newsagent to get some cheap booze (the clubs can be expensive for drinks!) and heading back to awkwardly play drinking games until everyone is drunk enough to consider anyone as their best friend. You may find the opposite if you have a shy flatmate who may not want to participate ,so try to include them in a non-pressuring way.
You will then probably spend the night partying at a club, losing your new friends and re-finding them, then making new buddies with other people from your university! Lots of selfies will be taken and then after going to some of the Freshers' events, the night will end with you eating at some fast food place.
Here are some of the myths that I found out to be false:
The clubs at university are the best! (They are just like any other club);
You cannot meet people if you do not drink (There are loads of ways to socialise);
Freshers is the best week and you cannot miss it (There are many other fun things to do at university).
Other ways to socialise
As someone who was not the biggest fan of Freshers' Week, I found that despite the pressures around drinking at university, I have made more authentic friendships through other ways of socialising. If drinking and clubs are not your thing then you will find people more like you through the activities that you enjoy.
Societies are a great way to meet friends, mainly due to the fact all of the people in a particular society share the same interest as you in that one thing. Societies are student-run and the Chair or events leader will usually arrange days out and fun evenings for you to mingle with other members of the society.
If drinking is not your thing then inviting your flatmates or people from your course over for a movie night is fun! What I know a few people did was introduce their new friends to a TV show, so they can watch it together and have multiple 'staying in' nights. Comedy or horror shows are the best because you get to interact with the people you are watching it with!
Exploring your new area
A lot of people move away to study at university and if you are one of these people, inviting flatmates or course buddies on an adventure around the town, exploring cafés and discovering unique places in an area you have never been in before, is a bundle of laughs! It is my favourite way to get to know the people you will be spending a lot of time with. You also come across some cool places!
When things begin to get busy at university and you have no time to do the things above, arranging to study in the library with people around you is a great way to bond. It can relieve stress too as you have people around you to help laugh things off when it gets tough. You are also getting some work done too!
You can feel quite pressured by the 'drinking culture' while at university, but what is important to remember is that you do not do it unless you want to, and there are many other ways to meet new friends. Freshers' Week is not all it is cracked up to be! But that is just me. However, if you are someone who enjoys the clubbing scene then there are so many events that you can dive into.
Amy is in her third year at Salford University. She studies TV and Radio and has a YouTube channel where she vlogs her day to day life.
Note: 'Student Blog' pieces highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED measures. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.