Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Guide to Freshers: Tips & To Do's

Hey everyone! Lately, social media has been filled with posts about everyone starting uni soon and opening a new chapter of their lives. I always forget that uni's usually start so early in September, because my university started a little later than others. Our first term after Summer began at the beginning of October, due to the agricultural calendar or something like that (I went to an agricultural campus!). As my uni's academic year started at the end in October, our Freshers Week didn't happen until the last week of September, but thanks to social media I know that it's time to start the new series of posts I'd planned all about the fun but daunting experience that is, starting university! 

As you've probably worked out from the title, this post is all about Fresher's Week. I'm going to share with you all some tips that myself and my friends have come up with to help you make the most of your first week. I hope all you new students find this useful and that it helps you feel a little more prepared. Enjoy! 

Guide to Freshers Week

Fresher's Week is basically a welcome week to help you get settled into uni life before the official start of the academic year and your lectures. 'Fresher' is literally the UK term for Freshman, a term I'm sure most of us are familar with because of all of the American movies we grew up watching. It's a time for first-time students to make friends and to see what their new place of study has to offer. During this week, students will learn all about the extra curricular activities they can get involved with at the university, whilst also having time to get accustomed to campus life and living in halls.

I lived on campus for all three years of my degree as I wanted to be near the classrooms (due to my physical and mental health conditions) and I liked living in a student community, so most of my fresher's advice will be based around how to make the most of moving into your accomodation, etc. Here are my tips and to do's for Fresher's Week...

Guide to University Freshers Week
I'm so glad that I kept all of the leaflets and flyers that I got during my Fresher's Week back in 2012 :) I'm a leaflet hoarder basically!
(1) Whilst you are unpacking and organising your new bedroom, it's a good idea to leave your bedroom door open. This way, your flatmates can walk by and say hi to you. It lets them know that you are being friendly and want them to start chatting. I moved in a day earlier than the rest of my flatmates and by leaving my bedroom door open, everyone (& their parents) came to introduce themselves to me. My friend told me to leave my door open, because he had when he started uni, and it was a great piece of advice!

(2) Bring something to share with your flatmates. It's a good way to start conversation when you are all hanging out in the kitchen/living room after your families have gone home. Whether it's alcohol or some yummy baked goodies, it's a nice gesture and makes the nervous atmosphere a little less awkward, haha. 

(3) If there's a common room in your accomodation building, be sure to suggest to your flatmates that you should all go there and check it out. If you're comfortable, you could even go on your own. You may meet some new friends there and even someone from your course, which is helpful because you then have someone to sit with when lectures start!

(4) Go to the Fresher's Fair - most universities have one. There, you'll be able to learn about all the sports groups and societies at your university. Most of them have a social meet-up planned for new students where you can go to learn more about the club itself and meet people who have the same interests as you. At the Fresher's fair, you may even get some freebies and who doesn't love freebies!? :) At my uni, they were giving away some of the cutlery and crockery collected when people moved out of their flats and left them behind. So if you'd forgotten to bring something, you could get it there. I thought that this was an awesome idea, but I don't know if other uni's do that too.

(5) Make sure to join in with at least one of the Fresher's events. Even if you don't like to drink, you can still get involved, I meet loads of people at Fresher's events that didn't drink alcohol! If you really don't like nights out though, your uni should have some events on during the day. Nottingham Trent University (where I studied) had day trips to a museum, a trip to the cinema and much more. Immerse yourself in the Fresher's Week activities so that you make friends :) 

(6) My friend gave me this tip & I think it's a fantastic one. It can be difficult to want to cook meals, especially if you are recovering from all of the night's out, but try to eat some proper food during Fresher's Week. It's fun to cook with your flatmates and make a big meal to share, too. My flatmates did this, although I didn't join in because I'm a ridiculously fussy eater haha.

Raiin Monkey
This is a page from my university scrapbook :)
(7) If you do go on night's out in Fresher's Week, remember to stay safe! Go out in groups and stick together, don't be walking home alone and be sure to watch your drinks. Make sure before you go out that you have a number for a local reliable taxi service. Your universities Student Union should to be able to give you some taxi numbers if you ask a Fresher's Rep. Speaking of Reps, they are there to help you so don't be afraid to ask them any questions you have :) At my uni, we had a taxi number on our wristbands, and the Student Union had a deal with them so we got a reduced fare.

(8) Facebook was a big help to me before I started uni and also during Fresher's Week. You can search for freshers groups and just general pages for your uni, so that you can get chatting to other newbies, and make friends with people from your course. It makes events on your campus much less stressful if you know a few people, and you might also get invites to some flat parties.

(9) Another of my awesome friends reminded me of something for this list (thankyou!). Be prepared for the Fresher's events and take things to help you join in with the partying. This includes drinks, drinking games, fancy dress items, and I'd suggest bringing face paint too because it really comes in handy. Some universities provide you with information on the events before you arrive on campus, or you can usually find out on your Student Union's website. Take stuff you'll need for the themed events! My uni had an army event, a beach-themed event, etc. 

(10) Step out of your comfort zone. It can be so scary to do this but it's really good if you can do it! I went to so many events just to bond with my flatmates and experience new things, such as a sport event and I hate sports! I also don't really like going to pubs either, but I went on a pub crawl and it was actually pretty fun. I'm glad that I challenged my anxiety and went to these events, because I met people who would be my friends throughout uni. It's worth trying out new things, because you might surprise yourself and have a fabulous time.

(11) The final piece of advice I wanna share with you all is to make sure you practice safe sex! As most students will tell you, uni is full of sex and this is very much the case in Fresher's Week! Lots of students end up spending the night with another of their fellow students, and there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone is there to have fun and if you wanna have fun that way ;) then don't let anyone make you feel like you're doing something wrong. Just make sure you are safe, tell at least one of your friends and/or flatmates where you are, and make sure you are prepared. Basically, bring protection with you :) 

Thankyou for reading!

Have you found these tips & to do's helpful? 
If you have anymore advice for new students, please share them in the comments :) 

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  1. I wish my welcome week (thingy) sounded like yours did, haha! I hated mine, I have so many regrets, and none of them are from not going to events. Nor, even, questionable decisions... We had a scavenger hunt around campus (to help us know the area) and it made me more confused, haha. Oh well. I think my best advice, though, would be something along the lines of 'Don't worry if you don't make good friends'. Just because sometimes you get lumped in with people, or just happen upon someone. You might not necessarily vibe with that person, and that's okay! You will likely make friends another way, like in your courses, who you might fit better with. You can still be friendly with your welcome week pals, but if you don't come BFFs, it's 100% okay. (And they'll find other friends, too).

    Erin | Explore, Refresh

    1. That's such a shame that you hated hour welcome week! Hahaha oops! The scavenger hunt wasn't very planned out then! Campus are so hard to navigate when you first get there; they seem even more massive because you're not used to the place yet! I got lost on my first few trips around campus :D

      Thankyou, that's a great piece of advice! You definitely meet a lot of people at uni who you don't necessarily vibe with or share many similar interests, but they are great company when you don't know anyone yet and you are still settling into campus x

  2. This is such a great student post! Your freshers week sounded amazing! Ours was only drinking events and freshers fair, nothing for people who didn't want to drink :/ luckily I was happy drinking lol, but I'm sure lots of people would have preferred a cinema or museum trip! xo

    Amber Love Blog


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