It’s the last post in my Freshers advice week! I hope that these posts have served to help some of you in some way; I’m sure I’ll think of other topics later on in the year and end up covering them at some point!
I was totally stuck on subjects for my final day. I’ve tried to address topics that I personally would have found helpful when heading into my first year, and so I really thought way back to the start for this one. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, only one of my friends had gone off to university before me. With no older siblings or friends to lead the way, the concept of Freshers Week totally confused me. People really went out every night? What would happen if you weren’t into drinking? I was a month off of turning 18 when I moved away, so I couldn’t get into any clubs or bars to attend the events that were being held. Other friends had older brothers and sisters who allowed them to borrow their ID to get in, and so I worried that I would be the one to be left out. I’ve since seen a number of this year’s Freshers worrying about the same things, and so I’ve compiled a little list of things I learned back then.
1. You don’t need to drink to take part
I soon learned that I was somehow able to handle my drink well, despite having never really experienced drinking socially before starting uni. But I was still underage nonetheless, and so I had no way of entry to any of the big DJ sets or club nights organised for the week. For those who were underage, or simply had no interest in such events, our university organised bowling nights and “icebreakers” to ensure they still gained from the social aspects of Freshers Week. So many people were quick to turn down the idea of attending because it wasn’t the “cool” option – as opposed to doing Jägerbombs to the sound of Cascada – but events like this not only allow you to meet new and fellow students; they will also most likely be in a similar situation to you, and so you’ll already have something in common. Plus, bowling can totally be more fun than clubbing at times!
2. Get to know who’s around in student halls
I soon learned that there was plenty other soon-to-be-18-year-olds kicking around in my student accommodation, and we all felt a bit stuck on what to do after pre-drinks when all the grown up 18+ students headed out for the night. Eventually, one flat decided to hold a flat party and invited us all up, and then the following night, another did the same. As the week went on, there was a little gathering of us who knew automatically who would be up for attending. Getting to know those around you allows you to become involved in groups that you’ll be living with for the next year. Always helps to have someone you recognise close by!
3. Try out a sports team or society
This was something I actually didn’t do, and have regretted since. It was advice given to us all, and yet I was put off the idea due to the fact that none of my friends were willing to join anything with me – I know, it totally defeats the point. I’ve recently joined our university magazine, and it’s something I wish I’d done three years ago when I originally wanted to. Doing something you enjoy with a group of people with similar interests is not only a fun pastime, but it also allows you to make new friends and meet people you might not have otherwise. Freshers fayres are great for exploring your options and having a chat with the groups before signing up. If there’s something that takes your fancy, one attendance or try-out session won’t hurt!
4. Look after yourself!
My mum made sure that my brother and I took our multivitamins every day when we lived at home; while I can’t say that they definitely worked, I did try to keep it up and ensure that my immune system was okay before the dreaded “Freshers flu” started getting passed around. Additionally, while it’s exciting to do your own food shopping and cooking, it’s important to remember to keep a balanced diet and include nutrients as well as all the fun stuff you were banned from as a child – especially as you will be heading into a stressful environment. I knew a few fallen soldiers who finished Freshers Week in bed with a hot water bottle and a Lemsip – not fun. And remember to take it easy when drinking; having a pint of water before bed was my go-to for lesser hangovers. It meant I could stomach the thought of doing it all again the following night!
5. Don’t worry too much about studying
Obviously, worry about your studying any other time! But don’t let it be an excuse for missing all the events taking place throughout the week; proper work rarely begins at this stage of the semester, and things are only going to get tougher as the year goes on – whether you’re organised or not. You’re much better off giving yourself some time to take it easy and socialise before getting your head down and working hard for the rest of the time!