For some, Freshers’ Week has been and gone already this year but I’ve seen loads of people on Twitter starting to get excited/nervous about going off to uni so I thought this would be a perfect topic for this new series on my blog.
Firstly, expect to be nervous, excited, exhausted, energised, daunted and in a bit of a daze all at the same time. Particularly if you’ve never lived away from home before Freshers’ Week is a baptism of fire but could be the best week of your life. During my own Freshers’ I was too homesick to enjoy myself (we’ll come onto that) but I still made some great friends who I’m still in touch with to this day. No matter how this week goes you will meet people who you’ll know through university and beyond.
Going to uni for the first time is a big step to adulthood and independence for many people so of course it’s scary. Remember that most people there are in the same boat as you. Expect to meet people who seem to be overly friendly, they’ve probably read a post like this that’s told them to talk to as many people as possible. Also expect to add a lot of people on Facebook and get a lot of phone numbers from people you will never speak to again. Just go with the flow (within reason and keeping yourself safe) because you never know who will turn out to be your new BFF.
Expect peer pressure but don’t feel like you have to give into it. Most universities offer a wide range of non-drinking Freshers’ events but like you see in the movies, for many, this is a week long piss up. If that’s your thing then that’s great (drink responsibly etc) but if that’s not your cup of tea, it’s OK to seek out the more sedate activities. You’ll meet like minded people and these events can be a lot of fun, even if you are a party animal and just fancy a night off, quieter events are great. At Aberdeen Uni in my Freshers’ Week they ran a film festival in the evenings and it was a good way to bond with one of my new flatmates.
Expect to be running around campus early one morning in the middle week trying to find the location of your appointment with your adviser of studies/where to register. Don’t panic! No one knows where they are going on their first week and other students will help you. They were all new once. Don’t be afraid to stop and ask and don’t be offended if someone sees you looking a little lost and offers to help you.
If you are feel overwhelmed or homesick (it happens to us all at some point) it’s totally normal and chances are other people around you are feeling the same. I had quite a severe bout of homesickness and I wouldn’t have got through it if it hadn’t been for my flatmates and the support of my family back home. It’s OK to talk about it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it helps a lot. If you don’t feel that you can talk to your new friends or family you could speak to a GP (don’t forget to register for one of those during Freshers’ Week) or the Student Support/Guidance service at your university. They have seen and heard it all before and will be able to offer you the support you need.
Spending more money than you intended to is totally normal during Freshers’. If you are worried about going overboard, don’t take bank cards on nights out, withdraw cash before going out and make sure that you hold back enough to get you back to your new home safely at the end of the night. Many Student Unions do deals such as wristbands that get you entry to clubs every night during Freshers’ for a set fee. If you are planning on going out a lot look into these options.
The most important thing about Freshers’ Week is having fun, meeting new people and getting to know your new surroundings. Expect to have an exhilarating and exhausting week that you’ll remember forever. If your Freshers’ doesn’t turn out exactly how you planned for whatever reason, don’t sweat it. You have a lot of other opportunities to enjoy yourself during your time at university.
PS Top Tip – when you arrive at halls, before you unpack anything else, make up your bed. You’ll thank me when you’re exhausted/drunk and can just fall straight into a nicely made bed. You’re welcome!