Top 4 tips for getting the most out of Freshers

The dreaded event that is results day has finally been and gone in a flash. Regardless of whether everything went to plan, hopefully, if university was the plan then you are now preparing to head off to university in the next month or so, which means it’s time to start preparing for Freshers.

Going to university, particularly if you’re moving away from home, offers hundreds of challenges, opportunities and more emotional whiplash than you can imagine. While most of these things are great learning experiences, I would say that most of them come during your first two weeks of Freshers. Most of these lessons need to be learnt first hand but here’s my top four tips on how to fully prepare yourself for freshers and getting the most out of what will be the best and scariest (but mostly best) weeks of your life.

My first tip comes from a horrible experience I had on my first night at my university in Wales. We had pre-drinks at our flat, moved to the campus club and when that closed we headed into Swansea city centre. Within minutes of arriving I realised that from getting out of the taxi and getting to a bar my phone had disappeared, and on calling the fully charged phone just minutes later it was apparent that it had been stolen and switched off. Look after your stuff. Freshers all over the country are great targets for theft and pickpocketing so stay aware wherever you are, if something is really valuable and you don’t need it then don’t take it out you.

Not having a phone prompted other issues for me during Freshers. I was not expecting to be home sick, not immediately anyway. I’d come to university with the knowledge that technology meant that my family and friends were only a phone call, a text or Skype call away but losing my phone took two of those things away from me. Keep your bags and pockets closed and safe to stop an unnecessary stress from ruining your Freshers experience.

Now assuming you manage not to have your phone stolen the first night of freshers (congrats) my next tip is no matter how independent you are, or how many holidays away from home you’ve had, prepare to be homesick, and prepare to get over it. From my experience everyone was homesick at one point, whether it was the first night away or while nursing a serious hangover, when starving or when freshers’ flu sets in there are some things from home that you will just really miss. If you’re prepared for that then it will be less scary; but remember that even if it is really scary and all you want is your mum or a cuddle from your pet, it will be OK – soon!

With all the stress of moving away from home and the sudden increase in alcohol intake it can be easy to forget that you’ve come to university to study. Most universities will transition you slowly into academic life, but my third tip is to go to the welcome talks. It can be a great place to meet people off of your course and will give you peace of mind to understand how your course is planned out and what modules you will be studying. That way, when freshers suddenly ends, at least you’ll know what comes next.

My final tip is to DO STUFF. If there’s a neon party and your flatmates are going into town to buy costumes and you already have yours, go anyway. If everyone is splitting a takeaway, get it on it. Make sure you go with your flatmates to the Freshers’ fayre, sign up to loads of ridiculous societies, go to all there initiation nights until you find your favourites or embarrass yourself too much to return. If you put yourself out there to make friends and do stuff with them during Freshers it won’t just guarantee you an amazing experience during your first weeks, it’ll guarantee you an amazing time during your entire university life.

Nobody can really prepare you for how terrifying and amazing university is, but by looking after your stuff, embracing the fact that living away from home can be scary and throwing yourself into university life you should be set for an amazing, trouble-free Freshers.

Photo Credit: connaught.hall via Compfight cc

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Hilary Webb

English Literature and French student from Essex studying in Swansea.

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