Freshers! A week that most would argue was the best week of their university experience, a week of making friends, partying, exploring, finding independence and more! We know freshers might look a little different to everyone starting university this year due to COVID-19, but we wanted to offer you some advice from a final year student to help you make the most of your first experience of university life.
1. Go to everything that you’re invited to (following government guidelines of course). Your future Bestie might be in your flat or they might be at a society welcome event or at one of your seminars or at a sober social or at drinks in another flat. Expand your circle as much as possible and know that your friendship groups might change throughout the year.
2. Get to know your new city. Make it feel like home. I found that venturing out shopping and exploring on my own really made me feel like I was a part of the city that I’d moved to. I felt like a local rather than a visitor.
3. Get a planner. You’ll be inundated with social events, invites, welcome lectures and studying. Schedule these in a pretty planner to keep on top of things. Also, doing this will help you keep busy and avoid that initial homesickness.
4. Once you’re all moved in, start chatting to your flat. Get to know them. While you might become besties or you might not, you will still be living with these people for at least a year so it will be nice to live in a friendly, sociable environment. Maybe ask if anyone needs help moving their things into their room or take some homemade treats to offer around.
5. When you arrive at your lodgings, take lots of pictures. Not pictures to put on the gram but pictures of any slight imperfections in your room with a clear date of when the image was taken, doing this on a smartphone should be fine. This is your insurance so that if the owner spots any of these, you can prove it was there when you arrived and you’re not liable to cover the damage. I took pictures of small dents in my desk, small dents in my door and slightly damaged little bits of paint on the wall that was most likely caused by blu tack or tape.
6. Use social media to your advantage! Ask about group chats for your course and modules. Join them all! Join chats for societies you want to join, add as many people as you can on Facebook and Instagram. This is how everyone will begin to recognise each other around campus, in class and on nights out. It makes everyone, including you, more approachable which is great for making friends but also for finding support whilst studying. If you want some restaurant recommendations or need help with an assignment USE YOUR GROUP CHATS. Or if you’re a bit more shy, private message people you've added on social media to ask questions or to start a conversation.
7. BE SAFE. Add your flatmates’ phone numbers to your phone in case you become lost or get in trouble on a night out in the city. Try and stay with people you know when you’re out, which I appreciate can be tricky in your first week as you don't really know anybody but at least stay around people that you recognise and can talk to.
8. Finally, HAVE FUN!!!! I know its scary being out there on your own, attending events on your own and looking after yourself on your own but everyone is in the same boat! While freshers might not be as wild this year, it still has the potential to be the best week of your university experience if you let it. Keep and open mind, pay attention in your lectures, be kind to those around you and don’t stress. It’s going to be great!
Written By Grace