For most, going to university is a big change; it’s a chance to move out, live independently, make friends, learn to cook, find out how many tequilas you can physically handle and of course, study towards a degree. It’s exciting and terrifying all at once, but it could be the best years of your life. Here’s our guide to what happens when you first start university.
First things first, get your finances sorted and open a student bank account. Take anything and everything that you might need with you, but if you’re going to be living with a shared kitchen it might be a good idea to wait until you move in before buying an entire range of kitchen things. It’s not uncommon in university halls to have 8 saucepans of exactly the same size, 15 frying pans and approximately 300 items of mix and match cutlery but no essential pizza cutter. See if you can come to an arrangement with your new flatmates, most people don’t mind you using their things as long as you wash it up afterwards. Although if you can’t promise to put things back afterwards maybe just buy your own set rather than cause arguments.
When you move in, keep your door propped open whilst you unpack. It comes across as friendly, and it will be easy to say hello to others moving in to the flat. Everyone will be nervous, so just say hello and introduce yourself. Student life will be much easier if you’re friends with the people you live with.
What happens in freshers’ week stays in freshers’ week
Once you’ve done the (sometimes difficult) goodbyes with those who helped you move, you’ve unpacked and met your flatmates, it’s time to enjoy freshers’ week. Although it’s officially for registration and learning your way around the university, freshers’ week is for socialising. You might want to socialise in the typical student way with a combination of clubs, parties, shots, socials and more shots, or you might prefer to join in with daytime activities and welcome fairs. You can try to do both, but if you’re out until 3am every night it’s unlikely you’re going to feel fit for the rugby team try outs early the next morning. Freshers’ fair is where all the student societies and associations give you free stuff and try to encourage you to join, so that can be fun too. As long as you attend the important parts you’ll be fine, even if you turn up in a dehydrated, red eyed, alcohol-breath state.
If you don’t drink, there’s normally alcohol-free evening events, daytime activities, student societies and a friendly café where you can sit and chat over a hot drink and a cake. Some students worry that their lifestyle choices will have them excluded from regular university life, but it wont!
Freshers’ flu affects almost every student in one way or another. With so many people from different parts of the country all meeting each other, there’s a fair chance you’re going to catch something you’ve not been exposed to before. With the added chill that usually creeps in every September and a week or two of alcohol-induced comas, it’s no wonder so many students fall ill in the first few weeks of university. Without a parent around to bring you chicken noodle soup and paracetamol, you’re going to have to face this one on your own. Your parents might call it ‘character building’ when you phone them to tell them you feel like you’re dying, which wont make you feel any better at all.
I have to study now?!
After the madness of freshers’ week, you’ll have to actually start going to lectures and studying. University is tough, so make friends, don’t blow your entire student loan in the first fortnight and remember that it’s okay to miss home. Have a good time, but get your work done too!
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