Don't fall behind! Here are our top tips for surviving Freshers Week – the first of many crazy University weeks!
Surviving your first week in a new city is a challenge for anyone. But for Freshers, it's pretty full on. So shake off that chilled Summer vibe and follow our guide through every fair, shot, event and freebie Freshers Week has to offer!
Top Tips for Fresher Week:
So you've moved into your Halls of Residence. Congratulations! You're on your own.
The first tip for student survival is meeting new people. You'll be sharing your halls with people for the best part of a year, so make sure you make a good first impression.
As the year progresses, it's totally normal to drift away from the people you're in halls with as you find your own friends. But for Freshers Week, get to know them. Help them move in and plan events together. After all, you're all here to have a good time.
"When I first moved into halls, I didn't bother learning anyone's name. I figured it'd be fine. But when you're sharing a tiny kitchen with a total stranger, that feels weird. At the very least be on speaking terms with people you're sharing facilities with."
Alex, University of Winchester
Freshers events go on all over the place. Sometimes they even happen off campus. So get a map as soon as you can and spend some time walking around and getting your bearings. The last thing you want to do is get lost on the way to a Freshers Party and miss out!
While you're getting your bearings, keep an eye out for useful things like taxi companies, supermarkets, kebab shops etc. That way, when it's 4am and you need something to eat or a ride home, you know where to go.
"Me and my friends got lost on the way to the Fresher's Fair. By the time we got there, most of the free stuff had gone and half the societies had packed up. I remember thinking back then that I wish I'd had a map or something."
Claire, UWE Bristol
The Freshers Fair will give you access to all the Socs (Societies) that you can join while you're at uni. It's a great place to meet people who share your interests and make sure you make the most of your university experience. Fairs are also a great place to pick up swag, so bring an empty bag with you!
The Freshers Fair is also a great place to pick up info about everything else that's going on during Freshers Week. So get out there and ask questions!
Top tip: get there early. Some societies have limits on the number of people who can join and there's only so much free stuff to go around. So make the Freshers Fair a high priority.
"Joining the Hockey Soc was the best decision I made. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have done tours, had some of the best nights out in my life and made friends that I keep in touch with to this day."
Dave, University of Bath
Getting free stuff is essential to surviving Freshers Week, and your first week of uni is full of opportunities to get it. As mentioned, the Freshers Fair is your first port of call but there are lots of other opportunities.
If you're in a uni city, you'll probably find that lots of local businesses are offering freebies and discounts to new students. Whether it's a haircut, a £5 off voucher for your shopping, or 2 for 1 shots on student night, you can stretch your budget by taking advantage of all that free stuff!
"We had halls off campus and spent all our time going to the local pub. It was nice, but had we actually walked a little further to the Union bar, we could have drunk twice as much for the same price! It pays to shop around."
Katy, Sheffield Halam University
For most of us, this is what Freshers Week is all about! Hopefully, you've had time over the summer to put in the reps when it comes to parties. As well as Student Nights, you'll almost certainly have a house party in your halls, check out all the local pubs and go clubbing.
You're in for a heavy one, so here's a basic survival guide to Freshers Week clubbing.
• Pace yourself
• Stick together
• Have fun
• Deploy maximum fancy dress
• Try something new, but stick to drinking what you know
• Stock up on recovery supplies
"Archers was forever ruined for me after our very first party in halls. That was an awful night and now even the smell makes me feel ill. Learn from my horrible mistake: drink what you know!"
Calvin, University of Bournemouth
For many people, Fresher Week is the first time you'll be managing your money yourself. That student loan might look like an infinite pile of money, but it won't last forever. The last thing you want is to end up in a situation where everyone's going out for a massive event and you can't go because you're broke!
Work out how much money you have and set out a clear weekly budget to include the essentials (like food) and the fun stuff. Budgeting isn't about cutting back and being boring. It's about making sure you're always able to do what you want to do.
"I wish I hadn't blown my entire student loan on a new computer. I literally ate noodles for a year."
Natalie, University of Kent
You can't survive Freshers without food. But do yourself a favour and get decent food. Ready meals are great if you're lazy, but you're never going to avoid the dreaded Freshers Flu without fresh fruit and veg. So, as well as all the usual student staples or pasta, noodles and chips, buy an apple or two!
Uni is the time to learn how to cook and discover what you really like to eat. So don't settle for what's easy, stock up on interesting and tasty things. Make the people in your halls jealous every time you start your dinner!
"Freshers Flu is the real deal. I knew a girl who missed most of her first lectures because she was so ill after Freshers Week. I wasn't much better, mind you. Eating right is important. I wish I knew how to cook properly back then."
Ralph, Brunel University London
It's pretty simple: Don't do all your adulting with a hangover. Uni has a whole load of admin stuff to take care of, from getting your student card to registering your courses to paying your fees. You don't want to be queuing up and doing any of these things the morning after a heavy night.
Before venturing into Admin Hell, make sure you have everything you need, such as acceptance letter, photo ID and passport sized pictures etc. The last thing you want to do is trek all the way down there only to have to turn around and queue up all over again!
"I wasted so much time in my first week sorting out my placements and organising my life. If you can do any of that stuff before you get to uni, DO IT!"
Niki, Bangor University