Moving away from home and into University halls is one of the most exciting and daunting experiences. I remember very clearly the day I left for Uni, Saturday 12th September 2015. I doubt I spoke very much on the two hour car journey down and I just remember this contradictory feeling of being really excited to see what uni was all about, to meet new people and to live in a cool new place, but also having all positive emotions being met heavily with an anxious and scared feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is completely normal to want to go home and never return, but I promise you that it will get better, you will gradually start to feel more at home and hopefully it will turn out to be the best few years of your life so far. Trust me, I remember exactly what it is like to stare up at the ceiling of your new room, everything around you feeling so foreign and your vision starting to go blurry because you couldn’t control the tears. Everyone feels like this, you are not weird or alone. But seeing as I am no longer a fresher, and actually should not even be attending fresher events anymore (seeing as I am going into my final year), I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips to help you get through your freshers.
1. Get used to small talk. Be prepared to answer the same three questions on loop. “What is your name?” “Where are you from?” “What course are you studying?” Soon these answers will become so routine to you that you might as well write the answers on your forehead. Oh and if you are meeting people outside of your accommodation also be prepared to answer the “What halls are you in?” question. Be vague with this one, you don’t want randoms who you met on the first night still turning up on your doorstep three months later.
2. No one ACTUALLY cares how much alcohol you drink. Freshers has this reputation everywhere that is it only about the alcohol and you and your new found friends will go on one boozy night after the other, for the entirety of your foreseeable future. But the reality is quite different. You will be surrounded by people with all sorts of drinking habits and if there is one thing I have learnt, it is that no one is really paying attention to how much you drink, so know your limits and stick to them!
3. The people you meet in freshers may be your friends for life, or you may never speak to them again. Don’t worry if the first people you meet aren’t the sort of people you want to spend your 3 years with. Just keep looking and getting to know people through societies, your course etc. Don’t feel like the first few people you meet will dictate your friendship group forever.
4. Go to Freshers Fair. If your university is anything like mine, there will be a day where all the different societies have a stand and you can go up and put your email down to be notified of events. Put your name down for literally anything that interests you. You are not signing a 10 year contract to go to every single thing they organise, so just see what there is and this is a really great way of meeting new people.
5. Your sleeping schedule will not exist and your body clock will turn off. Just go with the flow, sleep when you can, eat when you can and don’t worry too much if you become nocturnal for the first few weeks. Just try to slowly get back into a normal routine so you don’t fall too far behind in classes.
6. Try to decorate your room as soon as possible. The best way to overcome homesickness is to make this new place feel like yours. Put your pictures up, tidy everything into a dedicated place and don’t be afraid to get out your teddy that helps you sleep.
7. Freshers flu is unavoidable.There is a 90% chance you will be ill for the entire first term. But everyone around you will also have that lingering cough and whilst you may think you are lucky that your lectures are recorded, you will soon realise you cannot hear a thing over the coughing of your classmates who actually made it to the lecture!
Although I am glad I have my freshers well and truly behind me, I am however overwhelmingly jealous of those of you starting university this year. You have two more years to figure out what the hell you want to do with your lives, and two more years that you can use the excuse “I am at uni” to fend of any serious questions about your life choices, path and goals. Don’t take first year too seriously, have fun, don’t care too much about grades (if your first year doesn’t count, if it does, then work hard) and I wish anyone starting this new chapter all the luck in the world.