Freshers' Week Survival Guide 2020
Starting university this autumn? Our tips and advice will help get you through Freshers' Week, whether you're excited, nervous, or both!
Don't forget to also check out these handy student apps to make your new life as a student a little easier.
Moving in and meeting new people
- It’s likely you’ll be pretty busy during your first week, so get there a few days early so you have time to unpack and settle into your new digs.
- Leave your door open while you unpack your stuff – this is a welcoming gesture and people are more likely to stop by and say hello.
- Get something to use as a doorstop to help with the above - a sign with your name on the door is also good, too.
- As soon as you have met one person, go around with them and knock on everyone else’s door in your block. Hopefully you will be less nervous in a pair and then you can meet quite a few people by going around together.
- Make up your bed as soon as you arrive – this means you can take a rest when you get tired of unpacking and introducing yourself to lots of people.
- Unpack early, so you don't have an excuse not to go out and meet other people.
- Make your room more homey by putting up some posters on the walls.
- Bringing a tin of cakes, cookies or chocolate bars will attract people to knocking on your door instantly!
- Don’t be afraid to start up random conversations with people you just happen to be standing next to while waiting for something – that is how you make your new friends. Chances are, they're just as nervous as you and will welcome the chance to have a conversation without having to start it themselves!
- Get your computer set up so you can put some music on – people will hear it, and talking about favourite songs and bands is always an ice breaker!
- Smiling a lot will make you seem more approachable!
- Try not to worry if everyone isn’t as friendly as you are – it’s likely you won’t get on with everyone you live with. You’re bound to make lots of friends outside of halls so you don’t have to feel like a social outcast!
- Try to go to as many social events as possible. It may be a little tiring, and you're unlikely to remember everyone later, but the more people you meet now, the more you will bump into other people you will recognise and can chat with later on.
- Don't stop talking to random people after Freshers' Week - keep it up and that way you will carry on meeting new people. As people settle in to the university, they will become more relaxed and not so concerned about keeping up their 'friend-making' behaviour.
Finding out more about your university
- Many universities publish Freshers' Week schedules on their websites or on the Students' Union website. Finding out what’s happening in advance might give you a heads up on what you’ll need for partying the night away!
- There will usually be a Freshers' Fair where you can find out about the societies and groups you might want to join. While it can be fun finding the most obscure or bizarre club, don’t be tempted to join a society you’ll probably never attend – almost all freshers will find they’ve signed up to a society, paid the membership fee and then can’t be bothered with the socials and meetings.
- There will be lots and lots of freebies handed out during Freshers’ Week, so make sure you take advantage! Although some of it will be a bit cheap and tacky, they are free and that can save you money in the long-run. Grab as much free stuff as you can, especially pens! This way, you won't have to restock your writing tools for quite some time.
- Make sure you take some cash with you when you first go to the bar - there may not be a cash point nearby.
- Save a few taxi company numbers to your mobile, in case you have no other way of getting back to campus.
- Going out is always a daunting experience for a fresher, as it’s the first time you’ll be going out with different people and meeting more new ones. Hopefully you’ll feel more comfortable once you’ve been out to the bar a few times, and downing a few drinks is certain to help the situation!
- Students in their 2nd and 3rd years will be able to help popint you in the right direction of the best places to hang out. They are also usually the people who are selling tickets for the evening events.
- You will be able to find out about events at your Student Union or you may be able to sign up for email alerts about what's happening around the university.
- Get your tickets early for popular events, as they will sell out quickly and you don’t want to be disappointed!
- For the girls – it’s a good idea to take a pair flat shoes with you whenever you go out. If your high heels start killing your feet (or you are too drunk to walk properly in them!), you will be glad of them.
- If you're off to London, or your Uni is in London, make sure you've got enough credit on your Oyster card before you set off. You don’t want to be queuing for ages at the machine during your night out!
- Be open-minded about the people you socialise with, even those you don't think you will get along with - you never know which connections might turn into lifelong friendships! The societies you join and the experiences on offer will also help push you outside of your comfort zone and you'll find you have a lot more fun as a result!
- Don’t sign up for everything at the Freshers’ Fair if they want you to pay up straight away. Put your name down, but think about it first before making any payment.
- Draw up a budget for Freshers’ week. In those first few days you’ll probably be feeling quite flushed, but suddenly having money of your own coupled with the thrill of Freshers’ week can spell disaster. Make sure you stick to your budget - a lot of new students spend too much on alcohol, which means they don't have much cash left over for other activities at the end of the month or further on in the year. You will find planning ahead will help you in the long term!
- Put on an extra layer of clothes or two during cold days and nights, so you don't need to crank the heating up too high. A hot water bottle is a worthy investment!
- Club together with your roommates so you can buy in staple food such as rice, pasta and noodles in bulk or large quantities at least.
- It’s also worth buying a selection of store cupboard essentials like salt, pepper, herbs, spices, cuppa soups, and other dried foods you use on a regular basis.
- Try to keep some tins of beans, tomatoes, soup and similar foods in case you run out of everything else.
- Eating together as a group can be useful too. For example, if you have a curry or pizza evening, and take turns with your roommates to host it. This means you can rely on at least one of your friends providing dinner at some point during the week!
- During the winter months, you can take it in turns to spend the evening in each others rooms so that you're not heating rooms for just one or two people. You can take turns to have a TV or movie evening in. Even if it’s only once or twice a week and you keep a rota for it, the savings on food and fuel could be quite big.
- Cook more than you need and freeze some for another day – this saves on the fuel you use for cooking.
- Invest in a decent set of sauce pans – cheap ones will only last you so long!
- If your home is quite close to your university, and you're worried about your standard of cooking, you could ask your parents nicely to cook something, then store it in a suitable container(s) and freeze back at uni. You can then defrost it when you feel you need a decent, wholesome meal!
- Doing your grocery shopping online will help you save both time and money. You are more likely to just buy what you need and are subsequently less likely to buy every item or special offer that catches your eye. The delivery cost is usually quite reasonable these days, and you can always order with another roommate if you are concerned about the cost. You’ll be surprised at the amount of money you will save. Shopping online also means you don’t have to cart heavy shopping bags back from the supermarket!
- Read our Tips For Staying Healthy At University to make sure you look after yourself as much as possible during your studies.
- Always let people know where you are going and who with.
- Ask a friend call you at a certain time to check you're all right if you are out alone or with someone you don't know very well.
- Put at least one person on speed dial in case of emergencies.
- Never, ever leave your drinks unattended at any time.
- If you expect you might have a bit of a wild night, be sure to carry a condom or two 'just in case' anything happens – this applies to both boys and girls! You can get them for free from many health centres and Brook clinics.
- Register with a GP and dentist as soon as you can.
- Make sure to keep both your GP and dentist phone number handy so you can easily find it in case you become unwell or get toothache.
- Wear a pair of comfy shoes for the registration meetings, as it’s likely you will be queuing for quite a while.
- Remember to take things like pens and your diary with you to registration, as well as the Freshers' Fair if there is one - it'll help you to keep track of what you've signed up for, and you’ll be able to jot down email addresses, websites and any other useful information.
- Be prepared to queue all day in order give a piece of paper to someone and then get your photo taken!
- Always make sure you carry the correct paperwork and identification to all the registration events, and always make sure you are in the right queue – it will save you time later!
For more Freshers' Week advice, please see: