Fresher’s Guide: Part 1
Starting university this Autumn? Read our top tips on what it will be like during Fresher’s week and the weeks that follow into the new term. The new university experience can seem daunting but, after a few weeks it will all feel like second nature. This is our Fresher’s Guide: Part 1.
Out on the town
The first week will be full of meeting new people and nights on the town, and to ensure they go smoothly remember to take cash with you when you move into Halls, as you don’t know where the closest cash machine will be – and its best to stray away from unwanted fees for using your debit or credit card! Ask your new housemates/classmates or friends for their phone numbers so if you do get separated you can still find your way back.
When you move in, add local Taxi numbers or public transport information down in your phone so that you’ll always have the information ready at hand if you need it. It is also best to write all of these numbers on a small piece of paper and keep it in your wallet or purse incase your phone dies whilst you’re out. Freshers’ Fair or induction events will have second and third year students, and the majority will be able to offer advice or selling university event tickets; you can ask them where the best places are to go around the area.
There is always safety in numbers so avoid as much as possible travelling alone, especially walking alone at night. If you are going out try to organise a group to travel with, share taxis and lifts, and plan when to leave and places to meet up at if you do stray from each other. Always eat before you go out, to avoid becoming intoxicated too quickly or even wasting money on takeaway food later on in the evening!
Travel around your local area/city and campus with a friend before you go out at night to familiarise yourselves with your surroundings; trust us, getting lost is not fun! Save a number under your phone – a next of kin, like a parent, guardian, sibling or very good friend – as ICE (in case of emergency) so emergency services know who to contact.
Remember, only travel with people or to a place that you feel safe and secure, if at any time you no longer feel comfortable it is perfectly okay to leave – try to get someone to go with you. Never get into a car or taxi if you don’t trust the person with you or driving you. Always carry your drinks with you if you are at a bar, club or pub, and never leave them unattended.
A good frame of mind
Even your new housemates may seem trusting, but never take any substances off of them or their ‘friends’, even if they tell you it is ‘safe’, is it? You don’t want to spoil your wonderful opportunity at university with an addiction. You should never take or do something that you don’t want to do, and, if your so-called ‘new’ friends are upset by you standing your ground and staying true to yourself then they’re not worth it!
If you are still feeling blue after a few weeks at university, or finding the entire new experience overwhelming, contact your university’s counselling service and talk to someone about your feelings. Keeping all emotions bottled up inside won’t help you, and the university will have a great number of staff who you can go to.
Money makes the world go round
Realistically set up a budget planner before you start university – it may take time and seem tedious but it will be worth it – but stick to it! So many Freshers’ spend too much money during their first few weeks and find themselves next to poor the rest of the entire term! When you know how much you can spend each day (always round down!) you will realise how easy it is to spend the money you simply just don’t have. If you do overspend; as nobody is perfect, make sure you counteract it with a ‘poor week’ after so you’re not always dipping into funds that don’t exist!
Never underestimate the importance of a student card! Sign up to NUS as well as having your University ID card, as you can get offers on cinema, nights out, and discounts when shopping and it will all add up! Also scout around for student only offers that will help you out, like Amazon Student, which is Amazon Prime membership at half price, and it has next day delivery and other great things for textbooks and stationery.
When you arrive on your first day moving into university, the campus will seem huge, your dorm will feel empty and your new life will seem difficult to comprehend – however, it is going to be totally worth it. Just follow our Fresher’s Guide: Part 1, and your first few weeks at university will go by in a flash! Check out our other student advice articles to see what you should do in our Fresher’s Guide: Part 2.