Your ultimate guide to Freshers’ Week
Being a Fresher can be a daunting experience, but that shouldn’t hold you back from having an amazing time. Stick to this guide to make the most out of your first week of freedom.
So, you’ve been offered a place at uni and are eagerly anticipating the move in September where you can finally begin three years’ worth of serious study on the course of your dreams (right?). Either that or, like the majority of your fellow students, you simply cannot wait for your first taste of freedom, being able to do what you like when you like, and most importantly the week-long party that is Freshers’ Week. Sound more like it? I thought so!
This being said, Freshers’ Week can be a daunting experience, and any feelings of nerves, anxiety or even dread are completely normal. But at the same time, allowing these temporary feelings of anxiousness to prevent you from having a seriously great time would be absolutely sinful. So, enter me! I’m here to help you feel cool, calm and collected in the lead up to Freshers’ Week with this handy little survival guide of things you need to know and do (and sometimes NOT do) in order to have the best time possible. Feel free to learn from my experiences (and occasional mistakes) to make the most of your first week of freedom before the hard work really begins (painful but true- sorry!).
Before arriving at Uni…
Preparations for FW begin waaaay before the week itself, as you have probably already found if you’re an active user of almost any social media platform. Event invitations, Fresher pages and group chats spring to life sometimes months in advance, so make sure you get involved in as many as possible. Not only is it entirely possible to make a hoard of new friends online before you’ve even started packing, it’s lovely to have a familiar face amongst the sea of strangers on move in day. It’s a great idea to “like” or join any relevant groups on Facebook, sign up to your SU email service and begin to research any societies you think you’d like to join, as this will ensure you are up to date on all of the best FW events.
First night nerves…
As previously mentioned, it is completely normal if not customary to feel at least a little nervous about the night/week/years ahead. After all, you have gone from being the baby of the family to independent adult all in one day. But don’t let these feelings of nervousness hold you back from going out and giving your uni experience the best possible start. Go along to the pub crawl or Freshers only club night (you’ll be loaded with freebies after all), or if you’ve found some new friends then go along to the events that they’re attending to help solidify your newfound friendship. Don’t miss out on the grounds of being nervous, everyone is feeling the same and you’ll regret it massively if you do.
While I hate to stereotype or commit the forbidden sin of judging a book by its cover, it’s worth knowing that you will probably meet at least one (if not all) of the social stereotypes below:
- The Lad/Ladette: These guys and gals are unmistakable; they are seasoned clubbers and like to make this apparent by tunelessly reciting the age-old drinking chants (what Zulu Warriors have to do with downing pints I’ll never know) and acting like they’ve known those around them for years, despite only meeting them this morning. Deal with them by mirroring their behaviour before making a hasty exit.
- The Facebook Friender: This curious being is almost instantly recognisable because they befriended you (and tonnes of your fellow students) on social media weeks ago. They will probably be super welcoming and chatty during your first meeting, before never speaking to you again (don’t worry, it’s nothing that you’ve done wrong, it’s just how these weirdos roll). Deal with them by making agreeable statements like “Yes, we simply must get together this week! A coffee sounds great!” before moving on and accepting the fact that you’ll probably never see them again.
- The Quiet One: My personal favourite, these people are shy and reserved, but make the effort to go out on the first night of Freshers’ Week before spending the remaining six days in their room. They are usually super nice, but don’t get too attached, as this is probably the first and last time they will be out clubbing for the entirety of your uni careers- it simply isn’t their thing and we must respect that.
- The Snapper: These questionable individuals insist on documenting every move they make during FW by Facebooking, Instagramming and Snapchatting the living daylights out of absolutely everything that goes on around them. Be prepared to repeat yourself on multiple occasions while in their presence, as re-editing their eleventh selfie of the night is clearly far more important than your conversational offerings, and beware that these people are ruthless when it comes to selfie selection- as long as they look good it’s going online, regardless of if you’ve been caught doing the whip nae nae in the background (if everyone could stop doing that dance it would be great).
- The Mystery Man: The final social stereotype that you are sure to come across is the mystery man or woman. You will meet this person during Freshers’ Week and feel sure that you have made a friend for life (or at least the next three years) before they mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again. They may have dropped out of uni, never attend lectures (despite still being on the register) or simply don’t enjoy clubbing; who knows? We’re not sure what happens to these people, but we hope they’re okay.
Ultimate Tips for Survival…
Okay, okay. Maybe claiming that these tips are necessary for “survival” is a little dramatic (although Freshers Flu is a real thing, I promise you). Nonetheless, they’re still super handy to know for all possible FW eventualities, so, you’re welcome.
- Make sure you’re prepared with plenty of cash as there aren’t always cash machines readily available on campus, in halls or at the SU building (and when there are, they gonna wanna charge you £1.50 for the pleasure of withdrawing your own cash: you’d think £9000 a year was enough, but clearly not). Perhaps throw yourself a little going away party before starting uni, where family members will feel inclined to give you some “pocket money” before your descent into adulthood, under the strict instruction that “you don’t spend it all at once”. Yeah, cheers Nan.
- Wear comfy shoes: I cannot stress this enough. The profound experience of parading from bar to bar is like a rite of passage that we must all experience as a Fresher, so don’t ruin it by donning six-inch heels or brand new un-worn-in trainers. Not only will it spoil your night, but you best believe that the blisters will remain for the rest of the week to come. Pack plasters if necessary.
- Be prepared for some crazy themed parties and club nights, not only throughout Freshers’ Week but for the years ahead as well. Packing some random fancy dress costumes and some old clothes that you don’t mind getting covered in neon paint is usually sufficient. Animal print hot-pants optional (I’m looking at you, boys).
My final tip, and by far the most important piece of advice that anyone can give you before embarking on your university journey is to make the most of Freshers’ Week. It is your first and last week for a goodly while where you literally have no other responsibilities to juggle, so make the most of being able to sleep all day and party all night, bag as much free stuff as you can and don’t, I repeat DON’T, become romantically involved with any of your flatmates. It really is as simple as that.
By Elise Harvey