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Saturday 7 September 2013

Freshers Week: What to Expect | University Series


So as fresher's week is coming up for some of you I thought I'd share with you what to expect. All of this is based on my own experience and experiences of my friends. I'm hoping to help you know exactly what you should expect, as I know not many people know what to expect when they first go. I was one of the last of my friends to go to uni, so I had the benefit of hearing other people's stories, but I was still so so nervous. Most of the things you read about fresher's week will either be from the university themselves (and they won't give you the full picture) or from the media where they try and make out that students are running wild in the streets and drinking their own body weight in alcohol. I'm going to try and give you a realistic picture of what to expect, hopefully to put your minds at ease.

Meeting your flat/housemates for the first time
I'm not going to lie to you, the very first time you all meet it will be a bit awkward. But you don't need to worry about that, it will soon go and by the end of the week you will all be chatting and feel like you've made true friends. If you want my suggestion, if you know your flat number before university, try posting on facebook pages to see if you can find your flatmates online. I knew 11 out of 12 of my flatmates before going and I found this helped a ton. I didn't feel so anxious as I already knew bits about some of the people I was going to be living with.

It is natural to get this, and please don't worry if you do. I know the minute that my parents first left me I was so nervous, I just didn't know what to do with myself and wanted them to come back and take me home. If you do get home-sick, just ring up your parents and have a quick chat or send them a quick message. The big thing to keep in mind is that this is natural. PLEASE do not go rushing home after 2 days deciding to give up university because you miss home and haven't settled yet. I know of some people that quit uni after less than a week, and in my opinion this is a huge mistake. If you feel like wanting to leave, please give it as least a month. It's going to take a while to get used to being at university and being apart from your family, and after a while you become used to it and will actually grow to like the independence. Remember your family and friends are only a phonecall away.

Some people will have been cooking their own meals for a while and will not be worried by this at all. However, if you are anything like me, you won't be able to cook anything. At the start of uni I couldn't cook a thing, I lived on pasta and beans on toast. I'm by no means a pro chef now, but I can cook a lot more than I could when I first started! If anyone is interested, I could do a post on simple meals that I like to make, that even the worst cooks like me will be able to manage. Don't be afraid to ask your flatmates for help on how to cook certain things, it's a great learning experience. If you want to be prepared, maybe start helping with dinner at home beforehand or asking your parents to help show you how to make certain meals.

Nights Out
This is one of the best ways to bond with your flat. Now, if you don't like clubbing or going out this may not be up your street, but please try to go out on the very first night it's a great way to bond with your flat and get over that awkwardness you feel the first day. Out of all my friends, if any of them regret anything about freshers week, it is that they didn't go out more. You don't have to drink or do anything you don't want to, it is entirely up to you. If you don't want to go out, hopefully there are alternative events, and do your best to go to them.

Chances are you'll meet a lot of people at these events, some you may keep in touch with, some you won't. If you do make friends with someone, try finding out their facebook or which accommodation they are at so you can keep in touch with them.

Remember, the great thing about uni is you don't stop making friends. Some of my closest friends I met in second term, whilist others I was really close with in first term I'm not so close to anymore.

Early Starts
Every uni is different, but for mine, I had course inductions and then fire safety/introduction talks taking place in the mornings of freshers week. Please make sure you got these, set your alarm (or set several) before you go out so you don't forget. A lot of these (especially fire safety) are compulsory, and if you don't do it now, you'll have to do it at a later date.

Fresher's Flu
Yes, it's a thing and many people get it. The reason behind it is because you are mixed with so many people from so many different places. Add to that a probably unhealthy lifestyle for the first week and a lack of sleep, and it's no wonder people get ill. To try and combat it, make sure to drink a lot of water and eat as well as possible. Also, bring cold/flu medicines with you, you don't want it to spoil your week.

Making Friends
Ok, so this kind of follows on from what I've already said. Everybody is in the same boat, everyone is nervous. Try and start up conversations or say hello to people, in fresher's week people will be so grateful you've done it and it isn't considered weird at all. In fresher's week everyone is trying to talk to as many people as possible and make as many friends as they can, so take advantage of this and do the same. After fresher's it becomes a lot harder to meet people or start chatting to people you don't know.

Fresher's Fair/Societies
Societies are a great way to meet people, and if I have one regret from my first year it's that I didn't join enough of them. Go to your fresher's fair and sign up for things that interest you, and actually go to them. They are a great way to make friends outside of your course/flat who have similar interests.

So that's all I can think of for the moment, I'm sorry it was such a long post but I wanted to make sure I included everything. If you have any questions feel free to comment or email me at beautybucketlist@gmail.com

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