It’s the first week of university - you’ve unpacked your bags, made your bed and neatly arranged your textbooks ready for the new semester. So what next? Time to get out there, meet some new people and start making the most of your time at university!
But before you do, remember; getting the right balance between socialising and study is key to getting the most out of your experience.
That’s why we’ve put together some helpful tips for making the most out of your first time at university – from nightlife and societies to library sessions and exercising.
Making friends at university
Remember, most people you meet are in the same boat as you – new to campus and looking to make friends. You’re likely to make firm friends with your flatmates and course mates, but how else can you meet new people?
• Uni forums before you start – there are several websites out there with chat rooms for new students, where you can start talking to people who are also attending your university
• Your accommodation portal – some universities will post the names of your flatmates so you can reach out to them before moving in
• University Facebook page – there may be plenty of people who have “liked” the page or become members who you can chat with
• Joining societies – whether it’s the debate society or even the goth society, joining a group that meets regularly will help you make new friends outside of your halls or study course
• Get involved with sports clubs– there’s nothing like a team sport for meeting new people. With regular socials, training and matches, sports clubs present plenty of opportunities for making friends By immersing yourself in different societies, clubs and activities, you’ll be able to meet like-minded people who share your interests.
Sports at university
You may have heard the rumours – sports clubs at university have some of the best social nights and do their utmost to integrate freshers into their midst.
Typically, sports teams will meet each week for training, matches and socials. If you attend trials and are picked for one of the teams, this can be exciting but also time consuming, so make sure your study time isn’t affected. Aside from the regular BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) matches, you could find yourself playing in a varsity match against another local university!
Whether you’re an avid badminton player, a netball maverick or you enjoy watersports more than anything, most universities will have a sports club suited to you. Make sure you go along to freshers’ fair and sign up!
You’ve heard of freshers’ week, and all the trimmings that go with it. Universities are renowned for their nightlife – regular events, cheap drinks, and a chance to meet with all your new friends and make memories. Some typical university nightlife events may include:
• Inter-halls challenge – where you dress in a colour according to your halls and meet at the student union bars for drinks and games
• Back to school – where you go out dressed in school uniform (or a cheaper version purchased from the local Primark)
• Foam party – where you typically dress in neon colours and go to a club that dispenses foam onto the dancefloor
• Paint party – people usually find cheap painting overalls for this one! Much like the foam party, but with paint instead
• 90s night – where you get to dress as your inner 90s child and dance along to classics from the era
• Raves – everybody loves a rave! Another chance to get out your glowsticks and neon face paint
Most clubs will host regular fancy dress nights, where the themes can range from Halloween, Christmas or Easter to jungle, onesies, pirates, sailors, or even Game of Thrones. Carnage UK is a popular student night for those universities that participate – where multiple institutions from the same area will attend one big night out wearing Carnage t-shirts and dressed up following a theme.
Just remember to balance your nightlife with studying. It’s important to get to know your flatmates and course mates on nights out, but don’t forget why you’re at university!
University social life
You don’t have to go to a nightclub to socialise! Most universities will host other social events that you can attend in the day-time, such as:
• Film screenings – sometimes at an outdoor venue
• Students’ union markets – packed with local bargains
• Comedy nights
• Career fairs
• Food fairs
• BUCS matches – got a friend in the university football team? Pop along and watch their next match!
Don’t forget to make use of the local amenities. If there are coffee houses and eateries nearby, why not meet your course mates for coffee or lunch? Or get your flatmates outdoors and go for a walk to the local pub? And don’t forget, you can still exercise without joining a sports club. Check out the local or campus gym and go to classes with your friends – you might even be able to get a student discount on gym membership.
Getting the balance right
Your first time at university is bound to be full of fun activities, so make sure you relish every moment. Studying is just as important, which is why trips to the library aren’t a bad shout. Your university library may have a system whereby you can hire a study room for you and some course mates, where you can swap effective study tips and help each other out with essays, revision and group work.
Studying doesn’t mean you have to be on your own! Try and get the balance of studying and socialising right so you can get the most out of your university experience – you’ll be graduating in no time!
If you’re looking for more useful info about life at university, visit our student life hub.