With A-levels a distant memory and summer coming to a close, it’s time to start getting excited about moving to university. Whether you’re commuting from home or moving to a new city, freshers’ week is a time for everyone to get involved; meeting new people, joining sports teams and societies, getting to know flatmates, and (of course) experiencing a whole new nightlife.
Uni life is exciting. But it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful if you aren’t prepared.
Living independently and working towards your career at university is an amazing opportunity, but it can still be tough to say goodbye to the comfort of home. That’s why our guide will talk you through the many different tips and life hacks, helping to give you a smoother transition into university life.
Your first week
There are many dos and don’ts of university life, especially in your first week! This is where you’ll start building friendships with various people and first impressions go a long way…
• Register for the doctor and dentist
• Make a note of your new address and circulate this with your friends and family back home
• Get your bearings. Explore the local area and find out where the hospital is, the location of the nearest train station and of course where all the shops, coffee houses, bars and eateries are
• Get to know your flatmates. You’ll be living under the same roof after all!
• Do a big shop, including cleaning products, toilet paper and lots of food. Make sure you budget for food effectively
• Get to know the campus. You don’t want to be late to your first lecture
• Attend freshers’ fair and sign up to sports clubs and societies
• Find the students’ union
But what about things you probably shouldn’t do?
• Forget to register at university
• Walk around late at night by yourself
• Skip lectures and introduction meetings
• Don’t get off on the wrong foot with your flatmates or course mates
If you prioritise your introductory lectures and are open to meeting new people, your freshers’ week experience should be drama-free!
How to budget effectively
One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn at university is how to budget effectively. Once your student loan comes in it can be tempting to blow it all in one go – but try and avoid this at all costs (literally).
Try and stick to a weekly food budget if you can. This makes meal planning easy and will help you understand how much money you have left to spend on other things. Below are some further tips for budgeting effectively:
• Don’t pay for transport if you can walk or cycle
• Buy second-hand books for your course
• Cook meals in bulk that you can freeze and use again
• Recycle outfits on nights out
• Don’t use contactless when buying drinks in a bar
If you’ve saved a pot of money prior to starting university, it’s important not to dip into it too much. Be realistic with what you can afford, and you shouldn’t have any monetary issues!
Tips for nightlife
University nightlife plays a big role in freshers’ week.
You’ll find that there’s an event every night at a different venue, with a different theme to match. That’s why sourcing cheap fancy dress outfits is vital! Find your nearest Primark and try to recycle outfit components so that you can avoid having to purchase new outfits.
• Know your limits!
• Stay alert – try not to wander too far from your group, and if you want to go home, make sure you get a taxi with someone
• Look after your belongings, and your friends!
• If you’ve got a 9am lecture the following morning, don’t stay out until 5am
• Buy tickets for club events in advance. You can usually get these from your Student Union reps
• Save a taxi number in your phone
Staying safe at university is crucial. Understand your limits and be aware.
Balance socialising and studying
We get it – freshers’ week is exciting and full of adventures. But you also need to remember why you’re there – to study. Balancing your social life with studying will make sure you get the most out of your university experience!
For more detail on this, see our article on making the most of your first time at university.
Your freshers’ survival guide summary
Let’s not forget your valuables – your phone, your laptop, and even your tablet. Looking after these is crucial as losing or damaging them could affect your studies and your social life at university. Get peace of mind that your gadgets are protected with our flexible student gadget insurance.
Ultimately, freshers’ week is an exciting experience that helps you settle into your new life at university. Meet new people, make memories and start the next stage of your journey.