1) Get on Social Media
I can’t stress how much you should take advantage of social media upon going to university. Most universities have ‘Flatmate Finder’ apps where you can see who you’re living with and add them on Facebook so when you arrive, you can already put names to faces! Moreover, there are usually Facebook groups set up for incoming students of subjects (e.g. University of Birmingham Modern Language Students 2015-2016) so if you have any fears or worries, you can communicate on the group to others who may have the answers to your queries. Nearly every uni has a Facebook set up or at least a Facebook page/group for freshers so look for this to get clued up on any parties and other events happening!
2) Make sure you attend academic and social events
Life is all about striking a work and play balance. Plenty of students I know went to every academic meeting (meeting their tutors/library tours etc) yet failed to integrate with a lot of students they lived with as they didn’t participate in any accommodation events or nights out. Likewise, many students I knew missed all the academic events and just got drunk every night. It is vital to attend both academic and social events – attend the academic events that will prove valuable such as tutor meetings and course introductions and even if you’re not a big drinker or you don’t particularly like clubbing, try hosting meals or going out for dinner with flatmates, or attending pre-drinks where you can at least socialise with other students!
3) Join a society or group that you’re passionate about
Upon going to university, you’ll find that there are hundreds of societies and teams so if you’re a golfer, dancer or even a knitter, its likely there will be a society for you! Joining a society or team of something you’re passionate about is a great idea – you’re likely to find others like yourself which can help you choose who you live with once you move out of halls into second year or even simply finding friends to walk home with, or to uni with!
4) Join a society or group that you have no clue about
Uni is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and joining a society, group or team you know very little about can help to develop your confidence and independence! A student I know joined her Korfball team not having a clue about the sport, and very little experience with sports and found that most people at the induction were the same! Try something completely different and it’s likely you’ll meet someone who is doing the same!
Lots of unis offer buddies for freshers and while it may sound cheesy, they really are useful! I wasn’t fortunate to have this system at my uni but I found out later that there was a Facebook group set up for those who wanted buddies, so if you aren’t offered a buddy, double check online! A buddy can offer little tips like how to get to get around uni, good places to eat, shop and party and lots more. I’d recommend this especially if you’re worried about getting lost in your new surroundings; having a buddy can really give you peace of mind.
6) Pace Yourself
There’s always that one student who is able to do everything during freshers. They manage to attend every meeting, meet all their lecturers, get every book they need out of the library, do a tour of the local area, and of course they’ve gone to every fresher night out! Some students are able to do it all without burning out, however, most of us aren’t superheroes. Pacing yourself is so necessary during freshers – if some things can wait, then you don’t have to do them straight away so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself!
7) Make sure you’ve got everything sorted
During freshers, staff often have tasks upon tasks from finalising timetables and classrooms to sorting out any international/ERASMUS students’ queries so make sure all your admin is done by the time you get to uni. Don’t wait till the last minute to fill in forms or it just causes problems for everyone. Make a checklist for packing so you don’t arrive at your accommodation without.
Don’t forget these:
- A towel and a flannel + bath mat and hand towel if you have your own en-suite
- Detergent and fabric conditioner (you do need to wash your clothes at uni)
- Kitchen stuff (crockery, cutlery, kettle, pots and pans etc)
Plus, make sure you take the time to see your friends and family before you go!
8) Be Yourself
This is the most important thing of all! Don’t create a new persona at university – just be yourself and you’ll find others who understand and like you for being you! In addition to this, if you feel after the first month that your course, accommodation or the university just isn’t for you, speak to your personal tutor or university counselling service for advice and guidance.