Surviving Freshers Week23rd September 2019
Freshers week, the pinnacle of University culture. For most people it’s your first time away from home, an opportunity to have some freedom and find out who you really are. It’s probably also the first opportunity to drink your favourite spirit to its death and forever resent the smell or taste of it thereafter. Amongst all this excitement however, moving away can be nerve-racking. You may think some people have taken to it well and they’ve got everything together. But, believe me they won’t. Everyone’s in the same boat and that’s okay! This is your time to make some mistakes and learn.
Work as a club rep.
Moving to a new city and meeting new people can be daunting. You’re going to want to make friends straight away. The best way to do this; BECOME A CLUB REP. Your course and university halls will be the first introduction to a variety of new people and, given statistics; you’re not going to hit it off with everyone. Becoming a club rep allows you to be in an environment surrounded by people with similar interests. It’s a given that you’ll be there for the party scene. And you’ll also find people with the same music taste.
You might not think it now, but that big sum of money you’ve just been given; that’s not going to last. Within your first two weeks of freshers the majority of that will be spent in the clubs anyway. Working for those clubs grants you free entry and drinks, so cut out the middleman! It also doesn’t feel like it, almost all of the time, but technically you’ll be working. No more hangover regret, waking up and realizing you £50 down. You’ll still be hungover, but you’ll have been paid for that hangover.
Bulk up on pasta
It’s more than likely that first time away from home, you’re going to be clueless about cooking. With all the new people you meet and activities you do, it’s obvious you’ll constantly be in a rush. Pasta. The easiest, most versatile, quick to cook and just as enjoyable meal on offer. The beauty of pasta is endless. You can put anything with it, eat it hot or cold and can pack it up in a tub to enjoy later on. After the first two weeks, freshers’ winds down, and you can try and get stuck into a routine of a meal plan. Without this you’ll be unnecessarily spending and won’t have any backbone when it comes to eating out. Cooking everything at once on a Sunday night means you’re set for the week ahead and you can experiment with new recipes that keeps the costs relatively low. Even better, when you’re in a rush you’ve got a healthy, free, grab and go meal right when you need it.
Stock up your medicine cupboard
Paracetamol and ibuprofen will be your best friend. Need I say more.
Amidst all the nights out, socializing and lectures, make sure you nap. University can be very intense and overwhelming. Make sure you have time to yourself, where you can wind down. This isn’t an excuse to sleep all day, but you need to be aware of the positive effect a 20-minute nap can have. You’ll be refreshed, your mood will be lifted, and your mind will be less foggy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t become nocturnal. Without a parent around nagging, it can be easy to fall into an unnatural sleeping pattern. You’ll need to learn the right balance and identify when you need to get up and go, versus when you need some time to re-charge.
Some lectures may be boring, slow and seem like they’re not really giving anything of value. It can be easy to slip into the habit of checking your phone and passively watching the lecture. Don’t. Although your modules and deadlines are far in the distance from where you currently are, they will come around quicker than you think. A lot of information goes into reports and to hit those deadlines you don’t want to be chasing up past work. The easiest thing to do is be your own best friend and take notes. No matter how vague, short, neat/ scruffy or in whatever format, as long as you have those notes, you have a place to start. Something to jog your memory or trigger an idea is so much more helpful than scrolling through lecture slides, trying to find the right topic.
Make use of University Resources
You’ve paid a lot of money to be at university (and you’ll hear that a lot). That money isn’t just for your course tutors, so make use of all the resources on offer throughout the university. Resources such as the library, revision spaces, computer rooms are all great places to start when you need somewhere quiet to chip away at work. Utilise these spaces away from your halls of residence as you’ll find it hard to concentrate and do much work of any value when you’re in your halls.
Tutors are also a resource; they work more than just the odd few lectures a week. In fact, they’re almost always on campus, never too far away. If you’re ever falling behind in a lecture, struggling on a topic, or need pointing in the right direction, don’t be afraid to organise a one to one meeting. Tutors will appreciate the effort of a student reaching out, and more often than not it will be received with a grateful expression rather than a negative one. After all, tutors are there for your well-being and education.
On the topic of well-being, look after yourself both physically and mentally. There is plenty on offer at university to ensure you are fit, healthy and happy. University can be draining and frustrating, which is why every university will have a wellness team. The wellness team are there to listen, talk and advise when you are struggling. In a time where mental health is in the spotlight, it is becoming more and more common to hear about struggles of mental health. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Think of the wellness team as a gym for your mind, as it’s important to give your mind a workout and keep it healthy.
Overall, University is an exciting point in every student’s life. Everyone looks back on university in fondness of the memories they make and the lessons they learned. Although everything is exciting and new, alongside the freedom, remember why you’re there and don’t get too caught up in the social life. You may not enjoy every minute, but the moments you do, you’ll remember forever.
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