Student Guide to Freshers Week
It’s September, which can only mean one thing. The start of term, and Freshers Week.
University students across the UK will embark on a three year adventure where education, making friends and a decent degree is at the heart of their interests. That is if they don’t end drowning in a pool of vodka shots and trebles, hoarding tins of baked beans from the reduced aisle at Tesco and embracing their new found Home Alone lifestyle by playing ‘duvet bobsled’ down the stairs of their Student Halls.
So first of all we’d like to say congratulations for getting into University. Welcome to three years of long holidays, sleeping and partying. However, sticking out three years is tougher than it looks.
Here at Red Hot Sunglasses we provide you with the Ultimate Student Freshers Week Survival Guide. We are here to help you deal with those hangovers, settle into your accommodation and advise on how to maximise your University experience.
And yes designer sunglasses are an absolute essential.
Settling In To Your Accommodation
Some of you will be in halls. Others may have missed the boat and have ended up off-campus sharing a student house. Either way this might be your first time living away from home so just make sure you’re prepared…
- Try to arrive early to unpack as your first week on campus will be a busy one. Between registering for your student ID, enrolling in classes and attending welcome seminars, you’ll be visiting Freshers fares and socialising with new friends so leave plenty of time spare.
- Explore your campus and carry a map for the first few weeks so you can get used to living in a new place; plus you’ll be (slightly) less late for lectures that way.
- Find out in advance about bus or train services, student passes and bike shed facilities to make transport easy
- Stock up on the essentials. Cleaning products, cooking appliances and food such as pasta, rice, pot noodles and tinned peaches in bulk should be able to last you until Reading Week and possibly the end of time.
- When un-packing, a useful tip is to leave your dorm door open and stick on your favourite music. Not only is this a great conversation starter but it gives the impression that you’re warm, open and friendly. A cake or box of sweets you can share will also serve as a great way to make friends.
- Believe it or not, after a desolate Autumn term filled with cheap cider and no heating, you will feel a little homesick so be sure to take a few home comforts. Your favourite duvet, pictures of friends and family, posters from your own bedroom and your secret stuffed elephant you don’t want anyone to know about will be warm reminder of your parents’ house as you lie hungover in a pit of wintery despair.
- Don’t worry if you don’t quite get along with some of the other people in your Student Halls. Everyone at university comes from all walks of life and each have different interests so don’t sweat it if you’re room-mate is a weird guy who collects toenails. Just remember: You won’t have to live with him next year, your door has a lock and you’ll meet plenty of cool people on your course that will have more er… similar interests to you.
- Many parents and pals from home end up missing you too once you fly the nest you know… Be prepared to receive a couple of care packages which will vary from educational gifts and household items (We know someone who received a spatula from their mum… no joke) to your favourite snacks and anything you’ve forgotten to pack (which you almost certainly will have). Keep in touch via Skype to let them know you’re still alive.
University can be really daunting, especially if you’re a bit of a wallflower, but don’t worry; everyone is in the same boat. A lot of students are leaving behind their family, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends and are desperate to make new mates… Be the one to make the first move
- Be the one who smiles and says hello. You won’t regret it and everyone else will be relieved that you’ve got there first.
- Attend everything. The easy thing to do after all that unpacking is to crash out and sleep for days before the 9am lectures start. However, simply visiting your Uni common room, communal kitchen or student union will fill your free time and allow you to mingle with the other Freshers.
- Universities know all too well that socialising and making connections is part of the appeal which is why they host special Fresher Fares, Welcome Wagons, Special Interest Societies and potentially AA Meetings as well as the annual Freshers Ball so everyone can get to know each other and the University. Join up for any societies, clubs or the gym to ensure you get to meet a good mix of people who share your interests. However be prepared for awkward Ice-Breaker exercises
- Drinking Games such as ‘I Have Never’, ‘The Century Club’ and ‘Beer Pong’ are all popular choices that lift spirits before a night out as well as revealing a hell of a lot about your new mates.
Student Finance A.K.A. So You’re Poor Now.
Once the initial part of your student loan has been spent, you’re going to need to learn how to become thrifty – and you’ll need to learn fast! There’s a reason students get 10% off…
- If you haven’t handed in your student finance forms yet, be prepared for a delay. Student Finance is literally the most frustrating thing on Earth and you will tear your hair out filling in forms, standing in line and waiting to speak to telephone operators. However, much like a queue for Space Mountain, it pays off in the end. Try to get your forms in early for the subsequent three years, because boy will you need those pennies in time!
- Save some serious dollar on your Reading List by hunting for you Uni’s second hand book shop. Usually every campus will have a book store which stocks all the obvious titles you’ll need but occasionally a stroke of brilliance will allow you buy these on-site from former students for a cheaper price – and it’ll probably have their notes in too!. Local Oxfam stores and Amazon also tend to have old textbooks which have been donated for a much cheaper price. This will come in handy if all the copies from the library have been nabbed.
- Student Shopping Events are becoming all the rage. High street stores such as Office, Topshop, River Island etc. are known for having student lock-in evenings where everyone with an NUS card gets 25% which makes sourcing your ‘First Day’ outfit a hell of a lot easier.
- No money but got a big night out coming up? Student Unions over the last few years have been hosting annual fashion Swap Shops where people can bring their old clothes and swap them for others’ unwanted fashion cast-offs. Money needn’t cross your palm for this and these things are usually catered! (Yay)
- Buy a piggy bank; you’ll be astounded at how much change you accumulate
- Cut your bills in half by having friends over and taking turns to host fun nights in. That way you’ll save on electricity, water and heating as well as food if you split the cost on a takeaway pizza.
It’s most likely that you’ll find yourself becomes a starving artist/English Language student/mathematician/Med-Student etc. whilst at University. And cooking is hard.
- It’s almost as if people have caught on to the fact that us young 20-somethings are terrible at cooking because there are now so many cookbooks aimed at students featuring simple yet hearty meals. We’re sure this is a parting gift that you’re mum won’t mind buying for you as sending lasagne’s through the post can be quite costly.
- Visit your local supermarket late at night. Alternatively the best option is going to a fruit and veg stand for the best low-price healthy meals but students don’t always have the time and rarely eat fruit or veg for that matter. Your best bet is popping to your local supermarket store an hour before closing to pick up all the last minute reductions.
- Make like your Grandma and start freezing loaves of bread. Trust us, it works.
- Most restaurants offer special discounts for students if you ask in advance whilst sites such as GroupOn sell vouchers to save you up to 70% on three-course meals at top eateries. Yo! Sushi host a special Blue Monday where all their dishes are just £2.50 whilst Nando’s now provide ‘Chicken Cheques’ so you can gain points with every meal. Pizza Express conveniently host a great deal with EE (formerly Orange) to offer a 2 for 1 on pizza as well as cinema tickets.
- Avoid the Fresher Fifteen and Fresher Flu by eating healthy, taking a break from partying once in a while and dragging yourself to the gym… occasionally.
- Why not try our Brand Buyer Philly’s recipe for Pappa al Pomodoro
- Making huge batches of food has its benefits.
1) You can freeze it and survive on it for the remainder of the week
2) It means that everyone else who can’t be bothered to cook in your flat can share this with you and can take turns cooking for the masses. Nothing goes to waste in Student Accommodation.
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that drinking and partying will be high on your agenda no matter what you study and you’ll probably do A LOT of it even before you meet your form tutor. We can only advise you to drink responsibly and ensure that you get yourself a nice greasy fry up the following day at the Union Café.
- Stick with friends on nights out and make sure you have the numbers of several taxi companies in your phone as well as plenty of money in case you should get lost.
- Topshop have done us the favour of creating a special hangover kit which contains a de-puffing eye mask, re-hydration cream, a toothbrush and toothpaste (for those doing the walk of shame from a friends’ house) and gum to make your boozy breath smell fresher. If only it contained a cheeseburger and some designer sunglasses! Luckily we’ve got the latter covered.
Invest in a cool satchel bag or backpack as well as the bare minimum of stationary for taking notes during lecturers
Be that loser taking notes on their tiny, tiny laptop or the person who is constantly asking to borrow a pen.
Create a cool Spotify playlist with friends to enjoy if you host a House Warming party in your dorm
Offer to serenade your new friends with your guitar/keyboard/trombone and insist that ‘You don’t take requests’. They won’t be friends for long
Ask people about themselves. Show that you’re interested in their lives and what course they’re studying. If you have absolutely no idea what a degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics Programs entails – ASK!
Keep waffling on about your ‘Gap Yah’ and how you broke up with the love of your life over the summer.
Purchase a multi-purpose Swiss Army Knife
Fashion a spoon from Swiss cheese like our Brand Buyer Philly to eat a tin of beans
Go all out when it comes to fancy dress. Most clubs host themed nights in the first few weeks of University and you’re guaranteed to spot enormous groups of pirates, Ghostbusters and bed sheet clad toga-party goers at some point.
Turn up to a fancy dress party in a lame half-assed costume which involves taking off your shirt to flaunt your abs or any outfit where you are required to wear hot pants and cat ears simultaneously.
Have plenty of fun out on the town . Follow the Fresher’s Week traditions of fashioning the ultimate Wizard Stick from tins of cheap horrible lager, doing shots until your heart is content and utilizing 2 for 1 offers of Trebles.
End the night by vomiting in your own hair, or on anyone’s duvet/cat/face before subsequently snogging the most hideous toothless person in the club. You probably will anyway, but try not to.
Try to get as much out of your new hometown whilst at University and try to visit your friends hometowns in the holidays
Create a sorority and start a brutal conflict with a rival University who are distinctly posher or scarier than you
Got any anecdotes from your own Uni days?
What are you most scared about or looking forward to at University?
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