Since my second year is about to begin, I can’t help but think back to what it was like for me last year as a fresher myself and going into my Freshers Week. I didn’t know what to expect but I remember distinctly how nervous I was. I wished someone gave me a few pointers on how to handle my first week. So, if I could go back in time and give myself some advice, it would be:
1. Don’t attend every single event.
Of course, being present for Freshers Week would help and I definitely recommend everyone to get involved. Grab some freebies from the Freshers Fair. Dance away at night in the clubs. But if I went to all of the programmes that were offered, I would’ve burned myself out faster than Usain Bolt could finish a 100m race. You’ll drain your energy. And you’ll probably drain your bank account too.
2. Join a club, or society, or both.
It’s important to feel at home when you’re at uni and to be included. What better way to do that than signing up to a sports club or a kooky society you’ve never heard of before but sounds interesting? Being invested in an extra-curricular activity made me feel like I had the uni team spirit (cue cheesy gag reflex.)
3. Smile to strangers
Let’s be honest, making friends is one of the main things that made Freshers Week a huge, traditional event. Now, I’ve always been an introvert at heart – socialising and making friends doesn’t come naturally to me. But when you’re new to a place, you need someone. You need people you can hang out with and bitch about how terrible your lecture was or how cute you found that person who just walked by. Freshers Week of uni is the best time to find your ‘squad’ because everyone else is in the same boat as you. Be approachable: smile and have a conversation with strangers.
4. Explore the campus
Now I’m basically going to contradict myself by saying that socialising and making new friends isn’t the only important thing to do during Freshers Week. Get to know your uni too: where to eat, where your lectures/seminars/tutorials are, so you don’t starve or get lost. Find shortcuts. The one thing I regretted for my Freshers Week was that I missed the opportunity to get to know my “new home” and visit town.