A 'How-Not-To-Style-Your-Life' Guide

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Advice for Freshers

- If any of you are in the same situation I was in this time last year, there are probably a few things occupying all of your waking thoughts at the moment:

a) Shit. This is it. I’m actually moving to university.
b) …How am I meant to meet new people if I can’t just walk up to them and press A?
c) What if my flatmates don’t watch the bake off?!
e) All of the above.

If any of those sound familiar, I feel you in the most metaphorical way possible. All I can say is that, thankfully, and don’t ask me how, I survived. …And even more shockingly, passed. I’m going into my second year now and I can promise that mourning the loss of fresher freedom is a very real and very serious affliction. I’ve seen some really helpful posts recently about the first year of university and surviving freshers’ week (Hayley’s was a personal favourite) so I thought I’d throw my two cents into the ring and give some advice that I wish I’d gotten before moving to uni. That, and ignoring the future and lingering in the past is my all time favourite hobby so really this is win-win for everyone.

Before moving:
The fight between underpacking and overpacking is as old as time itself, much like cats vs dogs, Montagues vs Capulets and Costa vs Starbucks. Striking a balance between the two is notoriously difficult, but what I found is that soft furnishings like cushions, throws and blankets can make most spaces feel homely without the need for clutter. Also, remember that if you move EVERYTHING from your bedroom at home, you’re probably going to be back at Christmas, and nothing says festive cheer like retiring to a pseudo-prison cell every night.

Fairy lights make everything cuter as well. That’s a fact. Just hide them whenever you have room inspections if they’re considered contraband in your halls (don’t even get me started).

Freshers’ Week:
Freshers’ week is unlike any other week of uni, and everyone’s is different. For some people, usually the binge drinkers, it’s the best week of their lives, for others, it’s the worst, and for some they can take it or leave it. Either way, you only get one (unless you’re like me and are going back to uni a week early to relive freshers alongside your first year successors). I’ve got a lot to say, so let’s make this brief.

- Don’t buy tickets to events beforehand: I’ve already started to see the Facebook event pages surfacing and I promise that it’s just promoters preying on FOMO-suffering pre-fresh. If you buy these tickets, the chances are you’ll turn up to find that your flatmates/the friends you make in the fist few days don’t have tickets so you won’t want to go on your own. Don’t waste your money.

- If you smoke straights, learn to roll now, for the sake of your bank balance.

- Don’t get so drunk the night before the freshers’ fayre that you’re too hungover to go in the morning. That’s EXACTLY what I did and it’s deeply regrettable. I still think about all the free pens I missed out on getting that day.

- There’s a chance that you’ll go the worst club EVER because you don’t know any better that you’ll never go to again – embrace it. You’ll probably leave at half 11 and indulge in a self-pity McDonald’s but that’s great “omg remember when we…” material for the future.

- When people say go out every night, that doesn’t have to mean clubbing to everyone – just try and make sure you spend each night socialising, meeting new people or getting to know the people you’ve already met better. There’s a big chance that you’ll meet people in freshers’ week that you’ll never see again. That’s just a fact. However, you might also meet people at the crowded SU bar from other halls who aren’t on your course who you get on really well with and end up staying really good friends with, like I did! Freshers’ week is nothing if not unique, so just try and do as much as you’re comfortable with and give it a good go.

- Consider setting up online banking before you go so that you can make payments to other people from your phone or computer. It’ll make life so much easier when you owe a flatmate that £6.41 for the Domino’s you 100% don’t regret getting the night before.
- Doing a weekly shop is one of the best ways you can save money. You’ll be much more likely to order aforementioned Domino’s if all that’s left in your fridge is some milk that’s flirting with the idea of going off at any moment.

Surviving halls:
It’s not the end of the world if your flatmate has to use your cutlery, plates or utensils from time to time, but it is if they don’t ask your permission beforehand. Additionally, you reserve the right to have them hanged, drawn and quartered if they don’t wash it up as well.

Experiment a bit:
Whether it’s with your sexuality or your coffee, try something different. If it’s the latter, give some independent coffee shops a go; you might find some absolute gems that leave a much better taste than a questionable cappuccino and some surly service from one of the 47 Starbucks’ in your new city.

Learn to pre properly:
Invest in Cards Against Humanity. It makes pres so fun that at one point you’ll all consider not going out and staying in finishing the game instead.

Thinking ahead:
Don’t rush into organising a house for second year with the people that you only met two days ago. SPOILER: there’s accommodation for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with waiting a bit longer to make sure that you won’t want to smother one of your housemates in their sleep next year.

Finally, if you don’t want to, pay no attention to any of the advice I’ve just given. As I said, your experience as a fresher is going to be completely unique, full of discovering new things and learning what is and what’s not socially acceptable to do around strangers. Try to say yes to as much as you can, but remember that life is too short to find yourself in uncomfortable situations that are easily escapable. Most of all, and I can't stress this enough, let all the 2nd and 3rd year students who actually have to work hard live vicariously through your new found freedom.


  1. very nice post. first of all, good luck to you for your second year. you posted some valid points here. I hope these will help for the newbies in the colleges.

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  3. nice tips for young students!
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