Around this time last year, my search history on Google and YouTube would have been loaded with – “uni experience, freshers tips, university life” etc. I was talking to a friend the other day who is basically going through the exact same stage, and that inspired me to write up this freshers’ guide! I’m quite looking forward to meeting the new freshers and listening in to their awkward making-friend type conversations. I literally can’t believe the excitement is over for me and that I’m going into second year! I’ve split this up into the following sections: moving in, making friends, work, clubbing & boys and family. So just skip to whatever may benefit you!
So I guess first I should adress the dilemma of moving out of your parents house or staying. Most people go fairly far away for uni where moving out is the only option, however if you are close enough to commute to uni (which I am), I would still suggest moving out, even if it’s only for your first year. It makes it a lot easier to meet people and make friends and you also get a good taste of freedom and independence which of course gives you essential life skills.
My first and most important suggestion is to think very carefully about where you choose to live, for first years this is most likely to be in halls of residence. Halls can be very different – some halls are so antisocial, and some are full of postgrads (at least at my uni); this really affects your experience! Just do your research – the student room is great for this, you can also speak to people you may know at the uni. Now, when it comes to moving in on your first day, I’d recommend that you pack light; I took 80% of my clothes and shoes with me to university during my first term, and each term I’d come back with lighter and lighter bags. You don’t have to haul everything you own out with you, especially as it’s not even a permanent stay.
Ever heard the term “beg”? Well, my friends, that is what you have to be. You have to try extra hard to get to know new people, but don’t worry because everyone is trying extra hard to make friends too. You literally have to talk to everyone and anyone. I remember the first people I spoke to (other than my room mate), were sitting around a table in our hall’s courtyard, and I literally just sat down with them and introduced myself. I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t go back to that period of trying extremely hard to make friends if I had the choice. It does seem really forced, but eventually one of those people you speak to you’ll click with. I wrote about this in my first year uni experience post – I went to uni with the intention of meeting people exactly like my friends from home, but this year I’ve met amazing people that have lived all over the world, in all different parts of England, with so many different stories and cultures – and I am so grateful that I have. The majority of my friends, and my closest friends, I actually met in halls. Otherwise I met a good couple of friends at societies, mainly the ACS society. In terms of classes I really only made ‘acquantancies’, however in my econ class I did make one really good friend.
I’m not going to sit and preach about doing all of your work to the best of your ability, as that is not what I did this year. Some lectures I didn’t go to, some class work I did sometimes was rushed or copied. However I did always try and sit down every now and again to look over some stuff, I worry a lot so there’s only so much I could allow my work to build up – and when the Easter holidays began? I was working all day, every day. My first year counts for a 1/9 of my final grade, I know many unis don’t have their first years count at all. I managed to get a 2.1 which I am satisfied with. I know a lot of people don’t work extremely hard during their first year, it’s a very typical thing, but just make sure you’re not working so little that you can’t pick it back up! Also consider the course you’re doing, if you’re doing a very hard course like straight Maths, there’s only so much you can slack before it all comes back and hits you!
I’ve grouped clubbing and boys together as in some ways they go hand in hand. A lot of people go to uni and are ready to go absolutely crazy with freedom, and I say I can relate in some way as my only concern when I was started uni was going out and having fun. In this sense there’s not many tips I can give you, as everyone’s motivations are different, some people don’t want to club at all – but if you do, try not to to take it overboard. There are a lot of people out there that want to, and do, take advantage of drunk, vulnerable girls in clubs so make sure you’re careful and that you have a good group of friends around you that will look out for you. I’ve been out with groups before that look out for no one, they don’t even care, let alone know if someone in the group has left the club – keep this is mind when you go out. Not every invitation you get to “come out” is one you need to accept.
Boys. I always think with boys that there’s only so much advice you can give, as a lot of what you know is through experiencing different things and learning from them. A lot of first year boys (as we all know) want ONE thing, so please don’t be naive hahaha. If you do happen to meet someone you like, it could go well, and I do have some friends that are in happy relationships. BUT if it ends badly – just learn from it. For a little while I was with someone this year that, in a nutshell, wasn’t very nice. Sure – some extremely sad days followed, but I feel like it all changed the person that I am. I’m a lot happier now and I also feel that I am more mature in the decisions that I make. My two main pieces of advice: listen to your friends and NEVER SETTLE.
I’ve never been one to get homesick. Even if I miss people, if I know I’m going to see them again soon, it’s something that I can quickly get over. However, this uni year was the first time I’ve ever truly felt homesick. To the point where I’d sometimes be on the brink of tears. This subsided for me about about 1.5-2 weeks. But my advice here is to stick it out. I know a few people who lived close enough to uni to commute – felt homesick at halls for a bit and basically went to live back at home, moving out of halls. Don’t be that person – stick it out!
I hope these tips are able to help! University is a great experience, that I’ m still experiencing, so definitely get excited. The likelihood that you’re about to have one of the best years of your life is pretty high. 😉
I remember this time last year, I was my search history was full of ” how to’s and what not to do” In uni. It feels so good that people are sharing their experiences. I probably would share some too, lovely advice.
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I’m in that exact position now! I can’t tell you the amount of ‘uni experience’ and ‘freshers tips’ posts and videos I have gone through… its ALOT. but i’m so excited, this blog post was really helpful 🙂 I hate the ones that say things like ‘your first year doesn’t count so just have fun’, no?? like I’m not going to spend all my time studying but I’m not going to not try either, a balance is needed
Helena / helenaterry.blogspot.co.uk