Welcome to my new blog! Today I’m going to be sharing what I wish I knew as a fresher student. Freshers week or weeks are starting very soon, some may have already started so I thought now would be the perfect time.
If you don’t know already, I’m a second-year student studying Environmental Science – I blog about that (and mental health) over at Enviroline Blog. I didn’t really get to experience freshers fortnight or even go to freshers fair. However, this guide is everything a first-year uni student should know.
Sort out a bin schedule straight away
I had so much trouble with my flatmates not taking out the bins! I had 7 people, including me, in my flat and only 3 of us were willing to take out the bins. They would need to be taken out about twice a week. We only made a bin schedule in about May and even then, the others would just let it build up until one of us three did it.
I know that those first few weeks are a little bit awkward and you don’t want to talk about bins. But if you don’t set up a schedule, you’ll end up being one of the only people who bother to empty it.
Not everyone wants to be friends with you
I’m not saying don’t be social. But, in my first year, I tried so hard to get my flatmates to hang out with me and they just wouldn’t say a thing. We walked to the beach…in total silence. There was a flat competition going on and I really wanted to take part in it but nobody would do it with me. I started to think there was something wrong with me, there wasn’t. They just didn’t want to be social and that’s fine. Join societies, talk to your coursemates. As long as you can communicate with your flatmates about household things, you don’t have to be friends with them.
Don’t burn out
Moving into university is quite nerve-wracking, but I definitely studied too much in my first year. I was really worried about failing and obviously, that’s not something you want to happen but I definitely overworked. First-year doesn’t count towards anything, you just need to pass (at least that’s what happens at my uni). It’s about getting used to the exam structure and how it’s marked.
Be prepared for fire alarms
As a fresher student, you are probably staying in halls. Therefore you are guaranteed to experience fire alarms at the most inconvenient times. For me, they started off saying there would be one every Monday at 2 pm. That lasted about 2 weeks, from then on countless people would burn their food so having a fire drill on top was excessive.
The worst one was at 4 am and I forgot my coat so I was standing outside in the freezing cold for half an hour in just my PJs. They couldn’t find the key to turn the alarm off, thankfully it’s normally no longer than 10 minutes of standing outside. Still, it taught me to be prepared for the next one!
- Have your coat or dressing gown on your door or chair the night before
- Keep a mask in the pocket of your coat and dressing gown
- Leave your keys in an obvious place – you don’t want to get locked out in the middle of the night! (though saying this, I totally relied on one of my flatmates remembering 🙈)
- Don’t go outside in your slippers – they will get so dirty and then you won’t be able to wear them until you clean them…which let’s be honest, will be a while!
Learn how to reference quickly
Ask for extra help, ask your friends, ask anyone! Referencing is something you have to do for every assignment so it’s important to learn as soon as possible. Also, do not leave it until the end of the assignment, doing it as you go will make your life so much easier.
It’s okay to feel homesick and it’s okay to go home
I felt really homesick, sometimes I still do and that’s totally okay. Maybe some people can’t wait to move out and I thought I would be the same but I’ve learnt that I’m a homebody! A lot of people will tell you that you can’t visit home within the first 2 weeks but if you are struggling, then you should. I got really lonely one day and the one person who I had really clicked with was going home for the weekend so I decided to go too. I felt so much better for it, a little cuddle with my cats really made me feel better.
You will make friends
It sounds a bit stupid saying I didn’t think I would make friends. But in reality, I’m sure many people felt that way. It’s a natural worry, you don’t know anyone. The brilliant thing about university is the variety of personalities you will come across. You will find your people!
What do you wish you knew as a fresher student?