How to Survive Freshers’ Week

8 years ago today I moved to university and my life changed forever.

That sounds pretty dramatic and it wasn’t a change that happened over night but going to university was a big deal for me and my family.

I loved university. All of it. The best bit was making loads of new friends and gaining independence and all of that started in Freshers’ Week. Freshers is a scary time: you have moved somewhere new, you might be away from your family for the first time, or anxious about making new friends. But it was, for me at least, a wonderful experience.

Lisabeth westwood freshers
This was just as I was moving into my room. It was messy already!

Moving day isn’t just big for you

My parents drove me down to university for the first time. It was a four hour drive and then they helped me unload and move into my student halls. What I really regret though is getting them to leave as soon as I was settled in. I’m sure it upset my mother, even if she has never mentioned it. We all knew I did it because I was excited to start my new life but I didn’t think about how my parents were feeling with their youngest child leaving home. So I’m not saying make your family stay with you all day long but don’t forget that their lives will be changing too.

Introduce Yourself

I was so nervous to meet my new flatmates. I had found most of them on FaceBook beforehand so I knew their names and their degree subjects but that didn’t make it less scary to say hello. Everyone feels that way too! So just bite the bullet and knock on a few doors. My mum had brought me some biscuits and a bottle of wine so I had something to share with people and make it less awkward, and it really worked! I lived in a flat with 8 people and some of them have turned out to be – so far – lifelong friends.

That First Night Out

The first day (and Freshers more generally) can be overwhelming with all the new people and events going on. I decided to throw myself into it and my flatmates immediately decided to join a pub crawl that was happening that evening. Whether you drink or not, these events can be a good opportunity to meet people and explore the campus or town. I did make the mistake of not eating enough beforehand and then drinking so maybe stop by the supermarket on the way to university to pick up some pizzas or easy dinner bits.

Freshers’ Fair

Societies can be a great way to join groups and find new interests. That being said, I never actually joined any! But that doesn’t mean I didn’t go to the Freshers’ Fair and sign up to every mailing list going. I was still receiving emails from the Music Society when I graduated having never gone to a single event! Also, the fair can be a good place to score free pens, food, and vouchers.

Above All, Enjoy Yourself!

However you choose to spend your time; whether you already know people from school going or know no one; whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in the middle (that’s me!) have a wonderful time. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you aren’t comfortable doing and be yourself. My undergraduate degree was a great time in my life!

Lisabeth Westwood graduation freshers

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