Heading to university this week? Feeling nervous? Scott Bryan is here to save the day. He rounded up some students and graduates to share their tips for Freshers' Week: break up with your boyfriend, don't kiss too many people and try not to spend all your money...
You will meet many people, but don’t worry, if you get bored of constantly introducing yourself it will soon stop. Jonathan Downing, a PhD student at the University of Oxford, says that Freshers’ is “almost completely [an] unique time.” He says that afterwards “never again did I have that anxiety to learn people’s names, subjects, schools, A-level results etc.”
Food blogger Jinni Lyons says, “The friends you make in Freshers’ Week will not necessarily be your best friends. That’s OK. Don’t worry about it.” Editor David Popey advises that you should not “hesitate to seek out your own kind of people if your housemates turn out to be morons.”
So what will you be doing? Non-stop partying? Possibly. However, “feeling under pressure to have fun all the time is not the reality of uni long-term,” says History undergrad and aspiring journalist Christie Rolley.
Freshers also involves lot of queuing. “From the moment I arrived and unpacked my stuff, it felt like I was being bombarded with ’things to do’,” says Jonathan, including academic meetings and admin. However, there are moments when you don’t do much at all. “On the one hand, getting just to sit in my room without having to desperately learn someone’s name was a nice touch; on the other it was such a change of pace from the rest of the week that it was hard to resist the paranoia that I was missing something.”
Anxious about leaving your boyfriend or girlfriend behind? IdeasTap’s Assistant Editor-cum-Agony Aunt Nell Frizzell suggests that it may be wise to break it off:
“It is enormously likely that you will break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend from home when you move to university. I don’t know a single person who didn’t. Out of my close group of friends, we all had major breakups in the first term.
“Bearing that in mind, I think it’s better to get your heartache, sadness and confusion out of the way before you move away from home. That way, you can start in a new city without the yoke of teary late-night phonecalls, horrible rebound sex and indecisive anxiety over whether you’ll die alone (or less of them, anyway). Harsh as it may seem, first loves are just that – your first. Do the decent thing and set you and your partner free before you fly the nest.”
We don’t mean to be sounding like your mother here, but many of the people who we asked about their Freshers’ Week stressed the need to protect yourself against illnesses.
“It makes me sound old, but do keep a little eye out on your health”, says Alex Badrick, an editor and student from east London. “There’s nothing like drinking too much and dancing until the sun comes up, but there’s also nothing quite like missing all your exams, moving back in with your parents and facing organ failure.” Alex got glandular fever, which he admits could have been avoided if he hadn’t been so excessive.
There’s also freshers’ flu. Nobody is immune. So how can you prevent yourself? Ellie Spanswick, a graduate in Press and Editorial Photography, advises: “stock up on vitamins and juice and fruit/veg to try to avoid the flu. I was ill all term!”
If you’re not careful, in these next few days you’ll spend money like you’ve never spent it before. Pace yourself.
“Don’t feel compelled to go to everything,” says Jonathan. “Think about it. What are you really missing out on if you don’t decide to go on a £25 open top bus tour of the city? A lot gets thrown at freshers during that week and it’s in everyone’s interests to make everything sound essential. If I had my time again I’d be a little bit more choosy about which things I went to. Also, Freshers Fair is a great time to stock up on free stuff. I still have my Blackwells’ coffee mug eight years on.”
Alex sums it all up. “Don’t kiss too many strangers. Make sure to kiss some, though. Don’t drink until you end up in the hospital and socialise as much as you can. Don’t completely forget who you are, don’t feel restrained by the person you were before.”
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Image by Duke Yearlook, available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.