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Freshers' week

Whether you're worried about the workload or making new friends, most students are nervous about starting university. Freshers' week is a great way to help you overcome these fears. Find out how to make the most of it.

Freshers' week usually takes place in the first week of term and is designed to help ease you into uni life.
As well as registering for your course, paying fees and meeting your tutors, freshers’ gives you a chance to meet lots of people before the pressures of lectures begin.

Freshers’ Fair

A high point of the week is the Freshers’ Fair, a chaotic but fun event where you can see all university-based non-academic clubs and societies the students’ union offers. Here you can do any of the following:

  • Join a club or society: These may include sports, politics, rock music, science fiction, martial arts, sailing or fell walking. It’s worth checking out what’s on offer and trying something different as this could help both your social life and your CV in future.
  • Collect freebies: The fair is also a marketing opportunity for commercial companies such as travel specialists, mobile phone providers and banks.
    They tend to run lots of competitions and give away freebies or incentives for signing up.
    Remember you don’t have to stick with anything you sign up to provided you haven’t signed a contract. You can always close that extra bank account that gave away the free camera and you’re not obliged to attend ultimate frisbee classes.
  • Get a job: Potential employers may attend the fair, giving you a chance to find out what jobs are available and potentially apply there and then, saving you the trouble later on.
  • Join the NUS: Getting a National Union of Students card opens up a whole world of student discounts on anything from shows to clothing and food.

Making friends during freshers’ week

Although you’re there to study, that doesn’t mean you should spend your student days locked in the library. Often students make lifelong friends at university and going out and having fun is an important way of getting a good balance.
Follow these tips on making friends early on:

  • Door open policy: If you’re living in halls, keep your door open on the first day as you unpack. That way your neighbours will see that you’re friendly and may feel more compelled to introduce themselves.
  • Get baking: If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen in halls, hang out there and bake some muffins. Few people will be able to resist the delicious smell of freshly baked treats wafting down the corridor. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole hungry horde of friends.
  • We’re all in the same boat: Remember everyone’s just as nervous as you are and will be chuffed if you take the plunge and speak to them first.
  • Join a club or society: They’re a great way of meeting people you don’t live or study with so it’s an ideal way to make friends if you’re living at home. You can find out what’s on offer at the freshers’ fair.
  • Prepare a few funny anecdotes: Your first week will be filled with the same old questions about where you went to school and what course you’re on. Try to come to freshers’ with some funny stories about what you did during the summer or your gap year to help make you stand out in the crowd.
  • You can still ask for help and be independent: Asking other people for help or advice is a scientifically proven way of making friends. If someone’s given you advice, they are more likely to consider you a friend. Give it a try! If nothing else, it’s a good conversation starter.
  • Remember names: You will probably meet a lot of people and unless you have the memory of an elephant, you may not be able to remember their names. A good tip for getting around this is by repeating a person’s name three times in conversation when you first meet them. This should help their name stick in your memory.
  • Resist the urge to go home: Most people get homesick during their first week away. But things get better. If you get really down, you can always phone home or speak to someone at uni for extra support.
  • Say yes to as many people as possible: Try not to turn down any invitations to socialise and go out with people. Obviously, you don’t want to blow your budget visiting clubs during your first week so be reasonable.

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