It actually can’t get here soon enough. After years of slaving through primary school, you’re finally through the doors and into higher education you go! Suddenly, “freshers week” (aka student orientation) is upon you, and in a few short days you’ll be welcomed into the next four years of your life: mingling with your classmates, learning about course sign-ups and joining extracurricular societies and sports, as well as indulging in (possibly) your first taste of university nightlife. With all the rapid changes your life is about to undergo, here’s a breakdown of what is about to happen during your first week at uni.
Every single club at your university, and by that we mean that: Every. Single. Club. At your university. Will be at the Fresher’s Fair(s). They’re going to encourage you to sign up with almost every means possible: promising free lollipops, t-shirts, goodies, and the promise of great socials, events, and parties to attend. By all means, please sign up! You never know when you could discover something new you could absolutely love, and anything you may have the slightest interest to could be something you will make great new and interesting friends at! Yeah, it may be strange when you get updates from the Cambridge University Squirrel Appreciation Club, but hey, if they ever have some cool event going on, know that you’re on the invite list.
Give it a Go Day(s)
This generally goes for sports teams, but most universities will set aside time for competitive, recreational, and newbie athletes to get a taste for the variety of sports offered. Whether you’re an Olympic hopeful or just starting out, there will be all levels of teams to try. And, unlike high school, there are generally no cuts– even if you’re not good enough to make the “varsity” or “competitive” teams, you can always try the “recreation” or “beginner” teams that not only offer great instruction, but will also include you with all the fun social activities that will allow you to mingle with those on the competitive teams. Go, try out anything you may be interested in, and there’s no harm in trying something out and disliking it– just rule it out and commit to the stuff you enjoy! So go on, join the Quidditch team (we know you want to…).
Matriculation and Class Selection
While it may be tempting to put these aspects on the back burner, don’t forget to make an appointment with an adviser or visit the Academic Fair to select your modules. If you wait, it’s possible some of the classes you need/want may be closed, and you’ll have to put off other modules to later semesters (which could affect your graduation date!) so it’s important to put an appointment firmly on the calendar.
Go to the sales.
While the idea of having someone’s old couch in your room may not sound appealing, university secondhand sales will save your wallet. Go to poster sales, bike sales, and dorm room sales– this goes especially for students who live farther away or international students– and you’ll save a lot on shipping fees. If you don’t need something immediately, don’t buy it; there will likely be sales going on all year long. However, it’s a great way to find some posters to fill your bare walls or get a nice shiny bike to cart you ’round campus.
Figure out where stuff is.
Make sure to orient yourself with campus before classes start, so visit all of your lecture halls, various sports centers, and even make sure to check out where the sale aisle is in your local grocery store. You’ll thank yourself when you’re riding home in the pouring rain or running late to class! Learn where all the shortcuts are, and go on walks to check out where all of the cool hangouts are (especially the coffee shops, and the best spots to study in the library). That way, you don’t have to make a fool of yourself later on in the year.
Sample the events.
Freshers will be filled with amazing events put on by your Student Union and local nightclubs. Make sure to get out to as many as you can handle. (Don’t force yourself to go to every one. Pace yourself, or you’ll be ready to collapse before lectures even begin!) It’s great to figure out which places you like and which you don’t fancy so much, and at which places you can splurge and at which you can save!
And just enjoy yourself.
Don’t be too worried about which friends you’ll have forever (“fresher’s friends”– people you’ll be inseparable with during freshers and will spend the rest of the year avoiding– are a very real thing) and worry about making big choices within your first week– there’s a reason why university lasts four years! Take your time, enjoy the moment, and don’t stress. (That’s what the first week of lectures are for!) No matter where you’re headed, freshers week is going to be awesome!