Hi there, I’m Fiona and I’ve worked in Student Support for over ten years now.
Here are my tips for a successful freshers week and beyond. They might seem a bit basic, but when you’re in a new environment, with new people, trying to absorb the whole experience – it’s really easy to forget the simple stuff and the impact it can have.
Eat & drink; Water!
I warned you they were basic. Freshers week can be typically packed full with induction, registration, moving into your accommodation, trying to make friends, socialising and just life. The everyday tasks of laundry, grocery shopping and trying to make that student budget work. So, if you’re on the go, it might be easier to grab snacks – but do make sure that you eat and work hard to stay hydrated.
You’re likely to be in a new environment, and even if you’re usually someone that sleeps well, you might struggle at first. It’s also likely to be a bit noisier than you’re used to, especially in university accommodation – although this should settle down. But if you’re struggling to sleep, consider what your home routine would usually look like. Try, as much as you can, to mimic that routine in your halls.
No one wants to be locked out at 3am, and not know how they’re going to get back inside the halls. Save the security number for your accommodation as a priority on the first day. You are going to lose your keys/key card at some point…probably very soon.
There is a lot to do during freshers so make a schedule or plan of what you want to attend and where it’s being held. Class induction? Library tour? Football club social? Free cookery class? List everything you want to achieve with times and locations and make a plan. Photograph flyers and induction timetables, so that if you lose the paper copy you’ll know where you’re supposed to be and when.
Make sure that you include time for food shopping/meal prep etc, and things from your usual routine like going to the gym or for a swim, or that time can vanish quickly. You want to be focused on what you’re doing, not worried about if you’re missing something.
With the whirlwind of freshers – don’t be surprised if you also have long periods of very, very quiet time. If you find yourself with a few spare hours and no plans – take the time to do something you really enjoy. Just for yourself, a reward for all of your achievements so far.
Stay connected with home
You might feel uncomfortable admitting that you want to visit home during the weekends, or you’re just craving for someone to do the cooking for you. But in no other scenario, would we displace someone from all their usual support systems and expect them to be completely okay. Stay in contact with your friends, you’ll be seeing them in a couple of months. Make plans to go home, so it doesn’t feel like this is now life, forever. It’s not. Try and take the pressure off yourself, by having dates in your calendar to count down to.
It’s okay, not to be okay
Does everything feel a bit ‘off’? Does it seem like everyone else is absolutely flying and diving into their best life, and you’re not quite keeping up? That is completely normal. Please don’t worry, and understand that everyone, yes everyone, at some point is going to be having moments of doubt, social anxiety, and a sense that they’re missing out. It’s okay not to be okay.
Be kind to yourself. If you’re really struggling, or you think someone else is, reach out to the Student Support and Welfare services at your university. They will exist either in faculty, accommodation, or university wide. If you need help or you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out early. Don’t let little worries turn into bigger problems that might stop you enjoying yourself and being able to engage.
There really will be so much support offered by your university and the local Student Union. If you have any doubts or worries, reach out. There won’t be any judgement and support services are usually both free and confidential.
Student Support Coordinator