Don’t worry too much! All Fresher’s will have the same fears. I remember I had many of the same worries, but couldn’t wait to get there and start my student life.
Get Your Paperwork Organized
You’ll have been sent lots of paperwork for your first week of university. There’ll be items for your accommodation, your course and to let you know about various groups and activities going on.
Have all your paperwork organized. I had a folder with dividers—a folder that I would later use for one of my course modules. My course paperwork was in one section and my accommodation information in another. I also had sections for banking documents and my work (as I was already connected to a military scheme before attending).
Having it all together and all organized made it much easier when it came to the days I would need the paperwork. I even organized anything that I got when collecting my accommodation keys—and there was a lot! Doing it on the first night meant I didn’t have to search around unpacked items in a rush on the days I’d need it.
If you’re not starting university this year but looking at it for next year, you can get a head start to make sure other paperwork is started. One thing I forgot to do was send off a passport photo to the university for my student ID card. I had to organize that while I was there, and it meant I missed out on the first night of student events.
‘Meet’ Your Flatmates
Some universities make it possible for you to meet your flat mates before the start of university. They have forums, separated into different halls of residence and levels. Find out if your university offers this.
It’s a great way to find out who you’re living with. You can arrange to meet before you go up to your rooms or arrange for something to do on the first night.
Just having one friendly face can make the initial day seem less daunting. I was lucky to already have friends at the university, and knew a few people attending the day that I did. In the end, I actually made more friends with those on my course than in my halls of residence!
Get Things Packed in Specific Boxes
In your first year, you’ll likely live in halls of residence. I highly recommend this as it makes finding new friends and finding locations much easier. While I didn’t make many friends with the people I lived with, I definitely don’t regret opting for halls in that first year.
You’ll only have one room, but I do recommend getting things packed up in specific boxes. Have a box for all your course books and a box for all the kitchen items.
This type of organization just makes things so much easier when it comes to unpacking. You can make sure things end up in the right rooms, and make sure you have everything you need before the start of university.
It’s also a great habit to get into before you move out of halls of residence and into a house with others. Since leaving university, I’ve moved at least 10 times (I left six years ago!). By getting organised like this, moving home is much easier. The kitchen boxes only have kitchen items in, and the bedroom stuff is all together in specifically labelled boxes.
Make a Checklist Before Packing
Checklists are great to make sure you have everything. Write all the items down that you know you will need. If you’re not sure, look through any lists that the university have sent you. I’m also in the process of creating a full university checklist to help you out!
As you pack each item, cross it off your list. Only pack the items that you won’t need until you get to university on the first day. You don’t want to remove it and then forget to put it back in.
Some of the commonly forgotten items include network cards if you have an old laptop, extension leads and USB cables for all devices. I have a bad habit of forgetting a charger for something!
Find Out About Groups and Activities
Not all universities will send information about groups and activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find out. Social media is great, and most universities have Facebook groups and pages.
Find out about all the different social activities and groups that the university have. You will often find out about these at Fresher’s Fair, but it pays to be prepared. The groups usually have member fees, often around £10-£15. Even if you end up not attending the groups, you will pay the money and then lose it.
Being aware of the groups means you can often meet some of the current members and find out more about them. Learn about any social activities they have and whether they help with other aspects of university. You can then go armed knowing the groups you want to join before you get there. It will definitely help to save you money.
Attend Fresher’s Week
I know a few first-year students who chose to only attend the last few days of this, or don’t attend it at all. Those who commute from home are the most likely one to miss out on Fresher’s Week, and it’s such a shame.
This isn’t just a time to get drunk! It’s a chance to meet people on your course and meet your flatmates. Fresher’s Week is a chance to trial the different groups and activities on offer.
This first week is also a chance to get to know the city you’re studying in, and find out about all the discounts available. I used it as a chance to find all the shops I’d need in Birmingham, and got to meet a few people on my course. I even ended up grabbing lunch with one person, because we got on well—we’re still friends (after reconnecting after a small falling out) now.
There are so many students who regret not attending Fresher’s Week. You’ll also find that current students attend (I did as a second, third and final year student), so you get to meet those on your courses in later years and find out more about university life.
The start of university is the start of a new journey in your life. I loved my four years, and despite not doing the best in my degree (the wrong one for me) I don’t regret going. These six tips will hopefully help you knock the worries and go with the excitement of your first day.