You can never deny the sweetest feeling one gets when it comes to joining university. It’s always a stepping stone in a person’s journey as a University student where one discovers the principles and fundamentals of all the course units. Fresher’s week as it is commonly known worldwide is about learning how many shots your budget can be stretched to and how to work your way through a different environment. Having successfully survived fresher’s week myself way back in 2007, here are my top tips to make your first moments easier and more enjoyable at that University of your dream.
1. Door stop believing
Bring a doorstop mentality. This is particularly important in your first few days, because a hello to a passing Hostel mate through an open door or a chap at the Cafeteria may well lead to a cup of tea. Personal debate about whether the brutalist architecture of your halls is aesthetically pleasing (it isn’t actually you want to create a conversation) and the next thing you know you’ll be backpacking round the campus Area together. So, if you want to go to Prague, bring a doorstop. However, do remember that many doors in university halls are ‘fire doors’ so always check the policies on holding doors open.
2. The social network
As well as being brilliant for stalking potential new friends before you arrive, or better still, putting your “brave pants” on and actually chatting to them, Social media Platforms for example; WhatsApp, Facebook, Snap chat Twitter are a great place to find out all the details of your fresher’s events e.g. in Uganda all universities adopted an event called ‘Bazzer’ where Freshers are introduced to all types of things, companies show case their products and Items are sold at a discounted fee. Now if you like to plan, social media is a great way to find out exactly what’s happening, so you know whether to pack your octopus costume for an underwater party, carry your Vuvuzella for a football Match, put on white for that Event because you don’t want to look silly when you put on Black for a White Party. The most important thing is Do you really need to go on yet another campus tour? Yes. The faster you learn your way around campus and around all the red tape, the more at ease you’ll feel, and the better prepared you’ll be when issues arise.
3. Gold, frankincense and brownies
Fresher’s week is all about making friends and it turns out it’s pretty easy if you greet your new hostel mates with homemade brownies, lemonade, or even just custard creams students aren’t picky. As well as making a friendly first impression, it’s a good excuse to knock on some doors for easy conversation opening.
4. Make your room a home
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in student accommodation which are commonly known as Houses or Halls (obviously dormitories), the first impressions of your room may be that it appears somewhat reminiscent of a prison cell. But don’t worry. You will grow to love the austere concreteness, characteristic of its brutalist architecture. In the meantime, bring something with you to make it feel more homely. Whether it’s bunting, a death metal poster, your favourite Team Poster or a photo of your grandma, get something up on those empty walls, so that when you get into bed on your first night, it feels more like home and less like a characterless box. And don’t worry you will get your room filled within no time its just patience. Because by look of things right now you seem not need most of the things in the your life but as time goes on you will find that a stove will come in handy, a kettle may be and others.
5. The alternative
Fresher’s week certainly has a reputation for Night Prayers, drinking games, house parties, stories about the rich and the poor, stolen traffic cones. But if sticky nightclub floors and rave paint don’t appeal to you, universities offer plenty of alternatives such as comedy nights, paintballing, cinema trips and pub quizzes and more. Even if you are enjoying the bar crawls, different Disco Theques complimentaries and the abundance of cheap drinks that are on offer, I would highly recommend taking a night off. Attend an alternative event or encourage your friends to stay in and have a film night. But most importantly, get at least one early night. You’ve got 3,4or 5 years (depending on the program you are taking) of fun ahead of you; so you don’t want to burn out on day 5 because you’ve got a severe case of FOMO (anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media).
6. Keep your Hostel mates and roommates happy
House sharing is one of the best parts of student life, Because if you are lucky that other student might bring a lot of items and stuff you would just dream of having, but when no one has washed up the dishes for 2 weeks and there’s an unidentifiable mouldy carbohydrate living in a pan on the stove or cooker, it can wear pretty thin. So it’s really important to start as you mean to go on and make a brilliant first impression of your washing-up abilities. Have a chat as soon as you can about how you’re going to share the cleaning and what food is communal and reach an agreement that everyone’s happy with. One way is using a phone app like OurHouse, which can set up duty rotas and has a joint shopping list and kitty, to help avoid arguments and awkward conversations and make house sharing fun. Other apps such as Splittable and Wunderlist can also help with this.
7. Food circus
For many, fresher’s week is a first foray into a world of supermarkets, l,ocal markets, food stalls, takeaways recipes, colanders. For some it will be a challenge, and so the idea of a cooking rota may well strike terror in your heart. But don’t chicken out and opt for a life of Chapati and beans and Rolexes, because in my experience a cooking rota works for everyone. In my Hostel, some would knock up deep fried Plantains, sweet potatoes or eggs on a Tuesday night. Others had to be taught how to light a stove or connect a cooker to a power source even still boil an egg, but finished their 3rd year making Exotic Mexican salsa burger or Masala steak with mash potatoes, something I attribute to the cooking rota we had as roomates. As well as being far more economical than cooking for one, a rota saves you from eating the same meal over and over. And what could be finer than coming back from the library (or bar?) to a homemade dinner with your friends?
Fresher’s week bombards you with things to do and places to be and unless you write them down, they can all get a bit much the pub quiz tomorrow night; the trials for the University Volley team or soccer team on Tuesday; the Chess club on Friday evening, the seminar next week where you will be for the group discussion, picking the book you haven’t read yet from the library and so on. My recommended organisational method is Google calendar which allows you to sync your university timetable with your personal calendar, and easily move events around, Diary or sticky notes on your door trust me this is a door you open to get out of your room you wont miss a thing.
9. Up keep
As a student, your wallet is like an onion. When you open it, it makes you cry. To avoid blowing your entire student loan by the Thursday of fresher’s week, work out a budget and stick to it. Set up a student bank account to avoid worrying too much about your overdraft. And check out the competition some banks offer great deals this you find out during bazzer as we earlier talked about, a good budget will enable you to cater for things you real need and those you can do without. Plan how much you are going to spend on a night out with the boys or the girls. My advice is that if you are going to a buy booze in a night club try to leave your money in your hostels or you will end up spending it all.
10. Membership subscription
Make the most of the fresher’s fair. It’s all very well signing up to all the 63 clubs or societies at campus, but make sure you actually try out a few. Otherwise, you’ll spend a year receiving emails and messages from an ocean line clubs, and still be unable to pull a rabbit from a hat. Societies are brilliant places to make friends, and whether you want to play soccer or sample cheeses, there’s one out there for everyone. My most important tip for surviving fresher’s week: remember, that you are not alone and that you will find your place. Whether its buying each other shots from your ever-dwindling bank accounts, learning how to play extreme frisbee together or helping each other work out how to use a cooker or a kettle (turns out it isn’t mysteriously piped into the back of the machine), just enjoy fresher’s week and the rest will fall into place. I promise!
Welcome all Fresh Boys and Girls enjoy your journey to success in all your different Universities!!