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A guide to Fresher’s Week

Campuses around the country are preparing for the next few weeks and the shiny new first years that will be unleashed. Stalls are set up. Societies are reeling people in with nights out and free stuff. Those shiny new first years are getting set to start college and get their first taste of life after school.It’s Fresher’s Week!

Fresher’s week happens differently depending on what college you’re going to. In some places it’s a bigger deal than others. But whether it’s big or small, when you’re starting college for the first time, it can be a lot of fun.

It can also be little overwhelming. New places, new faces, confusing timetables and no one to tell you what to do. Chances are it’s one of the first times in your life you’ve had so much freedom, and now you have to figure out how to handle it.

The first thing we say is don’t panic. Why do we we say this? Because:

A) You might be so excited that you want to do absolutely everything because this is the best week of your life and you can’t miss any of it aaahhhhhh etc.

B)You might be terrified and want to hide under your bed.

To the As out there, you will have many, many opportunities to have fun in college, so take it easy. Seize the opportunities, but don’t get too overwhelmed by the amount of new things to do, or burn out going out every night. You get to stay here and do this for a few years!

To the Bs, you will find your feet in college, your own gang and your own pace. There really is something for everyone. Take your time with it. Don’t hide under the bed though. The unknown can be scary so go have a look around, get familiar with campus. Join some societies (more on this below – they are the best places to make friends with people who are into the same stuff). Enjoy! You get to do this your own way.

Drinking it in

There’s undoubtedly going to be a lot of parties, nights out, drink promotions and all that. Just be sensible about it. Pace yourself, don’t get twisted and watch out for your mates. You’ll want to remember this in years to come!

Societies

Depending on the size of the college you’re going to, there’ll be different societies for different activities and interests. From film to food to ultimate frisbee, there’ll be something you’re interested in. Societies are a great way to meet people, especially if your class is big. They can also can give you the chance to volunteer, get experience and bump up your CV.

Classes

This might sound obvious, but try to make it to your first week of lectures and seminars. These are the ones where you’ll be briefed on what’s expected over the year, and given your reading lists etc. Take notes of any details, like room numbers, times or dates when essays or projects are due in.

Depending on your course, lectures might be quite different from school. Learning how to take notes and stay on track can take a little time, but keep at it. If you’re having trouble, talk to your tutor or Student’s Union Welfare Officer.

Getting the basics down

Pay attention when your given your email passwords. Most of the information you need in college will be communicated through email, and if you don’t get this all sorted it can cause problems later on.

The same goes for the library – go on the tour, learn where stuff is and how to check out the books you need. You mightn’t be using it too much for the next few weeks, but there will come a time when you’ll need it. You don’t want to be trying to figure it out when you have an essay due or an exam the coming up.

Away from home?

For a lot of people, starting college means moving away from home, family and friends. This can be so exciting, but also a little daunting at first. It’s only natural to feel a bit homesick no matter how much you were looking forward to freedom. Routinely calling home on a particular day or time, and video Skype-ing over a cup of tea can help you keep in touch with your old friends while you’re making new ones.

Dealing with parents?

If you’re staying at home to go to college, as many people from cities will, fresher’s week can be a time of…well, adjustment for your parents. Suddenly you’re gone all day (and sometimes all night), you’ve loads of new stuff happening and the last thing you want to do is hang out at home. If they’re on your case, remember that they’re probably just missing you, and getting used to you growing up. Cut them some slack, and make the effort to spend an evening at home every now and then.

Finding your feet

You will find something in college that fits you. It is an amazing experience and for a lot of people, it’s the first real chance to really be yourself, to figure out what you love. Enjoy it!

Our next blog will cover all the supports and services that are available in college, from college health to your Welfare Officer. Stay tuned!

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