Feeling a little intimidated by starting university? Don’t worry, it’s okay to feel that way. From packing and saying your goodbyes, to going through all the intro emails about enrolment, modules, accommodation, and more - you are about to begin a brand-new chapter in your life. While it is a bit daunting, there is so much to be excited about!
There are thousands of students going through the same process as you, so you're not alone. Plus, we (your Students’ Union) are here to help you out every step of the way. Freshers’ Festival kicks off your university journey, and this is your survival guide!
The first week of Term One - Freshers’ Festival as we call it here - is quite a western concept, so for all our international students, here’s a short and sweet summary. Think of it as a welcome period for students beginning their first year at UK universities. During this week, you’ll be moving into your accommodation, learning about your course, becoming familiar with the campus and what it has to offer, and of course, making friends! And you get to do this all before you actually start your classes!
Okay, now that we know what it is, let’s go through how to survive it!
We know everyone says Freshers’ Festival is the time to go wild, party, drink, make loads of friends, etc. but don’t feel any pressure to attend every event or do everything your flatmates are. Take your time, go through the calendar, and see what sounds fun to YOU. If everything sounds fun, great. If only a handful of things look good, also great. And if nothing catches your eye (although we hope that doesn't happen) it’s okay too, you can always find something else to do on campus. It's important to keep an open mind, but you choose when and what you want to do, and with whom.
Not a drinker? Don’t worry. If you’re not into alcohol and you don’t want to be in an environment that is surrounded by it, don’t forget that we have tons of alcohol-free events that you’ll be able to get involved with.
With over 50 events across Freshers' Festival, remember not to push yourself too much - it can be tempting to go over the top! Luckily, we have some useful advice to help you look after yourself.
Freshers' Fair is the perfect opportunity to meet our student groups - with over 130 sports clubs, societies, and media outlets to meet, you're bound to find your passion. Although it's an epic day of food and freebies, it can be chaotic. We recognise that a loud, busy environment can be overwhelming for some people. To ensure that Freshers' Fair is accessible to all, we're hosting an 'Access Hour' for the first hour of this event (10am-11am). During this hour, we'll let fewer people in and keep the music turned off to ensure a quieter atmosphere for those who need it. All you need to do is 'purchase' a free ticket!
If you don’t feel like going to a club night, don’t. If you want to stay in bed and re-energise, do it. Meeting new people and socialising can be draining, but you don’t have to make best friends by the end of the first week. The clubs, societies, and events will be there all year round, so just take your time and trust yourself. You will find your people eventually. There is no deadline to make friends, we promise.
Leaving home, starting a new course and all the new responsibilities that come with it can require a lot of effort and it's easier said than done to manage. Believe us when we say that knowing some of the resources that are available to you BEFORE you actually start classes can make your life much easier!
We're here every step of the way. Don’t suffer in silence, the Students’ Union offers free, friendly, and confidential advice about a whole range of issues. Be assured you can reach out to our Advice Centre for anything you feel you need help with. So don’t stress, book an appointment with one of our advisors, come and have a chat with them and make the best out of your first weeks here!
Your personal tutors are here for you when you need them. They more than understand the stresses that come with academia and will be able to answer all your questions from study advice, exam concerns, extra help, and extensions. There are mandatory meetings with them every term but feel more than free to set up extra meetings as you need them.
Keep an eye on your finances! If you're planning to drink alcohol during Freshers' Festival, remember that you may up spending more than you meant to. Creating a budget for all your expenses is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a student. It will make managing your spending easier, and help you understand how you spend. Check out our advice on managing your money.
Make sure to fuel your body with food and water… and SLEEP! It’s an incredibly busy week, so take time to check in with yourself. Slow down if you need to, no one will judge you for staying in. By this point, we probably sound like a broken record, but it is important that you know that you are in complete control of your experience.
Lastly, enjoy yourself! You're turning over a new leaf, embarking on an eventful journey. You have the chance to start afresh, learn more about yourself, and take steps toward becoming the version of yourself that you’ve always wanted to be! What better way to work towards that than in an environment where everyone is doing the same?
We hope this blog has helped to make you feel even just a little more confident about surviving Freshers’ Festival. We promise it's going to be an amazing time!
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