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Moving to University: A Freshers’ Guide

1.Being prepared

Obviously, when you’re moving out of your family home and into halls there’s a lot of stuff you are gonna need. Yes, this extends past your cool posters, fairy lights, and new bed sheets. Boring adult stuff, I know. Think what you are going to need in the kitchen, and in the bathroom. If possible, get in touch with your new housemates over Facebook to discuss what you are all going to need and bring. If you’re sharing a kitchen, you don’t need to bring a toaster and a kettle each. Make a list and decide who will bring what. Don’t forget cleaning stuff too, especially for your bathroom. Also, I would recommend not getting a big, chunky laptop. If it’s too heavy, it will put you off carrying it into uni which is a shame because it’s nice to have your own computer with you. You can’t always get onto one at busy times in the library.

2.Start the semester organised

More boring stuff, but coursework will come at you hard and fast. Get some folders organised and keep your work together and in order. You will need it when it comes to revision later. I know that first year is pass or fail and so you only need to score 40 to pass the year and it doesn’t count towards your degree, but I really think it’s a shame to spend the whole year neglecting your studies. This is a good time to catch up with the other people on your course, since you may all have had different experiences and levels of teaching at sixth form. It’s good just to get a general foundational knowledge for your degree, since you will be learning a lot of new stuff over the next few years. So have fun, but make the most of the learning aspect of university too. 

3. Be Yourself

A lot of the hype around moving to university is, of course, Freshers’ week. This is a week preceding the start of the academic year with lots of events around campus and the city for students. Some of this is to do with freebies and societies, but a lot of it revolves around alcohol and going out. Night life is a great part of being a student and I wouldn’t recommend missing out on it, but for some of us, alcohol just isn’t the right vibe. So don’t feel pressured to go out every night of the week, and definitely don’t feel pressured to drink or to drink ridiculous amounts if you don’t want to. If you do a bit of research, you will be able to find lots of events for Freshers that are a little quirkier and off the beaten track. Don’t spend a load of money buying tickets to events because you don’t know what everybody else will be doing yet and it’s usually possible to buy tickets for events closer to the time, or even to pay on the door.  Last but not least, if you don’t really feel like going out at all, that’s ok. I personally find Freshers’ week to be overrated: everywhere is absolutely rammed, queues are massive for entry, drinks, and the toilet, and if you go out every night it will catch up with you. Fast. Heard of Freshers’ flu?

4.Join societies

I can’t emphasise this enough, I really wish I had got more involved with societies in my first year at university. I didn’t end up joining any societies, really, because I was too scared to go and meet people. Now, in my final year, I’ve been really involved in a couple of societies and I have realised just how much fun it is and how many friends you make. Push yourself and get yourself signed up to a few things you enjoy, and maybe try something new. First year is a great time to take advantage of the opportunities the union brings because your work load isn’t as heavy.

5.Stay Safe

This is a really exciting time in your life and there’s going to be so much to love about it. But there’s also the importance to stay safe. You’re in a new city without your old friends and family, and it’s easy to get lost, especially when you have been drinking. Keep together as a group when going out and make sure you know where each other is at all times. Day time or night time, make sure your phone is fully charged so you can use google maps as and when you need to. Keep in touch with people back home, too, because this time is really fun but it can also be really hard. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or sad about living away from your family for the first time, so talk about it when you are feeling down. You will soon become used to your new lifestyle and you will love it. Just don’t let your mum catch you referring to university as “home” ‘cause she won’t be happy about that. Take it from me…

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