It’s that time of the year again! Freshers’ Week – designed for first years, but enjoyed by all students. Five years ago, I was one of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshers who had no idea what they were getting themselves into, so I know exactly how new students are feeling! I have put together some top tips for how to make the most of your Freshers’ Week. Hopefully you’ll find them useful!
- Meet your flatmates:
You’ve moved into your room, unpacked all your things, and now you’re at a bit of a loss as to what to do with yourself. I can nearly guarantee that your flatmates are sitting in their rooms doing the same thing. So why not go knock on their doors and introduce yourself? Break the ice by bringing round a box of sweets if you feel awkward just turning up at their door. Once you’ve met everyone, you could invite people to join you in the kitchen for a takeaway, or plan a night out or a trip to the cinema. Most people will be in the same boat where they don’t know anyone, so don’t be afraid to say hello and make an effort to build new friendships.
- Familiarise yourself with campus:
Although Surrey’s campus may not be the largest in the UK, you can still get a bit lost in your first week. Try to block out an hour or two to explore the campus. Learn the quickest route from your accommodation to the library and the buildings you have lessons in. Find out where to grab some food or a coffee – there are loads of places to choose from, including student favourite, Starbucks! Familiarise yourself with the names of the different blocks of accommodation and have a picnic by the lake with your new mates. And don’t forget that Stag Hill isn’t our only campus – we’ve also got our Manor Park campus, which houses a good portion of accommodation, the Surrey Vet School, and Surrey Sports Park. It’s only a 15-minute walk away from the main Stag Hill campus, so make some time to visit if you haven’t already explored.
- Go on nights out:
Freshers’ Week is filled with nights out, both at our on-site nightclub, Rubix, and at venues in Guildford. Going out is a great way to meet people during your Freshers’ Week. Nobody really knows anyone, so if you meet people on a night out it’s pretty easy to assimilate into their group for the evening. It’s also a nice way to bond with your flatmates – you can get ready and make your way out together. One thing that I’d advise freshers to do is make sure to bring fancy dress materials! Think face paint, clothes you can customise, or even old Halloween costumes, as there are lots of fancy dress events in Rubix both during Freshers Week and throughout the year. Don’t wear heels or non-waterproof makeup to the foam party! Hopping around on a sprained ankle with mascara running down your face is not a good look.
If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t worry! The Students’ Union puts on social events like day trips, quizzes, and other non-drinking activities too. Activities run by the Union are on the Event Planner which is released each semester.
- Explore the local area:
The beautiful town centre of Guildford is only a 10-minute walk from the main campus, making it ideal if you need to pop into town or fancy a night out on the town. There are all the usual high street shops and restaurant chains, as well as quirky independent stores and eateries. Guildford has a number of cosy pubs, trendy bars and a number of nightclubs too. If you’re into health and fitness, there are lots of beautiful country walks and cycle routes along the River Wey, as well as a leisure centre complete with large pool, courts for various sports, and ten pin bowling. Film buffs will be pleased to know that there’s an Odeon cinema in the town centre, and a Tesco Superstore is only a 10 minute walk from Stag Hill campus (towards Manor Park). And if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, why not take a train into London? London Waterloo is only a 34-minute train journey away, and you can walk to the station from campus in about 10 minutes.
- Go to Freshers’ Fair:
On the Friday of Freshers’ Week, members of all the uni’s clubs and societies set up stands in the marquee on PATS field to show new students the range of activities available at Surrey. You can sign up for clubs, ask society representatives questions, and decide if you want to get involved in a new activity and/or continue on with something you’ve been involved in previously. The Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers (like the Union President, VP Activity and VP Voice) will be on hand if you’ve got any questions for them. Local businesses like nightclubs and restaurants often have stands at Freshers’ Fair too, so it’s also a great opportunity to get free stuff!