From the title, one can already guess what this one’s about.
Fresher’s week is the week before lectures officially start. It’s a week where new students move in, get settled and figure out their way around campus. It’s a week of events, meet and greets and finishes off with the annual Fresher’s Fayre.
I arrived in Guildford on the very first day of Fresher’s. It was a Sunday and there was a Bioscience meet n greet scheduled. From what I could see, it was an opportunity to meet some new friends on my program, as well as some professors and second year students.
I advise new, incoming students to look for Facebook pages (that is, if you have Facebook). I was added into the Surrey Biomedical Science page, the Fresher’s page, etc. Your accomodation hall will have their own page too, so make sure to join and get to know some flatmates. Through the Biomed page, I had already met a few people online and it was because of them that I strung up enough courage to walk into that meet n greet. We had planned to meet up beforehand and go together and this lessened the impact a bit, I think. For an international student, things like these are more daunting than they would be for a UK student.
Fresher’s also includes meeting your program coordinator, your personal tutor (and by extension – your tutor group) and tour some of the labs and do some mock practicals. The Students Union hosts a number of events as well that are worth checking out. I think now is too early for a welcome week timetable, but I would suggest to keep checking this link: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/welcome/home.htm. On the website, you can enter where you will be throughout your studies (eg: on campus throughout), your program, if you’re undergraduate or postgraduate etc. It will then generate a welcome week timetable, among other things. This way, each student’s timetable is tailored to their own program and needs.
Fresher’s Fayre: This was pretty much the most exciting thing about Welcome Week. There is a giant tent set up in the PATS field and this is where you can take the opportunity to check out various clubs and societies to join. For me, now it feels like it was a long time ago (and I’m definitely going again next year) but I vaguely remember the crowd and lots of food and free things! Pens, lanyards, notepads. Check it out, it’s worth it! Also, this is where you can purchase Surrey hoodies and shirts for a cheaper price. Last year, I got an I LOVE SURREY bag, a hoodie and a tshirt all in one! It’s good to get that right away, who doesn’t want university merchandise (BTW: I cannot WAIT to wear it when I go back to Canada)
Join some societies, it always looks good on your CV. I wish I’d joined more when I came, and took part in activities. It’s a little hard when you’re living off campus. Next year, I’ll be living on campus (anyone that is assigned to Manor Park, PLEASE let me know, I’m there and I’d love to know some people) and I plan to be actively involved – it does sound like fun!
Lastly, just have fun with it. This is a week where you can relax and get to know the town and the campus before everybody gets down to work. Plan a trip to London, find some good restaurants in town to eat at (if you’re a foodie like me!). I found that the more quickly I got used to knowing my way around Guildford, the faster it started to feel like home. Sometimes I find it hard to believe I’ve only been here eight months, it certainly does feel like longer than that!
I hope this was somewhat helpful, if you have any more questions or if I didn’t make something clear enough, please feel free to email ma at email@example.com!