I remember my first day of University as though it was yesterday. My dad moved me into my room in Manor Park halls with the help of the Freshers’ Angels. I’d sprained my ankle the night before (great timing I know) so I was unable to carry anything myself.
Opening the door to my flat I was greeted with silence. ‘Hellooo?’ I called out. Nothing. I was the first person to move in. And I was terrified. My dad put all my boxes in my room, hugged me, and was off. I was left completely alone in my new room with my life in boxes around me.
That day was a very big mix of emotions, I was terrified but excited, nervous but confident. Moving to University is a massive change. Nobody is going to deny that. It’s scary, and you’re allowed to be scared, but it’s also exciting so don’t let the fear take over.
Meeting new flatmates
Meeting your flatmates can be nerve wracking. These are the people who you’re going to be living with for the rest of the academic year. I’d advise trying to find each other on Facebook previous to arriving at University. After results day you’ll find lots of Facebook groups popping up, and hopefully you can find your flatmates! If you can’t find them, never fear, meeting in person is always good too. I met all my flatmates for the first time in person. It can be a bit awkward at first, but be friendly, ask questions, and before you know it you’ll be chatting away.
I’d recommend getting to know other flats in your block also. During Freshers’ Week we often went to other flats in our block for pre-drinks and invited other flats round to our flat, and before you know it you’ll all be getting on like a house on fire!
Life away from home
Living independently can be a tough change. Cooking and cleaning and doing laundry for yourself can be hard if it’s a new experience for you. I’d recommend cooking meals with other flatmates or friends to get you into the habit of cooking actual meals, if you’re cooking for one it can be tempting to just eat noodles and microwave food, whilst if you’re cooking in a group it pushes you to make real food- which your body will thank you for!
Staying healthy during Freshers Week is a task, especially with freshers’ flu going around. All the late nights, alcohol and tempting take aways can give your body a hard time. I personally would recommend taking Vitamin C tablets during that first week especially, as the big change of moving plus all the stuff you’re putting into your body can be hard on your immune system.
Try to be sociable
Now Freshers’ Week can be a hard time, especially if being sociable can be hard for you, especially if you’re not naturally a sociable person. However I think Freshers’ Week is the most important week to really push yourself to be as sociable as you possibly can.
It’s a good week to form friendships, and also it takes your mind off being homesick whilst you adjust to living alone. Don’t let yourself get lonely in that first week, and before you know it living alone will be completely normal and you’ll be dreading moving back home.
I’d also recommend making the most out of Freshers’ Fair. It’s a great chance to sign up for all the clubs and societies and sports teams, and to also challenge yourself to try something new! Personally- sign up to everything you think you might possibly find interesting. Then go along to the first meetings of everything, then decide what you want to continue attending. Don’t be afraid to try things! University gives you such an amazing opportunity to explore ideas and do activities you never considered, so grab every single opportunity there is and use it to it’s full potential.
Remember: everyone’s in the same boat
You’ll get used to University life a lot faster than you think you will, before you realise it you’ll be having an amazing year with amazing friends, studying a subject you love and simply having the time of your life. The start of University can be rocky with all the nerves and apprehension, so even if your Freshers’ Week doesn’t go well- don’t panic! You’re still going to have an incredible year.
I think the main thing to remember in that first week is that everybody is new. This is new for everyone, and you’re not alone in that. You’re all in the same boat, which makes making friends a lot easier. Everybody is just as scared and excited as you are, so never think you’re the odd one out if you’re nervous about moving to University. It’s new, it’s big, but it’s amazing.
University is a massive change in your life and it’s so easy to let yourself be held back by fear- Don’t. Push through the fear and make the most of your time, because people aren’t lying when they say it goes fast- it really, really does.
Go have the most incredible three/four years of your life!