The first few weeks in any new environment is daunting – whether it’s a new school, a new job or going to university for the first time. While universities will pack full your schedules with induction tours, countless registrations and tons of Freshers’ Week activities, there will be a few moments of self doubt – am I talking to the right people? Should I be myself? Should I join this society or that one? has come up with some top tips for handling the first weeks of being away from home for the first time.

  • Friends – The people you meet who live across the hall don’t HAVE to be your best friends straight away – there will be hundreds of other students you’ll meet – at the canteen, in lectures or at the student union. Spread your wings a bit further than your student nest.
  • Try something new – You might not have thought that you would ever try archery or join the chess team or be on the debating society but you might find that you have a natural talent for it so don’t dismiss the unknown straight away. The social activities which accompany these teams and societies are great opportunities to meet new people who you might not meet via lectures or a halls of residence. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Homesickness – Everyone will expect you to say that Freshers’ Week was the WILDEST time of your life but for some it can be the first time they really experience being homesick and lonely. The thing to remember is if you make an effort with others they will make an effort with you. If you don’t drink for personal or religious reasons – go along to socialise.
  • Safety – It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of going out to bars and clubs and trying to meet up with all of your new friends but safety has to remain at the forefront of your mind. Always let people know where you’re going or who you’re meeting, don’t walk around late at night by yourself and remember not to leave your drink unattended.
  • Safe Sex – Don’t come away from Freshers’ Week with more than you bargained for – practise safe sex and carry condoms. During the first few weeks of university everyone will be letting loose – they are away from home and have the freedom of not having to answer to parents – but that doesn’t mean that having unprotected sex is cool. You can get a free stash of condoms from your local health centre.
  • Budget – Remember your student loan instalment needs to last you the whole term – don’t blow it all in the first few weeks. Many people will spend the majority of it on alcohol and entry to clubs but you may end up running out before the end of term and have to sacrifice other activities.
  • Lectures – – You are at university to gain a degree first and foremost so lectures should not be missed and dismissed out of hand if you haven’t had your eight hours of sleep. Making more effort in your first year at university will pay off in the long run.
  • Food – And of course, most importantly (for us!) remember to eat well. You will need to keep your strength up for the inevitable late nights due to heavy workloads and lack of sleep thanks to dancing the night away. now has nearly 4000 recipes written by students for students so you will be sure to find something that takes your fancy and suits your budget!

If Freshers’ Week hasn’t been what you expected and you haven’t had the time of your life – don’t worry and don’t panic – you will soon settle into the swing of things and wishing your time at uni would slow down!