Freshers' Survival Guide

Freshers’ Week survival guide

There’s no doubt you’ve heard plenty of rumours about Freshers’ Week. From the sports club initiations to moving into halls and getting used to living away from home, you might be looking forward to it with excitement or nervousness.

Whether you’re heading to Birmingham or Liverpool, starting university is a time full of social events, parties and meeting new people. To survive your first week at university, taking care of yourself is equally as important as making the most of any extracurricular activities. So, let’s talk tips to make the most of your freshers’ experience.

What is Freshers’ Week?

Freshers’ Week is held at the start of your first academic year of university life. Otherwise known as Welcome or Induction Week, it's an opportunity to adjust to student life before you start your studies.

A range of Freshers’ events are scheduled for first-year students to attend. These include social activities where people meet and information sessions about specific courses and the university.

When is Freshers’ Week?

Freshers’ Week can start up to two weeks before the beginning of the first university term of the year. The exact date is different between each institution but is typically in September or October before the beginning of the autumn semester. It runs for about a week for UK undergraduates and can be as long as two weeks for international students.

What happens at Freshers’ Week?

Come on, what doesn’t happen at Freshers’ Week?! University students are only freshers once, so making the most of this time is always a priority.

Some key events happen during Freshers’ Week, including:

  • Student registration, where undergraduates get their ID card, can start their course, set up their email and access the library and other facilities
  • Campus tours to help you understand where the key areas are, including study zones, department buildings and residences
  • Course introduction sessions where students can get their term timetable and understand what they’ll be focusing on in their first modules

Plus, all undergraduates will take part in the below over the one or two-week period.

Moving into halls

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As part of your application, you’ll have been given a space in the university’s first-year accommodation. This might be a shared apartment, catered accommodation or an off-campus house. So one of the first tasks of Freshers’ Week will be to settle into this living space.

For many students, this will be the first time they’ve lived away from the family home. Not only that, but it’s likely you’ll have to share a communal kitchen, bathroom and living space with strangers.

Here are some tips to make the moving-in process as relaxed and comfortable as possible:

  • Take a picture of your inventory, room and any communal areas before you unpack in case there’s any damage at the end of your tenancy
  • Introduce yourself to everyone in your shared accommodation and don’t be afraid to socialise at every opportunity
  • Make sure you clean up after yourself as you go, this will avoid any conflict in the communal areas and help you keep on top of chores from the start
  • Book your shopping to be delivered or take it with you when you move in so you’ve got food and essentials ready to go

Freshers’ Fair

This is the largest event of the week and is usually held at the Students’ Union (SU). It’s where all the societies and clubs get together and encourage newcomers to join or try our taster sessions. Whether you’re into sports, or culture or want to find coursemates quickly, the fair is a must-do part of the schedule.

Follow your SU’s social media accounts before Freshers’ Week so you know when and where this event will run.

Socials and parties

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Freshers’ Week is famous for being a seven-day party. There will be lots of opportunities to enjoy a night out, bond with your new flatmates at a quiz or meet a new team at a non-drinking sports social. Even if you’re not the most naturally sociable person, get hold of an events timetable and put yourself out there (remember, everyone is in the same boat!).

Tips to survive the week

Freshers’ Week is one of the best times of student life. It’s also a test of even the most senior partygoer’s endurance. Here is some advice to stay healthy and happy across the whole seven days.

Do advance admin

As well as packing up your clothes, laptop, study books and household items (e.g. cooking utensils and personal souvenirs), you need to get your paperwork in order. This includes:

  • Booking events and socials you want to go to
  • Signing up for the local doctor and dentist
  • Getting household bills sorted (if needed)
  • Setting up a student bank account

Set a budget

Most students will be living on a maintenance loan or grant. To make sure you don’t spend it all in the first week of term, work out your weekly budget limit by dividing the year’s total by 52. Then allocate this to any essentials you need such as food, textbooks and bills. Anything that’s left can be used for socialising.

Don’t forget that your student ID will make you eligible for discounts in high street stores on food and transport. Plus, there are likely to be deals on student events if you pay for several at once in advance.

Prep and pace

From meal-prepping balanced dishes to keep freshers’ flu at bay to having a few non-alcoholic drinks in the fridge and making sure you catch up on your sleep. One week is a long time when you’re starting a new life. So put yourself first and set time aside to look after your well-being, particularly if you’re more of an introvert.

This will help you adjust to university and set yourself up well for starting your new life.

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