Freshers' Advice

Friday 18 September 2020, First year

by Anna James

Freshers' Advice

Anna James
I can't believe that after all the excitement and everything, I'm finally moving into Hope in just over 2 weeks! It doesn't feel real, but I can't wait to get there and get started!
I recently went away with a few of my friends who are all a couple of years older than me and while we were away, they gave me some amazing advice for freshers.
The tips they gave me were too good not to share, so here we are! Some are pretty self-explanatory, while others are a bit more detailed! Hope this is helpful/interesting!
1) Student Loan
It has to last you three months, so don't spend it all in the first week!
2) Don't eat out/get takeaways all the time
As my friend Rachel beautifully put it: "there's an oven with hobs on that are your friend!". On the same subject...
3) If you are going to get a takeaway...
Never order Dominos without a voucher - the 50% off exists for a reason!
4) Friends
Use Freshers' to meet as many new people as you can so you can work out who your real friends are. But don't worry if you don't meet people at the beginning who you have a lot in common with - it may take time to meet your best friends.
5) Get involved
Try to get involved in as much as you feel comfortable with, you'll know the difference between being nervous about something and not wanting to do it at all. Try to step out of your comfort zone and try things you find scary, it'll either be loads of fun or a great learning opportunity!
6) Don't pack the kitchen sink!
There is no need to pack your whole wardrobe - you really won't need all the hundreds of pairs of pyjamas you own! Just pack your favourite clothes and leave the rest at home for when you come home at weekends and in the holidays. You also don't want to be the person who takes everything they own to uni - remember that you'll have to carry it up seemingly endless flights of stairs to get in your halls!

7) Washing and drying clothes
Everyone's advice on this seems to vary quite a bit, but lots of people have told me that it's important to make sure that you include money for washing and drying your clothes into your weekly budget so that you don't run out of money to have clean clothes, bedding and towels! My Mum also suggested buying 'colour catcher' sheets which you put in the wash with your clothes to prevent the colours from running. I've also been instructed to make sure that my laundry bag isn't massive and is easy to carry so that trips to the laundry won't be such a chore! In regards to drying clothes, you might want to take a small airer with you for if you're short on cash for a tumble dryer or even just for those clothes which can't be tumble dried.
8) Be yourself
This is probably the number one piece of advice that I've been given! Don't feel pressured to do something just because it seems like everyone else is. If you be yourself, the right friends for you will come along. Similarly...
9) Show your faith
If you are religious, show to people that you have a faith. Unlike at school, people will be interested and will ask questions, rather than just teasing. Also, try to find a Church/place of worship or a Christian Union/CathSoc (whatever's your thing) early because it's easier to get into a routine of going to Mass earlier on.
10)Take time out
Try and socialise as much as you can but if you need to, don't worry about having a bit of 'me time'. Wether you pop home for the weekend or even just escape to your room for comfort food and Netflix, make sure that you take time out to chill and look after yourself!
11) Homesickness
Make sure you take photos with you of family, friends and memories because these will be really useful on the days where you're missing home. Technology such as Skype or FaceTime etc is also really useful for when you just want to see your Mum's face. Additionally, if you're feeling homesick, I've been told that its better not to rush home because people quite often miss home more after they've been back. So try and leave it as long as you can before you visit home so that you can settle in as much as possible.
12) Nights Out
This was the number one topic that everyone wanted to advise me on, with the advise being very varied!!!! However, the main gist of it was that you should be careful of what you do because your friends will probably photograph everything to show you the morning after! Most importantly though, just make sure you show up at uni after a night out! You can have as many nights out in your life as you like, but you'll only get one degree (unless you do a Masters etc but that's another story!).
All the advice I was given was amazing, however I think that the best thing that anyone has said to me was that not everyone enjoys uni straight away. So if you don't love it immediately, don't worry! Uni is a massive change and can take a bit of getting used to. You wont be the only one who feels homesick, other people will be too but might not want to admit it they're struggling.
So that's all for now, I hope it was of some use - whether you're starting uni for the first time in September like me or if you're going back to uni for second/third year! Have a fab year!
** Just to say a massive thank you to my wonderful friends Rachel, Rachael and Aimee especially for their tips and advice at Youth 2000 (and afterwards), along with everyone else who has given me tips throughout the year - you're all stars! **
Anna x