Settling in during freshers' week

Friday 18 September 2020, First year

by James McDowell

Settling in during freshers' week

One of our winners from our My Freshers Story competition shares their story
James McDowell

For many young people, including myself, freshers’ week can be a daunting and nerve-wracking thing to think about. There are many worries that freshers may have about uni life – this is very normal, and includes fears around how they are going to cope with new surroundings, the workload, and the financial responsibility they will now have to face. This blog will shows new freshers that there is nothing to worry about, with a few tips along the way.

One of the main fears new students have is their first few weeks at university. This is to be expected – some students will be walking into classrooms with people they have never met before, which can cause some anxiety. My university had a great induction programme which helped me settle in and get to know others. This also helped me develop confidence that I was good enough to be on the course – one of my personal fears, as I thought I was not smart enough to be at university. However, this fear was quickly eliminated during my induction. One tip I would give to freshers during their inductions is to put yourself out there and talk to people! They are most likely as nervous as you, and it will help cure those nerves for both of you!

Many students will have to leave home for the first time, which can be very stressful, especially if they move to another country. I kept to myself for my first few days in student halls, however, after a week or so, I started to become friendly with the others in my flat. This has become one of my favourite parts of uni life, and I highly recommend that all students try to get to know the people they are living with as soon as possible, as it makes for a much more comfortable and homely atmosphere. 

Finance for students can be a stressful subject. Some students decide to blow their student loans during the sales in early October, however, the wiser thing to do is budget your spending. Although this sounds boring, it will ensure you don’t run out of money, which can lead to very serious problems. It’s OK to treat yourself every so often, but don't forget about things such as rent, travel, bills, books, and food. Always keep an eye out for offers and discounts that are exclusive to students, such as discount cards for travel. One of the most helpful examples of this are emails from UCAS, which tell students ways they can save money, and earn vouchers for filling in surveys.

I hope this blog is useful for freshers who may be worried about starting university, but remember you’ve earned your place, so you’re already doing something right. Also, there are many different sources of support that can give guidance to anyone going through any troubles. If this appeals to you, go and see your students’ union for advice before making any decisions (such as dropping out), as support services at universities are very helpful.

I wish you all the very best!