The summer is winding down and the momentous day when you pack up all your worldly belongings and cart them off to university is fast approaching.
A huge portion of universities are gearing up to welcome a new set of fresh-faced and eager first-year students in the next few weeks, and with that comes the inevitable Freshers’ Week – a mish-mash of partying, new experiences, new friends and, of course, the occasional bit of studying.
So, once you’ve packed up the car, or lugged your overstuffed luggage through the airport, what can you expect from this next chapter of your life?
Here are a few things that are pretty much guaranteed in that first week of university life:
1. You’ll get over-excited and join every society under the sun
It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of the first days of freedom and develop a deep-seated belief that university is the ideal time for self-reinvention and exploring new interests.
In the heat of the moment, the Societies Fair will seem like a veritable smorgasbord of opportunity and many freshers (new students) will end up signing up to all manner of new groups – from cross-stitch to surfing. They will then proceed to spend the following week un-subscribing for all those over-ambitious dreams.
2. You will witness drinking on a scale you’ve never seen before
There will be a plethora of activities happening during Freshers’ Week, something to suit all tastes and interests – quiz night, zoo visits, city tours, poetry reading, dance classes – you name it.
For better or worse, many of these activities will come with a side helping of drinking. You’ll see your newfound friends down alco-pops like they’re going out of fashion and likely get up the next day and do it all over again.
While letting your hair down and enjoying the party can be awesome fun, make sure you don’t skip out on the activities that don’t include drinking. These can often be the most interesting and are the places where you find friends who stick.
3. You’ll stick like glue to the first person you even vaguely get on with
While Freshers’ Week is off-the-hook insane for meeting new people, the sheer quantity of new faces can be intimidating at first. This tends to result in many freshers clinging to the first person they meet who seems even vaguely palatable. And don’t worry, that person will equally be clinging to you.
Everyone needs a friendly face in a sea of strangers but this vice-like grip will start to loosen once you – and your newfound twin – grow in confidence and feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
4. You’ll get homesick
Sorry guys, this is just a fact of life. No matter how eager you are to get your parents and family members off campus so you can start enjoying your first days of freedom, there will inevitably come a time when you’re back in your room and all is quiet that a tinge of homesickness starts to creep in.
Fear not, this is completely normal! Most freshers are in a strange city – sometimes a new country – and learning to navigate adult life alone for the first time. It’s inescapable that you’re going to start yearning after your mum’s best chicken curry, a big hug from your dad, or the friendly voice of your best mate.
The good news is, it’s temporary. Before long you’ll be happily in your stride in uni life. Don’t be afraid to call home and talk to those around you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know everyone is feeling the same tug of home.
5. You’ll be convinced you’ve met your lifelong university crew on day one
Freshers’ Week is an incredibly social time and you’ll be inundated with new people who will seem like the most fun, exciting, like-minded people you’ve ever met, but will likely never cross paths again.
You’ve got a better chance of meeting your true lifelong buddies once the glitz and shine of Freshers’ Week have worn off, and you can build meaningful bonds based on more than doing shooters of tequila and signing up to Quidditch Society together.
6. You’ll steal pens like your life depends on it
Alright, maybe not steal, but the freebies handed out at the umpteen fairs you will attend throughout the week are just too good to resist.
From society fairs to career fairs, most stands will try to reel you in with free pens. My advice is, load up! Pocket as many as you can, these will come in handy throughout your university career – you’ll even be finding them behind your desk as you move out after graduation.
7. You will test the boundaries of what is sanitary
Woohoo, freedom! You may cry. But with great freedom, comes great responsibility.
While you’re out enjoying yourself, the laundry will remain un-laundered, the dishes unwashed, and the meals uncooked. Looking after yourself does require some work, but that will likely fall by the wayside in the first week of excitement.
You will no doubt succumb to the almighty power of freshers’ flu, too. This is just to be expected, sorry.
Make sure you make some time for some TLC…and eat vegetables every once in a while!
8. You’ll be incredibly excited
You’ll be incredibly excited, and rightly so. Freshers’ Weeks can be one of the most exhilarating, overwhelming, fun and eye-opening experiences of your life.
Through all the bluster and excitement, make sure you take the time to enjoy it, and remember, this is only the beginning of a new exciting chapter of your life.
Go forth and FRESH!