Saturday 21 September 2013

Guide to Fresher's Week: the ABC of UNI

My little brother has just left home to start uni. I literally cannot believe it was five years ago that I left home to do the same (that's HALF A DECADE people!).

I was the first to fly the nest, so it was a massive deal for me and my family. Since then, I've found a few posts that I really could've done with reading before I left my weeping parents as far up the M6 as I'd ever been. So, this one's for you baby bro - make the most of it!

I also thought I'd do my essential uni guide as an acrostic because I'm really edgy and cool like that (yeah...)

U -
'U' is for unique - sounds cliché but it's probably one of the most important things to bear in mind when moving to uni for the first time. You're going to be living and socialising with people not just from around the UK but from all corners of the globe: different personalities, cultures and mindsets... it's amazing and probably the only time in your life you'll live with such a diverse bunch of people.

Let's forget other people for a minute; going to uni is also a great time to 'recreate' who you are and really put a stamp on who you want to be. Screw school-age rumours and what other people might have thought of you - it's your chance to let your uniqueness shine!

N -
Nerves. If someone tells you they're not nervous about moving to uni, they're lying. Agreed, there are different levels of nervousness, and I'm sure some people are more confident than others at the thought of making new friends & living away from home, but underneath it all I guarantee that each person will be feeling the pressure - so please try not to worry!

I -
I is for 'immerse'. Immerse yourself in as many activities / societies / nights out / bonding trips as you can. It'll keep you really busy so you won't have the time to feel sad about home. You're far more likely to meet your new best friends over lunch, shopping for fancy dress clothes or at the Ultimate Frisbee Soc trials than sat in your room waiting for people to knock on for you.

V -
V is all about visiting. Whether that's visiting home, having your boyfriend / girlfriend to stay or travelling to see your mates at their respective unis. Now, there's no 'right' time to first visit home or have people to stay as this will depend on your personal preferences. Personally, I wouldn't go home/to see mates for at least three weeks to a month. That way it gives you time to adjust being on your own (plus by then you'll have probably run out of food and can stock up on these to take back with you!). Boyfriends / girlfriends are totally subjective. I went from school to the same uni as my (then) boyfriend & we decided not to see each other during fresher's week... it lasted a few days and then naturally, we wanted to see each other and it worked out fine (well, for a little while), so it's totally dependent on the relationship I think. Don't put too much pressure on making it work, don't worry that if you're in a relationship you're 'missing out', just do what makes you happy.
E -
E is for Eat Well. You're in charge of your own meals. So don't fall into the trap of over or under eating. It's not healthy! Basically everyone I knew put on a few fresher's pounds in the first semester so don't sweat the small stuff. It's hard getting portion sizes right, and going out four times a week with a cheeky Dominos delivery at 4am is hardly the epitome of health. Instead just make sure you get your five a day, drink lots of water & take multivits.
R - 
R'n'R. Don't underestimate the importance of Rest & Relaxation. Fresher's Week might seem like a non-stop party but no one can hold out for seven nights on the trot without a serious dose of chilling the hell out. Movie nights are a good way to wind down with your friends, but sometimes all that will cut it is being snuggled up in bed reading your favourite book with a big bar of Dairy Milk (etc).
S - 
Sozzled. Smashed. SodrunkIcan'tspeak. Whatever you want to call it, there are going to be nights where you get a little more 'boozy' than others around you and the most important thing here is to a) make a pact with one or two pals to look out for each other no matter what and b) always leave for a night out with your phone fully charged. Chances are that the many drunken nights you have as a fresher will be ones you still laugh about in years to come but y'know, just be safe too.

I - 
Intelligence! After all, the primary reason you're at university is so that you can study and get a decent qualification in a subject you're interested in. Granted, you only need 40% to pass the year but don't be afraid to dream a little bigger - that way you won't have such a shock when next year rolls around.

T - 
T is for talk! If you do find your self feeling down, talk to someone about it. Whether it's your mum, your oldest friend, your newest friend, your course co-ordinator or halls rep. The worst thing you can do is bottle things up inside you.
Y - 

Y is for the year ahead. Fresher's year is essentially one big barrel of laughs with your soon to be best best friends, as well as some hard work thrown in every now again. Team that with independence and the look on your mum and dad's face when you visit them as a surprise (cheesy I know but it works and if you want that mass food shop bought for you it's worth it!), and you've got a pretty sweet year ahead of you.

Even if things don't go how you'd imagine - I had to live in a hotel for fresher's week whilst my halls got refurbished and I was convinced it was going to ruin the start of uni for me (it didn't) - you'll have the best time.

What do you think? Are you nervous about going to uni?

Frank x

(I've had the tune from the YouTube vid stuck in my head ALL day..... sorry!)

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