Sponsored feature, words by Kirsty Eaglesham

Fresher's week creeps up on you. After what might have seemed like an endless summer of freedom, those first exhilarating few days of university are so close you can almost smell the library… or should that be the student union? OK, so you might spend a little more time in one of these over fresher's week, but it's the ideal time for getting to grips with both - and much more besides that.

With a little help from the Endsleigh hub, you'll survive the week and get a great deal out of it. Promise! Plus, get more help and advice from Endsleigh's 30 steps to university app on Facebook.

1 – Get social

With specially organised union nights, fresher's balls and fairs, pub crawls and all kinds of other activities guaranteed to get you sparking up conversation, fresher's week is the time to practise your social skills. But why wait until then? In these modern times, getting social online is just as important - and something you can do before you've even moved into your student digs. Link up with your halls, university and course mates via Twitter and Facebook to get the lowdown on plans for the week ahead. That way you'll be able to organise your social life, plus pick up some new friends to tag along with. Staying connected with your new friends online will prove essential once different course timetables makes meeting up tricky.

If you're worried about feeling lonely or not knowing how to get chatting, just remember that you're all in the same boat. Prop the door of your room open while you unpack to encourage people to say hi, and hang out in the communal areas. Scared you'll sound like a loser? Just ask how they're liking their student house, or what they got up to during the summer. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! With these extra tips, you'll be a social butterfly in no time!

2 – Stock up

Not to sound like your mum, but as well as having a good time, fresher's week is about setting yourself up for the year ahead. You'll have plenty of 'stuff' to unpack, no doubt, so take your time. Make your room homely with lots of photos of friends and family, and pick up cheap posters at sales across campus.

From cutlery to cleaning products, these are student essentials you'll need straight away. But remember, if you're in shared accommodation you may want to split the costs of certain things, like toilet roll or milk. Be sure to stock up on the more fresher-friendly items, too, such as paracetamol and condoms, as well as fruit and veg to help fight off the infamous fresher's flu. But remember, you won't have the cash to splash, so stock up on a budget by using your student discounts wherever possible (more of that later). If in doubt make sure you check out the essential student checklist.

3 – Stay safe

You're in a new town, surrounded by new faces, who have new names you're likely to forget. To some this can feel daunting, while others are non-plussed by it all. Either way, it makes sense to take precautions and stay safe. First, get a map of the local area and study it to get your bearings. Not only will it save time getting from A to B, it'll mean you don't have to get the map or your phone out every two seconds, which can make you an easy target for thieves. If it's late at night, travel around in pairs and always get licensed taxis if needed. Of course you want to have fun too, but know your limits. Too much drink won't necessarily make you look cool…

Make sure you’re belongings are safe, insurance cover may already be provided by your accommodation provider, check here

4 – Bank on it

If you haven't already, now's the time to get your finances in order. Apply for a flexible student bank account that offers a healthy overdraft for life's emergencies (hopefully you won't need it, but it'll provide some reassurance if you're struggling). Next, get budgeting. Work out how much you can afford to spend on your social life, living costs and putting aside for a rainy day. And just as importantly, work out where you can make savings, whether this is preparing packed lunches rather than eating out each day, or going after second-hand text books.

The NUS card, which you can apply for online, is a student essential that will bag you discounts in a range of shops online and on the high street, from your weekly shop at the Co-op to the latest releases on Amazon.co.uk and even driving lessons. But don't be afraid to ask in independent shops and cafes, too, as many will give 10-15% off as standard. The Endsleigh Hub
has some great tips on how to get more out of your NUS card.

5 – Enjoy Yourself!

There will be days when you feel like hiding under the duvet because your hangover's hideous, and days when you miss home, but there will also be many more amazing memories you'll take with you from fresher's week. Whether it's going on the pull dressed as a Smurf or finding that new BFF, fresh opportunities and experiences are there for the taking. Throw yourself into new hobbies or sports by signing up with societies at the fresher's fairs. Maybe you fancy a go at debating, or giving ultimate frisbee a whirl.

Also, take up as many social invites as you can, because you never know where they will lead. These days are perfect for bonding with your peers over shared firsts, so get involved. Just remember to call your parents and let them know how much fun you're having!

For more information see Endsleigh’s 30 steps to Uni and get a new helpful tip every day.