Whether you're looking at Leeds as a possible university, confirmed it as a choice, or even started in your first year, you'll probably want to hear a student's experiences and opinions about going through your first year at Leeds University.
First Of All
Leeds is awesome. But if you're going I guess you already know that ;)
This guide is basically here to give you a bit of insight
It's All About You
The official website for all University of Leeds freshers from Leeds University Union - www.allaboutfreshers.com - has all the information you could need from big nights out to help and support.
The events listing website for LUU. It has detailed information about all the clubnights, live gigs and comedy acts on! www.unionevents.org It's useful all year, but has a lot of the night-time freshers stuff on there too.
Freshers is manic, always. If you want to, there will be opportunities to do essentially everything you could ever possibly want to do (more on nightlife later).
It usually all kicks off about a week before - there are lots of events on for early arrivals, international students and local students. (If you're already in Leeds you can go along to these, but most undergrads don't get here until Saturday 19th September, which is when the main Freshers' week starts.) After that term starts but there are still other events in that week like Varsity and the Freshers' Finale! So it's basically three weeks of great stuff.
When you get into your room there'll probably be a welcome pack with things like an energy drink, some leaflets, some tabasco sauce (yeah I think they anticipated we'd all try weird shots) and whatever else they feel like putting in. Don't count on there being condoms in there, it was planned a few years ago, but some people complained so they took them out! However maybe this time they'll be a little less ridiculous.
Make sure to join up to as many societies as you think you could possibly manage at the freshers fair. I can personally recommend things like RockSoc, Leeds Student Radio, and some of the sports societies. Also it's worth signing up with your school society, (Lawsoc, FoBSoc Design Society etc.) you get great deals and awesome nights out through them, and it's a great place to meet people on your course outside of lectures.
Also BUY (good) POSTERS! They go on sale fairly cheap and there are some amazing designs out there. It makes your room so much more homely and chilled out.
Accommodation & Rooms
Rooms are often one of the weirdest things of heading off to uni, and they're pretty much pot luck. Last year I had a lovely and large top floor room whilst some friends had much smaller (but cosier) ones. In the end it's better to become friends with someone who has a nice room than to just envy them.
Most places have single beds, though a few have bigger ones (Charles Morris for example). However honestly all of them have easily enough room for 3 people to share comfortably if you get too drunk and have to crash out (or something like that)
Anyway most rooms are fine to live in, and if you're unhappy with yours, usually the accommodation staff can do something to help. Oh and get yourself a kettle. It's worth it to be able to roll out of bed and get a cuppa first thing in the morning.
Also don't go by the stereotypes of each hall. For some they are trueish however there's always a massive mix of people at each one. You'll always find people you'll want to be around.
Yeah the first few weeks tends to be a bit laid back, letting you settle in. Just chill out, but try to be as punctual as you can. It's good practice to be able to turn up on time to a lecture whilst still drunk from the previous night.
Get used to where everything is. Essential places to know:
- Parky (Parkinson) Steps
- Eddy B (Edward Boyle Library)
- Roger Stevens
- Union Steps
- Old Bar
Oh and don't get worried by the workload. It's not piled on really for quite a while (in general.)
Now here's the bit that I'm sure you'd like to know.
The nightlife in Leeds is awesome and honestly suits every taste! My best piece of advice is to NOT BUY wristbands BEFORE YOU ARRIVE. There are many promotion and events companies that oversell and offer "too good to be true" opportunities! All that will happen is that you will lose your money. Leeds will be busy but wait until you arrive and decide where to go with your new friends.
Here's a few recommendations for nights out:
Leeds University Union hosts tons of nights in the union clubs & venues (there are at least 7 of them!). If you like your mainstream cheese and fun, Fruity is a good start. Running every Friday in Stylus, it always attracts a huge crowd and is definitely worth a look no matter what your taste in music is. Thursdays in Terrace is Cocktail Night with the LSR DJs taking to the decks to provide some DJ talent. Plus with cheap cocktails everywhere, what have you got to lose?
The official freshers 2015 welcome website is All About Freshers. It has loads of freshers info including all the big events. Unionevents.org is the Unions own event site where you can look in more detail about events and then buy tickets. LUU don't operate any wristbands and you should buy early as they will sell out. This year they have loads club nights (stuff like school disco, Propaganda and the Freshers' Finale) and stand up comedy (including Russell Kane and Sean Walsh), as well as loads of daytime things like day trips and film screenings.
The union pack freshers week with absolutely loads to do and great gigs, make sure you book early through their ticket site leedstickets.com to make sure you get a ticket. You can also get your tickets at the unions helpdesk or in the "cats" shop downstairs. The big "arrival party" is on the first Sunday of freshers week and is always an amazing night out.
Their venues are all very good, with top service in the bars and clubs. Stylus has an especially good sound system so its worth while to see a gig there or in the legendary refectory.
Other events held regularly through the year include "Fruity", Top Gun (for all you power-cheese fans. Full of Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper and other classics. Some Thursdays @ Mine) and the Headphone Disco. Another great night out for those who are deep into the Alt scene is Wendy House. You've never seen so many glowsticks and flashing colours!
In town there are a huge amount of clubs and nights to choose from. Generally ticket sellers and wristband promoters will be EVERYWHERE. Ignore them! Here are a few big names and the quality varies:
- Warehouse (generally excellent club...plus it has beds!!!)
- Halo (held in an old church. Worth a visit at least once, particularly on Monday as it's quids night)
- Mook (great cocktail bar. Expensive but definitely a good night out)
- The Faversham (Party hard, every Tuesday! My favourite club. Worth a visit on Tuesdays for Moustache night.)
- Propaganda (Great indie night! )
- Bed (general night out, had some great times there when it was under its previous name)
There are many many more but I don't want to ruin all the fun of discovering them for yourself ;)
The Otley Run
The fabled pub crawl of Leeds. These are always messy, always fun and always expensive! I made the mistake of losing my ID before my first one so I had to do it half on shots...I broke a rib, crashed out after 14 pubs, woke up with my entire bed bright yellow, and was hungover for the next 3 days!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Otley_Run will tell you everything you need to know, but here's a little quote from the page:
It is widely known that the Otley run usually ends between 11-12 in the evening because of people bailing and vomiting everywhere.
Just stick to pints and make sure you know how you're getting home...or don't, it's amazing either way!
P.s. Law & Med students, prepare for a lot of otley runs!
So far a lot of this guide has had references to drinking. So here are some more cultured, interesting things to do around the place.
- Although I have not personally been, I have heard of an excellent jazz scene in Leeds
- There are some wonderful restaurants (particularly Browns) for having a classy night out with a few friends, or a romantic date if you get so lucky ;)
- The Royal Armouries are definitely worth a visit, particularly if you're living in Clarence Dock as it's right next to you!
- Make sure to visit the Corn Exchange and Kirkgate market. There's all sorts of things in there!
- If you're up in Dev, LS6 or Chichinis are wonderful places to eat.
- There are a HUGE amount of coffee shops around even one in the Parkinson Building! If you like your caffeine, you will be spoilt for choice!
- Classical music concerts are on all the time, LUUMS does a few good ones at the end of each term and all through the year individuals play.
- Hyde Park is lovely to relax in during day time, particularly in Summer. Also it's a bracing walk at 9AM in November!
- There are many active religious groups associated with the university, so if that's what you're looking for, there's no shortage!
A Final Few Fresher Tips
You will end up believing that Leeds is the best place ever. Keep your ID safe. Losing it ruins your term! Go to gigs! People will crash out in your room at one time or another. Just go with the flow and sleep on them or something. Social norms go out the window by week 3. Refreshers week (first week of semester 2) is like freshers, but you have friends! Your student finance is there for alcohol mainly. If you don't drink then you'll have a lot more to spend on useful things. You can survive solely on vodka for a few days. Pints are a meal. Predrinks start at about 9PM and usually go 'til 11. Ring of fire accelerates the process of meeting people. Paranoia is a messy drinking game. As is Drink While You Think As is Power Hour/Centurion Don't be sick in the shower. No-one will thank you for it. Your liver is about to take a serious blow. Enjoy. You will hear "DOWN IT FRESHARRRRRR" more times than you'd care to. You'll learn to love it! There will be people handing out leaflets wherever you go. Resist the urge to punch them, it is very tempting! (c/o Sisko_197) Don't buy books, just buy the revision guides and borrow them from the library (c/o Oligator) The 95 is the Bodbus, if you are in Boddington then this will be your beloved transport! (I have since been notified that Boddington is shutting down, a sad time for all) Bus tickets from Hyde Park corner to Morrisons (in town) are £1. Anywhere further out along the otley road to town is more expensive. If you don't like your course, change in first year! Changing after is harder and you will probably not get student finance to fund you the entire new course. (going through this process as I write!) Morrisons' basics range contains some excellent food for incredible prices, and they have also recently started selling 4 frying steaks for £2.50! You can still eat well. There is a society for nearly everything. If there isn't one, go ahead and start one! The Band Society has access to a cool practice room in the uni grounds (if you ever wonder what that pyramid thing is, the room is under there.) If you want to start up a band, they can help you out.
Have fun! :)