Heading to uni this autumn? Take some advice from those who've already been
Freshers Week can be overwhelming at times, so here are some tips from other students on how to relax and make the most out of your experience.
Making friends at university
It can be daunting to move away from home and meet new people – but don’t stress if you don't immediately fall into a friendship group.
“Making friends is likely to take longer than a week, especially when everyone's in a new setting. People get really worried if they don't make friends in Freshers Week, when it was never realistic to expect it to happen so soon,” says Persipan.
And you can start laying the groundwork for meeting people and making friends before you even get to uni.
“Try getting in touch with your flatmates and course mates before September," says annablagg. "They usually have Facebook groups where you can speak to each other and this really helped me."
“I started talking to people on the Freshers Facebook page. Everyone started adding each other. Then when Freshers events would happen you'd start bumping into people you knew,” shares anonymouspie227.
Moving into your accommodation
Get to your accommodation as early as you can – you'll be really busy otherwise and it'll take you days to unpack.
You can also meet and talk to your new flatmates easily just by leaving your door open while they move in.
“You'll become more confident when you meet your flatmates and course buddies," says seasidestudy. "It's the fear of the unknown that you're stressing about, but you'll make some amazing friends and have a great time."
If you meet someone on your course, you could exchange numbers and go to the first few lectures together. It's a lot easier to meet new people once you're already with someone.
Ultimately, annablagg says that you should attend as many events as you can. "You'll have so much fun during Freshers Week and it's the best place to meet people and form friendships."
Read more: how to handle your first year of university
Societies and freshers fairs
University is probably the best opportunity you will have to try new sports, hobbies and activities so cheaply and easily.
“Jump in at the deep end," says Rockrunride. "Go to all the events you can get yourself to. Say hello and introduce yourself as much as possible."
“Swallow your shyness and smile at people – or just start a conversation with them! Find out who they are and where they're from," recommends ChemicalBond.
If you're interested in any societies, ask about taster events and put your name down for the mailing list.
“You'll find plenty of like-minded people," says 2007PSanHa. "Some societies will have loads of members, but more obscure societies may only have about 10 members. You'll soon gain lots of friends and be surprised how many of them you bump into on campus.”
Sign up to a few different things, as you won't really know which activities you enjoy until you have a few sessions.
"Push out of your comfort zone," says ThatSameCraig20. "It might terrify you at first, but you'll be glad you did it.”
Read more: what to take to university checklist
Most student unions will send you info about Freshers Week before you arrive, but check out their website if not. Tickets tend to sell out for popular events, so make sure you get yours early.
Second and third year students are usually the people selling tickets for the different nights, so you can ask them which events they recommend.
And of course, you don't have to go out if you don't want to.
"Just remember that it's fine to take some time out for yourself as well. Freshers Week can be overwhelming and if you want an evening by yourself watching Netflix, that is absolutely fine," says Lucilou101.
Money and budgeting
"Don't spend all your money on booze," advises Aston University.
Freshers Week will be a lot less stressful if you have a budget planned. A lot of people spend too much on alcohol and then don't have much money left for other activities.
"Write down your loan amount, take away your accommodation fee, and then divide it by the amount of weeks before your next payment," says ThatSameCraig20. "Stick to it and it's one less thing to stress about."
Keep some money back for Christmas too – you'll probably have a lot of parties, clothes and presents to pay for.
Also, always ask for a student discount; your uni student card will save you money in a lot of shops and restaurants.
More like this: choosing and opening a student bank account
“Bring a couple of days worth of food," recommends super_kawaii. "You don't want to be stressing about starving to death when you're trying to find your feet in a new city.”
Stock up on cupboard essentials and tinned goods like beans and tomatoes – they're perfect for making emergency meals when you can't be bothered to go to the shops.
"Make sure you're buying own-brand items," says University of Leicester. "Most people can't taste the difference between a supermarket's own food and branded food – it's a lot cheaper. Plus, shop in the evening as supermarkets reduce the price of food they're trying to shift."
While ready meals may look like the answer to eating without cooking, they are usually expensive and full of saturated fats.
“Make big batches of curry, chilli and bolognese," suggests vineyard13. "Portion them out into freezer bags, freeze them and then microwave when you want them. Rice, pasta and potatoes are cheap accompaniments, as well as frozen veg."
Books and reading lists
You'll probably only need one or two chapters from the books on your reading list, so you don't normally need to buy them.
Most universities will upload PDFs of relevant readings, and you can also borrow the print edition from the university library.
If you do want to buy books, then definitely don't get them brand new – some textbooks cost more than £100!
You can get cheap used books from Amazon, Oxfam Books, Alibris or Abebooks – just make sure it's the right edition.
Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!