Honestly, the beginning of uni is an emotionally-charged couple of weeks - you’ll go through a huge amount of change and there might be moments where you feel a little more sensitive than usual.
Here’s how to keep a handle on your emotions, think positively and make it the best of times.
1. The housemate scenario
You walk into the common area of your new student accommodation and your housemate is unpacking her food shopping and offering milk chocolate hobnobs to everyone and their parents, politely asking if anyone would like a cuppa.
Your normal brain thinks:
“Ah what a lovely person, I really hope we become good friends, she seems super nice….. Oooo I love milk chocolate hobnobs…. what an absolute hero for not choosing the plain ones…. Could do with a cuppa, I’ll offer to help out”
Your Fresher brain thinks:
“S***. I was going to do that…. Eugh… everyone is going to love her…. She’s even sucking up to the parents…. Is she actually that nice or is she just acting fake so everyone will like her… I was going to offer out my jaffa cakes…. Who is going to want to a jaffa cake when you can have a milk chocolate hobnob….. look everyone is smiling at her…. How do I make a good impression now….?”
Don’t panic. Everyone is trying to find their place and their role in your new flat. Everyone will be nervous and making friends and a good impression will be their main priority. It’s natural to feel a little intimidated in this situation because everyone wants to project the best version of themselves and find the right opportunity to do it.
Take a deep breath and go and offer to help, offer to help her put her shopping away and ask her about herself, what she’s studying, where she’s from. I can guarantee she’s probably feeling just as nervous as you.
2. The potential lecture buddy scenario
You walk into your second lecture and you see the nice guy you sat with yesterday come in. You got along well so you save him a seat. You give him a wave, you think he’s seen you but he doesn’t acknowledge you and sits with someone else.
Normal brain thinks: “Hmmm… maybe he didn’t see me…. That’s ok, it’s only the second day…. Loads of other people to meet yet… there’s a girl over there sitting by herself…. I’ll go and sit with her… she looks nice”
Fresher brain thinks: “Obviously saw me and he didn’t want to sit with me… what is wrong with me…. I thought we got on well…. Did I do something wrong… does he think I’m weird…. Who is that person he is sitting with… why did he chose them…. Will I ever make some good friends on my course…. I miss my mates… “
It’s really early days, remember you haven’t even been to a seminar yet – there are still so many amazing people left to meet. It’s ok to feel a bit put out by this because everyone wants to feel settled with a group of mates around them. Try to think optimistically about this situation. The chances are they didn’t see you, or the person they have sat with is someone from their halls.
The best thing you can do is keep smiling (no one wants to hang out with someone that looks miserable) and go and sit with someone else. You’ll probably make their day and it could be the start of a great friendship.
What is going to uni really like?
Worried about making friends at uni? Follow these top tips!
3. The sports and societies fair scenario
You check out the fair and start chatting to the rowing team. They’re really keen to get you on board. You’ve never rowed before but they assure you that they have a great beginners team and you’ll progress really fast if you work hard. Then someone that has rowed for a regional team turns up at the table and the whole team begins to chat with them whilst you provide your contact details, they don’t say bye as you leave.
Normal brain thinks: “They seem really nice and rowing sounds awesome….. like the idea of team nights…. Seems like a good way to meet more people…. Feel a bit intimidated by that other rower…. I guess they are pretty keen to get them on the team if they’ve rowed before… I’m going to train so hard… I’d love to row for the uni someday… I’m sure they didn’t mean to be rude… I’ll go along to the Fresher event and see what happens”
Fresher brain thinks:
“I know that rower is going to be awesome but they could have at least said goodbye right….. hmmm maybe I won’t go…. I bet they’ll all be focused on those elite rowers and ignore the beginners and it will all be mega cliquey… EUGH… nah…. Came to uni to get away from cliques… that just feels like school all over again”
Sport and societies fairs are fast-paced, all the current students will be keen to speak to as many freshers as possible. Everyone wants to recruit keen beans like you, I promise. It’s likely that you will meet freshers that have a lot more experience than you, but don’t see them as threat. Instead try to see them as someone that you can learn from, someone that will inspire you.
Fresher events or try-outs for sports teams and societies are great way of meeting new people and finding out what else is going on across the campus. You might not choose to continue that activity but through meeting others you might discover something that suits you perfectly.
Freshers are generally very well looked after and in most cases someone senior in the team will be in charge of looking out for you so don’t worry about feeling left out. In my experience teams and societies love welcoming new members.
4. The budget food shopping dilemma scenario
You’re off to get your first food shop from Aldi. Your housemate is about to drive to Waitrose to do their food shop and asks whether you would like to come along. Because you’re keen to stay true to your budgeting you say thank you and make your way to Aldi.
Normal brain thinks:
“That’s really nice of them to offer…. Ohhh I am so tempted…. Maybe just this once…. I’m still settling in after all, maybe I should treat myself…hmmmm Waitrose…. NO…. STOP…. I have a plan, a budget, I will stick to it, I promised myself and I don’t want to get in to bad habits”
Fresher brain thinks
WFT… Waitrose?!....Are you kidding?.... like seriously?!.... who the **** shops at Waitrose when they’re at uni? How embarrassing… I bet they’re judging me… or feel really sorry for me that I’m off to Aldi… they must think I’m the ‘poor relation’ of the flat… eugh….
Everyone has a different budget at uni and you’re going to have to just ride the wave. If anyone judges you for your budgeting choices that’s their problem not yours. Stick to your plan, if you run your finances efficiently the chances are you’ll have some pennies leftover to treat yourself with at the end of the semester.
Nearly every fresher will be fighting some kind of battle at uni that you aren’t aware of, whether it’s missing their family and friends, struggling with the transition from college to uni, feeling broke, or worried about not making friends.
The best thing you can do is think optimistically about other’s intentions and make the most of every opportunity during freshers' week. Staying positive is a great way to helping you keep well and having a ton of fun.
Find out everything you need to know about Freshers!
Already lived through Freshers?
How did you keep your cool and make the most of it?
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