Nine Things That Freshers Learn The Hard Way

There are only a few short weeks left until you will be starting your own freshers journey at university. 

A year of parties, drinks and, of course, lectures and exams will soon begin. However, will you be ready for the many unexpected life lessons you are yet to learn? 

We have rounded up the top nine life and study lessons that our TSR community learned the hard way as a fresher, so that you don't make the same mistakes starting your freshers year!


1) You'll want to avoid temptation at the freshers fair:

“(Don't) sign up to things at freshers fair just because they're giving you a free pen or stress ball, otherwise for the rest of the year you'll get floods of emails from the choir society, or on how to meditate.” - Leax.

Clubs and societies are a fab way to make new friends when you start uni, but instead of signing up to a dozen different societies (RIP inbox)which you know you will never actually go to, sign up to ones you genuinely want to try or already know you enjoy. The free mug isn't worth it, step away from that Ultimate Frisbee sign up sheet.

2) You'll find that surviving until your next student loan day gets tough:

“Budgeting ain't no joke.” 
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When you first get your student loan, it may be the biggest amount of money you've ever had in your account at one time and it's tempting to live it up like a baller. Try and hold back from bottle service and take-aways every night however, or you'll end up with £2.87 in your bank account with two months to go before your next loan payment.  Make a budget and stick to it, making sure you have enough to cover uni supplies such as books (or just check the library). 

3) You shouldn't get too happy filling up your contact list in the first week:

“Don't pick your best mates in the first month; get to know as many people as you possibly can then pick them. You might get lucky in that first week and find the best mates ever, or you might not and you will spend the rest of the year trying to get rid of them ...” 

Meeting a variety of people is the best way to find those who you want to spend all-nighters and lazy days with. You might not meet your new best friend in the first two days- and that's okay! People on your course or in societies you join may have more in common with you than your housemates, so give it some time and get to know them.


4) Hopefully your first uni results day won't be a shock:

“University is no longer about learning to pass an exam, but instead a much vaguer assessment of your abilities.” 

Much is made about the 'jump' from GCSE's to A level and from A level to uni. You may find that your work is assessed differently to how you're used to, but uni's accommodate for this in first year by teaching you how to write in their preferred style or complete projects. If you find it tricky to figure out what you're expected to do, make sure you ask your academic adviser or tutor (and remember that everyone else is going through the same thing). 

5) ...and that you won't get disappointed when you don't get higher than a 2:2 in your first essay

“(You’ll learn) the importance of proper research and referencing in essays” 

It can be strange to think you might be ecstatic over getting 60% in your essays,but uni essays and work are graded differently from A levels. You will soon get used to it! Referencing and research may be a new thing to get your head around but there are many online guides and your school will likely have their own guides for the style they use on their website. Find out which style your school prefers and don't worry if you don't reference perfectly in your first essay! 

6) It will soon set in what not living at home is really like:

“That when you're ill you still have to do everything for yourself, such as studying and generally feeding yourself so that you can actually survive…” 

No more food just appearing in the fridge, getting the spider out of the shower yourself, cleaning the toilet.. living away from home for the first time will likely come with a lot of new experiences and tasks. It may be a bit of a shock to the system when you first have to deal with a crisis without your parents, but uni staff (if on campus) and your friends/ housemates are there for support and you can overcome the challenges together.


7) ...and you'll be cursing your housemates at 4am as you are all huddled outside your flat in the cold, AGAIN:

“Some peoples idea of cooking ends up setting the alarm off weekly.” 

They might be good to rely on when you run out of loo roll, but housemates can also drive you up the wall. Expect the fire alarm to be going off more than a few times if you're living in halls because one of them has managed to burn toast. 

8) You won't want to be cleaning all-day whilst hungover after a house party:

“Don't organize parties at (your own) place.” 

...unless you don't mind walking through sticky patches of cider from the night before. It may seem like a brilliant idea at the time, but unless you and your housemates all agreed on a cleaning rota the night before, you'll likely be stuck trying to clean up sick, beer and some unidentifiable substances of the walls when all you want to do is curl up with tea and watch Netflix.

9) But at some point you'll hit the hardest reality of uni life:

“The biggest thing I learned is I need a special woman in my life... my mum.” 

Always equipped with a Strepsil, cup of tea or piece of wisdom, Mums are the best, aren't they? You might be excited to get away from her at the moment, but it won't be long til you're wishing she was here to give you a hug (and do your washing). 

Are you excited for freshers? Got any more tips to share? Share it all with us in the comments below!

More on TSR: 
What you learned the hard way last year 
What is freshers week like for second years? 
Before you go to university