So you’ve finished sixth form, you’ve burnt your school uniform, boxed away all your old school textbooks and practice exam papers and are preparing for a whole new world; university. What’ve you heard about university so far? Of course, the parties, drinking, crazy nights in student halls, missing lectures and spending every night flopped over a table in your SU (Student Union) bar.
Is this what we’re all expecting as a fresher? Yes, I certainly expected all of this to happen when I began my first week at university. However, I believe your freshers experience is likely to differ depending on factors such as what type of university you go to: Are you going to a large campus university, or to a smaller university in a city? Will you be staying in halls of residence, sharing a house/flat with other students, or commuting from home?
For me, freshers was certainly very different than how I pictured it to be. As a student who got into university through Clearing, I found that I had applied too late to get into halls of residence. As a result of this, I ended up having to find a house close to the university, and share it with other students who weren’t accepted into halls of residence either. I was to only share the house with three other students, so compared to living in halls, where a student would typically have around 7 other students in their flat, I found that living outside of university accommodation left me less exposed to other students in my university. In this case, I found freshers to be an opportunity for me to branch out and make up for the fact I wasn’t in university accommodation.
However, the extravagance of freshers events very much depends on what type of university you go to. At large campus universities, freshers events are an important part to integrating undergraduates into the university, from my experience, this is because most large campus universities are outside cities, so fresher events at such universities tend to be bigger and more flamboyant, whereas, city based universities with smaller campuses have a more ‘laid back’ approach to freshers, since there are so many other parties and events to go to in the city, outside of university.
I think it is very important to think what type of university you want to go to, and what type of freshers experience you are looking for, whether it be to go out and frazzle your brain with some heavy DnB beats, or chill out at a bar with some fellow freshers, your first few weeks at university will definitely define the way you spend the rest of your first year, and help you to decide what it is you want to get out of university.
The advice I would give to freshers is just to go out there, be confident, and build a network – get to know as many people as possible during freshers week, put yourself out there, this is your chance to shine; you’re away from all the people you’ve grown up with, this is an opportunity to show people a new side of yourself, to be someone you’ve always aspired to be, or to just bloom as a person.