So, Freshers’ week is here and you have a pile of worries. Will I like my course? My new city? Will I settle in? As an introvert who has lived through it to tell the tale, I’m going to give you my tips to help you manage!
- Facebook is a godsend!
I think something that frightened me the most about uni was the fear of the unknown. I’m the type of person to plans things waaay in advance. Yet, there are so many things you can’t predict about uni e.g who your flatmates are and who you’ll make friends with.
Facebook is your best friend in this situation. Most universities have realised the potential of social media, and often have a freshers’ Facebook group, something named along the lines of ‘[university name] freshers’ 2017 – 2018′.
In these kind of groups, you’re encouraged to post your “icebreaker” message and introduce yourself and a few interests. This was so much of a benefit to me, as I’m a very shy person. I take time to come out my shell. In the freshers’ group, I made friends just as anyone would with internet friends, easily done and not too nerve-wracking behind the keyboard.
I actually met one of my best friends / housemates through Facebook. We had started talking months before so when we met for the first time in person it just felt like good friends seeing each other again! I found this method of friend-making exciting, and would often look at the group constantly to see the new members posting in it.
The traditional method of making friends is great too, but it was a relief to have a few friendly faces in a crowd of unfamiliar. In a way, Facebook can act as a safety net. I’m not sure whether this is university specific, but Bath Spa University have Facebook groups for accommodation blocks so you can know in advance who you’ll be living with for the year, dig around and see if you can find anything similar for your uni.
- Just breathe. Calm down. You’re worrying too much.
When the phrase ‘freshers’ is mentioned, people often imagine themselves getting drunk out of their heads and ending up naked in public somewhere by the end of the week. Don’t let American films trick you.
Before starting university and joining a freshers’ Facebook group, I realised a lot of emphasis was placed on drinking. Yeah, sure, alcohol can ease a person into being sociable, but if it isn’t your cup of tea, don’t drink it. There are so many events university led and hosted by local clubs that encourage freshers to get hammered because they profit from it.
Freshers’ week is advertised to students as this phenomenal moment in their lives, when in reality, it’s just a week where you can start to settle in and make friends, no more and no less. It’s not as daunting as it looks, I promise.
I remember a few weeks before coming to uni, I asked on a Facebook group whether anyone non-drinkers wanted to hang out and I got dozens and dozens of people messaging me about it. There are people like you, I swear! Those people were just nervous to open up about their lack of drinking, for fear of being rejected. Don’t fear – uni is a very accepting place! You will be respected for who you are, not what some silly club down the street wants you to be.
Yes, university is a place for new experiences, but don’t overdo it. If clubbing isn’t your thing, don’t expect it to be the minute you become a student. In freshers’ week I went out one night with people I barely knew to seem ‘normal’ but it was probably the least enjoyable night out I’ve had. If you wanna socialise in the day with societies and seminars and chill in the night with netflix or a book, go for it. Don’t stray too far from your comfort zone, don’t sacrifice your own self-care to try to look cool and open to try anything. It’s draining otherwise, I promise you.
- You’re not one of a kind, and that’s a good thing!
If you’re thinking ‘Oh no one at home ever shared my interests, I’m gonna be such a loner at uni’ you’re wrong. Love an underrated book series? Like dungeons and dragons? There’s at least one person joining uni with you who will share your interest. As a keen lover of YA, I found myself discussing some of my favourite YA books with people I’d just met on my course! Before my degree, I thought the Harry Potter fandom was dying out, being the only fan I could see in my sixth form, but at uni, you can nerd out to the next level. Hell, the Harry Potter society at Bath Spa meet up in a Hogwarts-esque castle on campus! Passion in all shapes and forms is met with acceptance and encouragement. There’s a girl I always see on campus who doesn’t go anywhere without wearing a cloak, like she’s destined to be in a fantasy novel. You do you.
- Find what fits.
What I found scary as a fresher was my total lack of the familiar. You’re introduced to so many new things as a student, alongside learning to live on your own, which can be hard to take in at first. Through trial and error, after a few weeks I fell into a decent routine e.g. I would do my seminar prep at this time, do laundry and food shopping on this day etc. Finding a routine that fit me well, helped me deal with this new lifestyle and made me happier than I would be without being organised.
- A nest is best!
Something that made me really excited to head to uni was the opportunity to decorate my new accommodation. There’s something so great about making your Pinterest boards become a reality!
I get a lot of comfort from my time spent at home, so I knew it would be really important for me to make my room cosy. You’ll often see student rooms covered in family / friend pictures which is one good way to make your room feel less foreign. Personally, what made my room cosy was buying enough fluffy pillows and blankets to last an Arctic winter. Glamming your room up to make you look forward to heading home at the end of the day makes all the difference. Primark, amazon, and Lidl are your best friends.
Follow as many or as little of my tips to suit you. But most importantly, relax and enjoy the week. Good luck!