My Freshers' Week Advice

Next week is Freshers' Week at the University of York, meaning it's been a whole year since I packed my whole life into a suitcase (or four) and moved to the other end of the country to start my degree. As cliché as it sounds, I have learnt a lot this year (example; how stained glass windows were made in the 16th cen. This will come in very handy when I begin my career as a traditional stained glass window craftsman). From my many mistakes and experiences last year, I've compiled this list of advice for all you starting University this year, paired with my favourite Freshers photos:

1. I know you've heard it a thousand times before, on a thousand different Buzzfeed articles, but be yo-self! What I was most nervous about when starting Uni was making any friends whatsoever, but you'd be surprised how much more accepting University is than school. Embrace who you are, and be confident in who you are. Unless you're an axe murderer. In which case you should sort that out.

2. Branch out people-wise. You may have had a very clique-y group at school, but don't necessarily gravitate towards the same kind of people when you get to Uni. Give everyone a chance! There are so many opportunities to make friends at University; not just in your flat, but the rest of your block, your course-mates, people from societies and sports teams, or even just in the University bars. Really get to know a broad range of people, and try not to stick to the same group you meet on the first or second day. I'm speaking from experience here; you might think you've met your BFFL in the first week, but figure out they're a complete tosser by the end of the term. 

3. Freshers' Week, for me at least, involved consuming more alcohol in seven days than I probably had previously drunk in the last eighteen years. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a morning person. Mama needs her eight hours. However, this meant missing a lot of those introductory sessions in that first week. These are not optional. Let's be honest, you're not going to make that 9:00am on the other side of campus, but try to at least make some of them, or you might end up racing to the History of Art department in Week 4 for the handbook they handed out in the first lecture, because you have no frickin' clue how you're supposed to write this essay. 

4. Bring fancy dress clothes! Chances are you'll have some kind of themed night during Freshers' Week, and if you somehow avoid it, Halloween is just around the corner. If you have anything lying around at home, bring it with you. You might not have dressed up since you were about ten, but by the end of my first year I'd been a Cabaret Dancer, one of Charlie's Angels, a Zombie, a Panda and a very very drunk Ginny Weasley (#ragrets). 

5. Try not to get scurvy. For many people, Uni is the first time they've been away from home and had to actually cook for themselves. I really enjoy cooking (it leads to food), but in that first week I ate so much pasta I'm surprised I didn't actually turn into a bag of ADSA smartprice fusilli. We had a guy on our floor who literally had Coke for lunch. Fruits and veg will not kill you; eat some. And whilst we're on the subject of health; FRESHERS' FLU IS REAL. Pack paracetamol. 

6. There's some serious FOMO going on in Freshers' Week, but you don't have to go out every single night. I had one night off, and I made two of my current best friends snuggled up in bed, watching Frozen with a bag of popcorn. If you want a night off, take it. 

^Me and Bae (and Julia's there too)
7. This is something I had a real problem with in Freshers' Week; budget. When you're going out a lot it's easy to spend a tonne of money, but try and reel it in a little bit, or you'll be paying for it by the end of the term (probably by having to eat beans on toast four nights running). 

^Me, pre-PoleSoc
8. Societies! Give lots of things a go, and don't just do what your new friends are doing. If you see something you're interested in, do it! It doesn't matter if you hate it; if you don't at least try it, you'll never know if you were destined to be the President of the Juggling Club. I went to "Pole-Exercise Society", and am I now a professional Exotic Dancer? No, I quit after three weeks, but hey, I gave it a go.

9. Explore your own city. I loved York the day I came for my Open Day, but when you actually get there it's easy to stay on Campus and forget about the exciting city minutes away. Even if you're not at a campus university, get out there! You're not a tourist, but swallow your "I'm not a tourist" pride and do all those tourist activities, and really get to know the city you live in. After all, you're here for at least three years, and it should feel like home.

10. I think this is the most important of all, but really give University a go. Throw yourself into it. No, University isn't for everyone, but make the most of the time you have here, because First Year will be over before you know it. A lot of people feel homesick in Freshers' Week, but you will make friends, and hopefully make memories for life. Do I sound like a Hallmark card yet?

What's your Freshers' Week advice?

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Emily Vyse

I'm an English and History of Art student splitting my time between York and Somerset. I hope you stick around! .

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