Freshers’ Week: the details nobody thinks of

Coming up to starting University, your older brother will probably scare you with stories of his wild Freshers antics, your mother will probably scare you with her excessive fussing, and everyone else will probably scare you with a wild array of contradicting advice. The only thing that you need to remember is this: just be yourself.

Aside from the emotional advice, I have compiled a practical list of all the details that would have made starting University so much easier had I known about them beforehand:

Coming up to Intro Week

  • Have a piece of paper with your National Insurance Number, NHS number, passport number, driver’s license/ other ID written down. This means that all of the queues registering for your UCard and local Doctor’s surgery go so much smoother.
  • Multivitamins, Paracetomal and Lemsips are a must.  Unfortunately Fresher’s Flu is almost inevitable, so if you are stuck in bed, it is handy to have these at your fingertips.
  • Make sure you have a good eye patch and several pairs of earplugs. One of the amazing things about living in halls is the sense of community and constant buzz, but everyone needs some peace and quiet sometimes!

  • Bring a doorstop. Propping your door open is a great way to meet your new flatmates.
  • Invest in cake mix and cake tins. Baking for people is the ideal way to make new friends.

  • If you have unrestricted modules where you can choose to study another subject outside of your degree title, have a look online at your options first. I am very indecisive, so sitting in a hall with half an hour to decide whether to study Journalism, Geography, Sociology or Politics along with my Modern Languages degree was very stressful. You can look on the University of Sheffield website for more advice.

There is space to change your mind during the first two weeks of starting a new module. I discovered that Sociology was not for me and swapped back to French Literature. There is incredible flexibility concerning module choice, so I recommend studying something completely new. I had no idea that I would enjoy comparative politics until I took a module this year!

During Fresher’s Week

  • Always have a pen, a bottle of water and a handy snack on you. You will need them.
  • Check underneath your mattress. Having to do the inventory is the last thing you want during fresher’s week, but if you do it wrong it comes back to bite you later. Take photos of anything and everything to be super thorough. The person before me stained my mattress and flipped it over, which I did not notice or mark on my inventory, which meant I was billed for it at the end of the year.
  • You will receive a rainforest of flyers. Stick them in a pile and sort through them at a later date. You will receive far too much information to process everything at once.
  • Finally: have fun! There is no pressure to be anyone other than yourself, so go for it, and embrace the new adventure!

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