You’ve got your place at York… now what?

So, you have got your results, secured your place at (the best) uni, been on the standard pre-uni shopping trip and now actually starting university and moving to York is becoming a reality.

You are going to be living independently and studying a course that you want to do – it is going to be brilliant. The simultaneous feelings of excitement and dread are starting to settle in and no one really knows what to expect. Before coming to York I had no idea what to expect. I knew there would be some drinking, lectures to attend and a lot of pasta making. But otherwise I had no idea what was going to happen over the next term as I began my life in York.

Before you arrive

Before you get here look up societies that you might be interested in and see if they are doing any welcome events. Work out a rough plan of some events you would like to go to (I recommend the free food events!) So when you meet your new flatmates you can suggest some things you could do as a flat. So much happens, both drinking and non-drinking, it is hard to keep up at times. I definitely recommend having a quick google or search on Facebook for events before you get here.

Also, be aware that lots of unofficial events happen in freshers that aren’t organised by the colleges. During Freshers’ Week, most people stick to their college events. Everyone is in the same boat and it means you get to meet people early on who you are going to be living around for the next year.

Before you arrive there are a few things that I reckon you are going to need (in my opinion):

    • Extension lead. You don’t know where the plug sockets are going to be in your room. They could be awkwardly hidden behind your desk and/or miles from your bed. I have got a 5m extension lead and it has genuinely been one of the best things I brought to uni.
    • Distinct Cutlery. Far too much of my time has been spent analysing the shapes of knives or comparing the curvature of spoons to work out which ones belong to me. Just buy some that have a coloured handle or something. It’ll make life much easier.
    • More than one set of cutlery. There are two reasons to bring more than one set: a) You might have a friend over for dinner. b) You have an extra set for when you haven’t managed to do the washing up.
    • Diary or planner type thing. This could be an app or a physical book. It will help you work out how to manage your time so you can get to lectures, do your work and have time to join societies, sports clubs or do some volunteering.

The Madness of Freshers’ Week

It is the first week of living in a new city. You are meeting loads of new people and you are living independently. It is a big change. This is probably going to be one of the few times where you are going to be leaving all that is familiar to go live with a bunch of people you don’t know. So here are a few of my tips on how to survive Freshers Week:

    • It isn’t all about the drinking.
      The prospect of getting drunk almost every night for a week will be exciting for some but hell on earth for others. Either way, you don’t need to drink to be able to fully enjoy Freshers’ Week.There are lots of non-drinking events and things to do. For example, you could head into York and have a look around York Minster – we get in for free by showing our York student ID! Plus, there are lots of alternative events like quizzes and film nights.
    • Stay hydrated.
      If you are going out every night I recommend carrying a bottle of water around with you in the day. Those hangovers can be tough and water will help you feel better ready for the next night of fun! Plus, even if you aren’t going out drinking getting plenty of water is important.
    • There is more to university than Freshers’ Week.
      When I came to uni it felt like Freshers’ Week was the be all and end all. Like it had to be the best week full of loads of awesome memories. In truth, Freshers’ Week can be full of great memories but you have also got the entirety of university to do cool stuff and create some funny stories to tell the grandkids.
    • Homesickness is okay.
      For some people, the end of Freshers’ Week will mark the longest they have ever spent away from home. So it is perfectly okay to feel homesick. Plus those around you are probably feeling homesick too!
    • Be yourself.
      Coming to uni is one of the few times you will find yourself in a place where you know no-one else. This might seem scary but it is an excellent opportunity to be yourself. You can find like-minded people through joining various societies, going to networking events (ie. LGBTQ Network, BAME Network etc) and getting involved in your college communities.

Post-Freshers Life

After the madness of Freshers’ Week, it can be quite easy to forget why you have even come to York (hint: It wasn’t to go out all the time). Things have settled down and you are realising that you are here to study and do that degree thing. The rest of your time at York has begun so this is when you get stuck into your degree, get involved in way too many societies or sports clubs and explore this new city!

But the most important thing out of everything is that… no matter what happens you must NEVER upset a goose. Just trust me.

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I am studying Mathematics and am a proud member of Goodricke college! I love doing stuff with the Christian Focus Society and the Scouts and Girl Guides Society too. Originally I am from Lancashire but this side of the pennines is starting to warm on me...