A Guide to Starting University

What to expect when you start university?

  • Lots of events! You’ll have a college Freshers’ Week and a university-wide Freshers’ Week. Take advantage of all the different events but don’t worry if you need to take a night off – it can get pretty hardcore.
  • At the Freshers’ Fair look around all the societies, there’s such a wide variety you’re sure to find something you love. Societies are a great way to make friends outside of your college and your subject but also a fab way to learn something new and a little outside of your comfort zone.

How to prepare to start university?

  • Buy loads of food that you like and are quick to make, especially in freshers. Try to get some veg in there to help combat freshers flu but don’t just buy “healthy food” because you’ll end up wasting it buying takeaways every night. My mum made me a big batch of soup and my favourite pasta sauce which really helped me get through the days I thought I’d never breathe through my nose again!

How to adjust to living away from home/parents/friends?

  • I didn’t get particularly homesick or miss my friends too much but you can set up times that you’re going to ring/facetime your friends and family so you know when you’ll be speaking to them next.
  • Remember, especially in the first couple of weeks, it’s important to get out and meet new people – don’t spend the whole of Freshers’ Week in your room on the phone to your mum or texting your friend from home, they’re probably trying to enjoy their Freshers’ too!

What item(s) couldn’t you live without at university?

  • My dressing gown. Cold? Dressing gown. Sad? Dressing gown. Slowly dying of fresher’s flu? Dressing gown. That thing has got me through first year and out the other side in one piece and is definitely underrated.
  • Along the same kind of lines – pyjamas or loungewear that can pass as “real clothes” or just a comfy go-to outfit that you can roll out of bed and throw on. For me it was leggings and an oversized jumper (usually my uni or college one), having that sorted really helps when you’re half asleep getting ready for a 9am lecture.

Top tips for Freshers’ Week

  • Try to eat some veg! I know I sound like your mum but at least buy some multivitamins or something – your body will thank you later.
  • Definitely make sure you have a reusable water bottle and force yourself to stay hydrated especially if you’re planning on lots of nights out.
  • Also make sure you’re stocked up on tissues, lemsip and cough syrup, if you don’t get sick in Freshers’ Week itself, you WILL get sick at some point, be prepared.

What you should do in your first week of being at York

  • As much as you can! Try and get out there and do as many things as possible, take advantage of all the events (there’s usually a lot of free food) to meet new people. Organise a house trip into town or get together with some of your course mates, just try to talk to as many people as you can.

Top tips for making friends

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – go up to people that look interesting and introduce yourself. Remember everyone is in the same boat, talk to everyone you can and try to really make an effort with the people in your house, you’re going to be living with them for the next year so it’s best if you all get on. However, don’t worry if you haven’t met your “best friend” in the first week!

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Just finished my first year doing Sociology at the University of York. I'm in Halifax College and spnd most of my free time watching Friends on repeat or cycling.