Preparing for uni and Freshers’ Week

I knew I wanted to study at York as soon as I first came on the Open Day. It was the first university I looked at, my family and I all fell in love, and none of the others compared.

When it came to Results Day and I found out that I had achieved the required grades, both my Mum and I started crying with relief. I was going!

Summer prep

I spent a lot of my summer doing back and forth trips to IKEA and supermarkets to ensure I had everything I could possibly need. I had to think carefully about how much I was going to bring as I wasn’t sure what the storage space in my new room would be like and it may not have even all fit in the car!

Find lists of things to bring from websites like UCAS or The Student Room to ensure you have all the essentials, including important documents.

We also devised a plan to prepare me for self-catering. I enjoy cooking anyway so learning recipes wasn’t an issue. However, I would need to get used to the thought of having to buy my own food and making the most of the small storage space. My parents gave me a small budget each week to live on as well as one cupboard, one drawer, one shelf in the fridge, and one in the freezer. This worked really well as I was coming to uni aware of food prices and how much I could fit into my kitchen space.

Freshers’ Week

So many people told me that I would absolutely love Freshers’ Week and it would be the best week of my life. As someone who doesn’t enjoy clubbing, that didn’t seem quite right.

I had never actually been to a club before moving to York, I was just sure I wouldn’t enjoy it as my ideal night is watching Netflix in bed and going to sleep by 10pm. However, I made an exception on the first night of Freshers’ and went out with my flat to the first event of the week. Although I did enjoy the first hour, I quickly became tired and a little bored of just bobbing up and down on the spot.

I decided the next day that I would spend Freshers’ Week doing the day activities rather than the evenings and, although that meant I missed out on the “mad” stories of the things my flatmates did in the club, I knew I was happiest in bed. I instead made the most of the on-campus activities like comedy night and the Freshers’ Festival.

Although I do say that I enjoyed Freshers’ Week on the whole, I feel like the emphasis that you have to enjoy yourself by going clubbing each night is a little incorrect. I found myself having more fun by doing the things I wanted to do in my own time with my new found group of friends.

How to make the most of Freshers’ Week

Freshers’ isn’t all about clubbing and partying (that’s actually only a small part of it) and most of your week will be free time.

I would greatly recommend wandering the campus and getting to know your way around before you need to be at classes. The chances are that your classes will be in different buildings across campus, so it makes it much easier if you’ve already figured out your way around.

Also, make the most of York’s beautiful city centre. There’s all kinds of shops, bars, and restaurants to explore as well as its many tourist attractions (I am personally a big fan of the Jorvik Centre).

Living at university once Freshers’ Week comes to an end

Once the hype of Freshers’ wears off, you face the day-to-day life of university. You’ll start your course, you’ll have to make friends, and you may start to feel homesick.

Don't be scared to call home as often as you like. If you're feeling homesick, talk to your friends about it. Talking makes it easier rarther than bottling it all up and it may provide a brief distraction.

I would recommend joining a society if making friends doesn’t come naturally to you. It took me until term 2 before I found the musical theatre society (CHMS) and I’ve already made some amazing friends – I wish I’d joined sooner!

Friends typically come from 4 places: flatmates, course mates, society friends, and friends of friends. Most people will find close friends within at least two of these categories and Freshers’ Week and the first few weeks of term are a great place to start. I met my first non-flatmate friend during comedy night in Freshers’ and it turned out she also took my course so we agreed to sit together in the first lecture the following morning. I haven’t been able to get rid of her since and we are now going to be living together next year!

Still feeling apprehensive?

If you’re still nervous, don’t worry! Many people are at least a little nervous to be moving into uni, especially if it’s your first time spending more than a few weeks away from home.

York is a fantastic university with a welcoming attitude and homely feel. It’s very easy to settle into university life – a lot more than you’d think – and the staff at York are brilliant at easing you into the process. You’ll feel at home in no time.

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I'm a psychology student at the end of my first year here at York. I'm from Goodricke college and proud of it! I am also a member of the university's musical theatre society "CHMS" where we've just finished our mini-musicals showcase and are prepping for another great year ahead!