For me, the most daunting part of heading up to university was Freshers’ Week. It was definitely one of the highlights of my first year at university, but also personally one of my most nerve-wracking weeks. Here are a few golden nuggets on how to survive…
- During the week your college and the Students’ Union (YUSU) will put on lots of different events with a variety of themes. Make sure you pack your fancy dress. That could be be a Hawaiian shirt, glitter (a must have), UV paint or your go-to ‘fancy-dress-party-outfit’. If you don’t use all of your fancy dress during Freshers’ Week, you probably will throughout the year – especially if you take part in socials with sports or societies.
- Make sure you have some home comforts – your favourite film or boxset, a book or your favourite food or drink. You may miss home at some stage (and that’s completely okay – most people do!) and these comforts often help.
- Freshers’ flu is most definitely a thing and it sucks. Make sure you have some paracetamol and lots of tissues!
Attend departmental events
Most departments hold introductory events where you get to know the various lecturers you will encounter throughout your time at York. They’ll also explain exactly how your first year and the rest of your degree will work in terms of assessment and teaching. Even though this may not be your idea of fun, they really do help you understand what is going on and, from personal experience, were a really great help.
These events, such as team building exercises and various talks, also offer an opportunity to meet fellow freshers and make friends. It’s always nice to have some moral support for your first 9am lecture!
Get to know your flatmates
One of the best decisions I made in terms of packing was to take a pack of cards and a box of ‘Cards against Humanity’. My fondest memory of our first day in the flat was playing Cards against Humanity. There was truly no looking back and it was the start of many in-jokes. It well-and-truly broke the ice or any awkwardness that was once there.
Go to Freshers’ Fair
Every single society and sport on campus will be at Freshers’ Fair. It’s a good opportunity to have a look at what you may be interested in joining, and sign up. I had a look on the YUSU website before the fair to see what societies and sports there were so I had a vague idea as to what I might want to join. Definitely do that if you have the chance because there are so many to choose from in the fair and it can be tricky to visit them all!
If there is only one piece of advice you take from this blog post: join a sport/society. You don’t have to join straight away at Freshers’ Fair, but do join one. I joined the Lacrosse Club, and I am so happy that I did. A lot of my closest friends are members of the club and I’ve had a lot of other opportunities from joining a sport.
If you need another reason to be persuaded to go to Freshers’ Fair, here is one: FREE STUFF. A lot of companies and businesses turn up with free samples and deals on their products. At my Freshers’ Fair, Spotify, Dominos and Innocent Smoothies all gave away freebies! The bus companies also offer deals on bus passes at these events. It might not sound incredibly fun but can save you a lot of money in the long run!
Explore (both campus and the city)
Freshers’ Week is the week to explore! You will have a lot of free time so make use of it. This could be doing the tree trail around campus (yes, that is a thing) or just having a nosey inside all of the buildings (don’t forget we have two campuses). Or exploring the city and finding good coffee spots for the future!
If you are lost, unsure or just want advice – ask someone! This could be your STYCs (Second & Third Year Contacts), a Sabb (one of the YUSU sabbatical officers), someone in reception, or another student. Most people will have been in the same boat as you, so will be able to offer some great advice.
You’ll (probably) only have Freshers’ Week once – so enjoy it (I’m very jealous and wish I could do it all over again)! You will meet a lot of new people and some of these people may be your housemates next year or life-long friends. Plus, you will have a lot of new memories to look back on in the end. Do something you’d never thought you would be able to do or something out of your comfort zone – but above all have a brilliant week!