Oh, Fresher’s Week, Freshers’ Week, wherefore art thou Freshers’ Week? As a former fresher, I can attest to the roller-coaster that is Freshers’ Week. But fear not, here’s the advice I wish I got, so you can learn from my mistakes.
Honestly, genuinely, truly, York is a fantastic place to do Freshers’. The Freshers’ events are run by our Students’ Union (YUSU) and the Colleges too. The collegiate system means you have plenty of support as you settle in. You have your STYCs (Second/Third Year Contacts) who look after your flat; and your STYMs (Second/Third Year Mentors) who look after your whole block and provide more in-depth support. It also means you’ll get to know people very easily through college events.
I would advise you to be friendly right away with your flatmates, try and hang out with them, and talk to literally every single fresher you meet. I know it’s hard, but everyone is in the same boat, trying to make friends and settle in. I promise, small talk will lead to bigger things. As a manager of Derwent College once said to me in Freshers’ Week, “those chance meetings may just spark that friendship, creative partnership or even relationship you’ve been looking for”. Profound words.
My top tips
During my Freshers’ Week, I quite literally lost my shirt. I was in a silly goofy mood and decided to do a “shirt swap” with someone who wanted to get into the club (you needed a special Freshers’ t-shirt to do this). They gave me a tenner for it, but I was shirtless and shivering, so I don’t think it was worth it in the end. If I’d been a bit more sensible, I would have kept my top and not had a cold for the next week. So please, don’t do a silly shirt swap – learn from my mistakes.
Now you’ve heard my warning tale, here’s some lessons I learnt during Freshers’ Week, so you don’t have to:
Eat before, during and after drinking. If you’re in catered accommodation, this is easy, but do try to have dinner either way. You should also snack while you pre, and then grab something to eat after the club – even if it’s a cold McDonald’s. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it in the morning.
2. Safety in numbers
United you will stand, divided in the club you might be. Try to go out in a group and keep track of your friends whilst you’re out. Above all though, make sure nobody tries to go home alone. Whilst York is a very safe city, they could still get on the wrong bus!
3. Take it easy
You don’t need to be a party animal right away. I drank for three nights in a row, and it cured me of my fantasies of becoming a wine drinker. Start slow and small, you don’t need to drink large amounts (or at all) if you’re not used to it.
4. Get all the apps
This is a fairly obvious one, but helpful all the same. I recommend the MyUoY app, so you can keep track of your schedule and see events coming up on campus. The First Bus app is great as you can track when the next bus is coming, so you don’t have to wait out in the rain. You can also buy 10 student single tickets for £10 on there, which is a great deal. And, of course, Snapchat is always a good idea for keeping in touch with your friends.
In our introductory security talk, the presenters really stressed that D-locks were the best way to prevent bike theft. So there you go. If you’re hoping to cycle about town, get yourself a D lock to keep your bike safe.
That’s all the advice I wish I got for my Freshers’ Week, hopefully you can make use of this wisdom.
Be sensible and safe. xo