Your first day as a ‘fresher’ is a unique, daunting experience. Nerves and excitement tangle together into a long day which flies by, as you try to recall the many “tips for freshers” articles that you’ve read in preparation for the big day.

For some, moving away from home provides a level of independence never before experienced. For others, ‘flying the nest’ for the first time can be a gut-wrenchingly nervous affair, as the comfort bubble drifts away. As is the stocked fridge and people who wash their own dishes.

Being a fresher is a time to enjoy. You’re embracing a new way of life that allows you to grow as a person. The great thing is, there are thousands of others in your exact scenario, so you’ll make new mates who can sympathise with the process.

But it’s not all straightforward. There’s a lot to take in and the avalanche of new influences can be overwhelming in the first few weeks. To fight back, we’ve put together our key tips for freshers, to make sure you’re well-armed with techniques to take on your first few weeks in university.


Get involved and be a good flatmate

A group of university flatmates standing at a balcony looking at the sunset.
Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

When you first arrive, it will be a nerve-wracking experience. If you haven’t spoken to people on Facebook groups before arriving, it can be tough to know how to kick off conversations, especially if you’re shy.

But remember; everyone is in the same boat.

You reaching out means as much to them as it does to you. On first arriving, be the hero that has a huge load of tea bags, milk, and mugs. Offering a cuppa is a surefire, quick icebreaker. Another is to keep your bedroom door open in the beginning. People will then feel comfortable popping their heads in to say hello and to know they’re not disturbing you.

One other key point is to do your best to be a good flatmate. Everyone is different, from personality types to what time they go to bed. So be respectful and learn about your fellow first-year freshers.

Of all the tips for freshers, getting involved is high on the list.


Try societies and socials

Societies allow you to dive headfirst into that activity you’ve always wanted to try.

It may not have been available back home, so now is the time to sample it. They’re also fantastic ways to meet new people, as clubs and societies tend to throw socials to ensure everyone can integrate.

It’s always good to try a taster session for a few, and then whittle it down to ones you love, as you don’t want to spread yourself too thinly for the academic year ahead.


Go to the freshers fair

Stationary at a freshers fair.
Photo by LumenSoft Technologies on Unsplash

There is a ridiculous amount of free stuff on offer and the chance to sign up to cool new things.

It’s worth the hungover trip.


Attend your course orientations and icebreakers

People who are flaky with this stuff in the beginning can fall behind in their education quickly.

Not only is it a good, early chance to meet your coursemates, but you’re learning where to go, how things work and getting to grips with everyday university life.

The quicker you do this, the better, so these initial sessions, which are designed for the exact reason of making you feel settled, are worth it.

Many tips for freshers focus around saving money or on enjoying yourself, but ensuring your education takes a driving seat is as important a tip as any.


Don’t worry if you don’t get on with your first flat

Three university friends laughing.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

If you’ve tried to get on with some people and it hasn’t worked out, so be it.

You’re thrust together with random people in a random place, so it’s obvious you won’t get on with everyone.

The great thing with university is that with courses, clubs, societies, nights out, libraries, campuses, and more, you’ll start to gravitate towards people who are more “you”.

There’s no need to force it, it will come naturally, so don’t worry if you’re not best buds with your neighbour.


Budget early (and well)

It’s so easy to spiral out of control financially, due to the lack of income and the eye-watering amount of outgoings.

University is an incredible experience if done correctly, but it can kick up a lot of stress if you don’t.

Poor financial budgeting is self-inflicted stress you don’t need, so be sure to work out a budget in advance (and stick to it).


Get some form of routine (no matter how random it is)

A university student carrying books.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

You cannot go out every single night without doing any university work or life admin (you’ll try, and fail).

Work out what works for you. If that’s smashing as much uni work as you can early in the week so you’re ready for Thirsty Thursdays and the weekend, then great. If you have student nights at the beginning of the week, ensure that you get the essentials done on your free days, and don’t fill it with Netflix.

Without balance, you’ll find yourself tipping out of balance and adding more stress than you need.


Register with a local GP & dentist

Get this done as soon as you know where your accommodation is.

Googling the local area in advance will bring up the info you need.

This is important as you never know when something unexpected pops up.


Know your limits and keep safe

A woman staring out of a window.
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash.

This one is no joke.

Everyone wants to make friends, but do not ‘give it the big one’ to fit in. By all means, have fun, but don’t be that person who new acquaintances have to carry home. They’re not proper friends yet, so it makes a bad impression and you don’t know who you can truly rely on yet.

Safety is also massively important.  You’re in a new city around new people; don’t be too trusting too soon. Keep your wits about you when it comes to new people, your possessions close and never leave your drinks unattended.

You’ll meet some incredible people during your time at university, but there’s a lot of idiots out there too.


Look after your wellbeing

Both your mental and physical wellbeing can take a hit during university if you don’t make it a priority.

It’s easy to become rundown from the constant partying and all these new experiences occurring, not to mention the bout of homesickness that everyone will go through. Yet, don’t be scared to say no to a night out if you need to recover and have a Netflix night instead.

The benefits of physical exercise and a good diet are also well known for students, although it’s easy to let both slip. Most universities offer discounted gym memberships, so it’s good to even out those happy hours in the pub with power hours in the gym.

Living a balanced university life will give you the energy you need to succeed in all areas.


Be you

A woman and man laughing whilst working.
Credit: You X Ventures, Unsplash.

If you carry an act to university, it’ll get heavier the longer you keep it up.

There are no expectations in uni, you don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not, like you may have elsewhere. Be unapologetically you, as like attracts like.

Having the right people around you can make the university experience, so you’ll want to surround yourself with people who value you for who you are.


Being a first-year student is about settling and enjoying this new way of life, so embrace these tips for freshers and use what works for you.

Trust us, university life won’t be as laid back once you get to the third year. You’ll have six assignments due within a week and when you need at least a 60 in each to get your required grade, it gets nervy.

So embrace freshers for what it is, an unbridled mess of joy and mayhem, in a cocoon well away from ‘the real world’. Yes, have fun, but most importantly, make sure to look out for yourself first.


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