Five Things To Get Done In Freshers Week
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
I hope you all had a fantastic results day and have started the countdown to university life. This September, I’m focusing my blogs around Freshers Week, a name for the first week at university before term starts. This post features five things I recommend you take time to get done before the hard work starts.
When you arrive at university there’s a whirlwind of paperwork to get through, and it’s vital that you get it sorted as soon as possible. Enrolment often means confirming your personal details, declaring how your fees will be paid and getting an ID card printed. This card will get you into buildings as well as proving your student status, so it’s also important that you keep this safe, as replacements will cost money. Lots of the enrolment process can be completed online, and it honestly doesn’t take that long once you sit down and get on with it.
Make sure that you make a note of new passwords you have to create, as you’ll need them to access online learning environments and library systems. If you're struggling to access anything, head down to student services to get it sorted before term starts.
2. Choose your modules
If you have optional modules to choose, I’d get it done as soon as you’ve enrolled. You’ll be directed to do this, as you won’t be able to fill your credits (how your degree is divided up) without making your choices. Have a few back-ups in mind if you don’t get your initial choices, and think carefully about what you’re interested in studying this year. No optional modules? Go ahead and check out the materials already provided to you, or if there's anything you need to borrow or buy before classes begin.
I’ve got an entire blog post on this topic, and I’ve linked it to this post for you to check out after this one.
3. Explore the local area
This is a great thing to do with your new flatmates, and it really helps you to acclimatise yourself to the local area surrounding your university. If you attend a campus university (where everything is all on one site) there can be a tendency to become part of the “university bubble”, where you live, study and party, all in one place. Getting out of that bubble helped me to feel more confident in the area I was living near, and it made it feel like home!
Head down to the town/city centre, explore the local transport provision and see what’s available beyond the edges of campus. Knowing where your local shops and supermarkets are will make running errands so much easier. Decide where you’re going to buy your food, then see whether your flat mates are interested in clubbing together to do some online shopping. Having it all delivered to the door makes life so much easier! If that’s not for you, I’d suggest finding out the location of the nearest Aldi or Lidl for some cheap shopping every week.
This is maybe a little too obvious, but there is the temptation to leave fully unpacking for a few days, and then you’ve still got stuff in boxes several weeks later! The day you move into university will be very busy and probably a bit emotional, and as soon as you’re on your own you’ll be faced with the additional pressure of getting to know the people you’ll be living with for the next year. However, make sure you take a few hours during the first week to make your room a place that you’re going to enjoy spending time in. You may find that you end up moving a few things around, but getting a basic idea of how everything is going to fit (and what you may be missing) will help you to feel settled a lot sooner.
If you’re a fan of organisation, I’d recommend getting hold of some storage boxes to organise your stationary and toiletries, especially if you’re sharing bathroom facilities. These can be picked up cheaply from supermarkets, and I wouldn’t recommend buying them until after you move in, so you only buy what you need. When you’ve unpacked and lived in your room for a few weeks, you’ll begin to notice patterns of what you use and what you have no need for. When you head home next, take the things that you don’t need with you to stop the clutter and to give yourself some more room.
5. Establish a routine
This is probably something that’s going to take more than a week, but there’s nothing like getting a head-start. Once term officially begins, it’ll be important to have some aspects of a personal routine sorted to make sure you have enough time for your academic work. Getting behind right at the beginning of term is not something I’d recommend, so here are some tips to help order your life.
· Wake up at generally the same time each day, regardless of what time you went to bed. It might not feel like it, but the partying will eventually die down a bit, and you’ve got to learn to function with a hangover! You’ll know roughly how much sleep you’ll need to live your life, so set an alarm and try and get up with it during that first week. You can always take a nap in the afternoon if you have some free time!
· Eat well and eat regularly. Living off rubbish might sound like the perfect start to your freedom, but after a few days it’ll leave you feeling run down and horrible. Make sure you have a few solid things for breakfast, and stock up on easy, nutritious ingredients that will make quick meals during the first week. Don’t forget to drink a lot of water too.
· Be clean and tidy. In your room, make sure to empty your bins when full, and give your room a clean once a week. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, just a quick hoover round and a dust will do. If you don’t keep your room in good condition, you’ll start to hate being there, which isn’t ideal seeing as it’ll be the only place which is completely your own.
· Take care of your admin. Set aside time each day to check your emails and complete any admin or banking that needs to be done. When term starts, you’ll need to factor in time for lectures, seminars and independent study, so ease yourself in gently.
Whatever happens, don’t be too hard on yourself. Universities know that it takes a few weeks for students to settle in, so if something slips past your attention, don’t worry! I’ll be publishing a blog in a few weeks where I discuss setting up a study routine, so watch out for that coming soon.