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Ten tips for thriving in Freshers’ Week

You’ve just been left at university for the very first time. You may be quaking; you may be stoked. As you navigate all the emotions of this first week, take on board as many of the following helpful hints as you fancy. Trust me, I’ve been there and seen many others there too.

1. Buy a doorstop

In the first week of university, almost everyone is “new here” and, while it might be tempting to hide away, making an effort with people now will pay off all year. Buy a doorstop, wedge your door and chat to passers-by. If you feel a weirdo, just consider how grateful someone lonely will be for the offer of a brew or hobnob.

2. Don’t go home

I get it; you miss home and the way your mum presses your pants in the morning, but resist the temptation to vanish home every weekend because you’ll miss important social stuff back at uni and won’t settle. Avoid going home more than once before Christmas.

3. Don’t be “that guy”

You know “that guy”, the one who tells everyone to turn off their music at 10.30pm on the first night of freshers’, etc. Don’t be that guy; first impressions are important and it’s worth being extra-generous and patient for a bit.

4. File stuff

This one is boring but make sure you have all vital bits of paper in one safe place; student finance, passport, passport photos, bank details. It’ll help you get registered and blah blah blah. Yawn.

5. Have a plan for before the sun goes down

Stuff mostly happens in the evening, so once you’re awake and brunched, why not do a Bilbo, go on an adventure and discover where the nearest supermarkets, cafes, pool tables, parks and such are? And…

6. …Invite people to stuff

The best way to get to know people is to do stuff with them. You could even invite several people at once! Most will be grateful for the invitation, which means you’re more likely to get invited to whatever they’re doing in response.

7. Go to church

Whether you’ve been before or not, there are plenty of advantages to visiting a church family on the first Sunday: friendly folk, maybe a feeding, something to look forward to for the next weekend, an evening service so you can still lie-in and Sundays are boring at uni anyway. Your flatmates may even come with you, if you ask them.

8. Empty your wallet

If you’re worried about drinking too much on a night out, set a limit before you begin! Try leaving all your important cards in a drawer, just taking a tenner and some ID. If you really struggle, post your mobile and credit cards back to yourself first class on the way out.

9. Push the boat out

During freshers’ week, there are football tournaments, box-set marathons, nights out, pub crawls, BBQs… At SU societies’ fair, sign up to try out all sorts of clubs and trips; you don’t have to keep going but you may discover something new to love! By the way, when it comes to people, remember that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

10. Remember it’s only a week (or two)

It won’t be long before you settle with a group of mates and get into the swing of regular uni life, so you can handle some late/rubbish nights this week. Similarly, don’t panic if you don’t like your flatmates! You’ll meet plenty of other quality people over the year.

11. Look in at the Christian Union

OK, I lied about there being ten tips. CUs are the only society that exists for its non-members, trying to share something of the colossal news of Jesus. So, whoever you are, pop down to their meeting and see if they are as friendly as they should be; you may find it will change your life! And, just in case you weren’t thrilled by the first meeting, that doesn’t mean stop going; chances are that they need you as much as you need them.

Starting uni? Link up with your new Christian Union now to receive a warm welcome on arrival at uni and help finding a local church.

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