We asked Graduates from our community to reflect on the good ol’ days, and pass down their wisdom in an attempt to prevent the next bunch of Freshers from making the same mistakes. We had over 200 responses to the competition and whittled it down to the best 22 nuggets of knowledge. The number 1 spot won £50! So if you’re starting university pay close attention, you won’t get better freshers advice anywhere else…
Memories don’t get made by saying no! Join everything, even if you end up quitting. When else are you going to go rock climbing? Say yes to nights out, catch ups, parties, meals… Don’t focus on the negatives, university is such a privilege and it should be fun. Had a bad day in class? Go for a walk around your university city, go in a cafe you’ve never been in before. Just live and have fun, and do your absolute best!
First impressions stick, so don’t burn out on the first night of freshers week! You’ll meet so many new people and it’ll be a struggle at first to remember all their names – but if you’re the one who chugs half a dozen dirty pints and ends up needing their stomach pumped, you’ll carry that stigma with you all through first year. First impressions are key, so don’t give yourself an unwanted label. Drink up, but don’t be that idiot!
– Max, University of St Andrews
Cook a pizza and leave it in the fridge for when you get home from a night out. It will help the hangover, stop you from buying something while you’re out (saves money and trying to find somewhere) and you won’t have to cook anything when you get in (saves time, unwanted fire alarms and injuries!)
– Abi, Manchester Metropolitan university
Go hard, but know when to go home. Apparently sleeping in the club is frowned upon, and will give you a reputation that is likely to be maintained throughout your degree… Getting enough sleep means you can drink and dance for longer, so make sure you fit in enough zzz’s to avoid unplanned shut-eye in the club!
Party animals – put the same amount of effort into your work as you do in partying. Let your hair down in freshers and on nights out but, and even though for some first year may not count, it’s easier keeping grades up if you’ve got used to working at a higher standard in your first year. Form good habits!
– Courtney, University of Central Lancashire
Learn early on is when the university library closes. Nothing is more mortifying than being locked in a building all night because you had your headphones on, and then activating the alarmed fire escape like I did. It will save you a lot of hassle trust me.
– Trevor, Liverpool John Moores University
Don’t get so drunk that you ‘chunder dragon’ on the way to the club, but despite this still get in, then proceed to dance on the empty dance floor like nobody is watching. Oh and then definitely don’t go home with someone and puke on the bed… Not personal experience obviously…
Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. If everyone is showing off how brilliant they are finding uni on Facebook, don’t worry if you aren’t feeling the same. It isn’t a true representation. If you feel it isn’t for you, stick it out! I did, and I’m so glad I did 🙂
– Lisa, Royal Holloway, University of London
Don’t be embarrassed to be who you really are! Yes, Quidditch might sound daft, but you want to try it- so do! The friends you end up making will make up for any criticism you get from others. And your parents don’t seem as embarrassing when they’re bringing home-cooked food when they visit, so let them come!
Go to the supermarket at around 7-8pm to find the reduced items!
– Rob, Bournemouth University
Show up to induction week. Everyone assumes induction week is pointless and lame, especially when it was in freshers week and too hungover to go. I was like this and decided to bore it off. However, huge mistake as that is the week you meet your friends and group of your course. Biggest bit of advice is to go and introduce yourself to others so you’re not alone when lectures start!
– Lauren, Liverpool John Moores University
Take part in as many out of lecture activities as you can. You’re only at university once! Get your work in as soon as possible, that way you can party whilst all the last minuters are panicking!
Don’t be in unhappy relationships. Don’t force yourself to carry on with a long distance relationship just because you think the time and effort you have already put in will seem wasted otherwise. Some partners may be worth the effort but some aren’t. If you find yourself losing touch with your long distance partner it may be best to let it happen in first year and don’t put yourself through a horrendous, bitter break-up during the stress of dissertation in final year!
Be open minded enough to change courses in their first year if you find that a particular course is not suitable for you. Many universities offer students the ability to change their course in their first year, but this flexibility is practically non-existent in the second or third year. If you foresee that you may not do as well in your chosen course as you imagined, it is better to take advantage of the flexibility offered in first year.
– Babatunde, University of London
Don’t forget to start looking for houses or apartments for 2nd year before Christmas break. It’s daunting to think you have to know who you want to live with for a year after 3 months of university, but the best places close to campus go quick!
– Zamir University of Leicester
Look after your stuff. Milk is a legitimate form of currency in student flats that can absolutely be used as a bartering tool. The same rule applies to toilet roll. And dominoes promo codes too.
That huge student loan is going to leave as quickly as it came. The huge deposit can feel great, but looking back and wondering what the hell you spent it all on isn’t so good. It’ll definitely make the first few months post graduation easier if you have some spare cash. Also, make sure you make time to speak to and visit your family. I probably went home a little too often during uni but it meant I didn’t miss out on my younger brother growing up and that’s something I definitely won’t regret!
– Jess, Peninsula Medical School
Be prepared for fire alarms, ‘go hard or go home’ you can’t say no to shots! You can make every occasion a drinking game if you try hard enough. If you’re not up all night before an assignment is due, you haven’t tried (partied) hard enough. You WILL fall asleep in a lecture… guaranteed.
Just get out there and BE YOU! Don’t think you have to be anyone but YOURSELF. And make the most of it – Freshers is one of the best years of your life
Don’t buy textbooks, buy tequila! – Becka, University of Essex
Don’t do vegetables, stay in drugs and eat your school – Mihnea, University of Aberdeen
Okay, so maybe the last 2 were not so good advice but uni is about new experiences, becoming independent and figuring things out for yourself. Hopefully this freshers advice has given you a nudge in the right direction 🙂
Best of luck!!!