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Articles > Mental Health May, 30, 2019

Top Tips for Surviving Freshers’ Week

Maggie Sawant
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Freshers’ Week stands out in my memory as one of the most excruciatingly awkward weeks of my life, but I never even saw it coming.

After a few rushed weeks had been spent furiously buying University essentials, I found myself suddenly sat in the car on the way to my new home, with all of my belongings piled up next to me. The entire journey, I made sure my mind stayed completely blank; I refused to imagine what my flatmates would be like, or what I would be doing from that night onwards.

After we finally arrived and the rushing excitement of settling in had passed, everyone in the flat got together to play a drinking game. I was so out of my depth; I felt like someone’s 13-year-old sister who had been invited to stay over. I was scared that everyone would judge me if I admitted I had never played the game before. However, when it became apparent that I was confused, I did not feel embarrassed. My flatmates kindly explained the game, and from then, we enjoyed getting to know each other.

After the game, we went clubbing, and again I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I had turned 18 just over a month ago and had only been clubbing twice. More people need to admit that drunken dancing with completely new people is not a particularly enjoyable experience. I missed my friends from home who I’d always been totally comfortable with…

The following days were equally overwhelming. New lectures, new equally nervous people to meet, a whole new place to get to know and all new places to get lost in – it was all quite overwhelming. Exploring the city, though; finding unique places to visit with my newfound friends – that was extraordinarily special.

However, I soon realised that I had completely failed to consider the practicalities of adult life. For some reason, I was not expecting to have to buy my own food, or plan and cook meals. My washing basket quickly filled up and I had no idea how to do my laundry. But, with the help of my flatmates (and my Mum on the other end of the phone), my clothes thankfully all remained the same colour and size. Something was still wrong. Even with all this new independence, I felt more like a child than I had when I was at Sixth Form. This was extremely unsettling.

But this feeling of transformation is what makes Freshers’ Week so unforgettable. You are thrown into adult life with both all of its responsibilities and all of its independence. You experience a wide range of emotions, some more pleasant than others, which all blend into this peculiar, indescribable and overwhelming feeling.

Don’t conform to the Freshers’ Week stereotypes we all know about, just so you can say you survived it. Do things because you want to. Step out of your comfort zone, but never stray from your true self: it’s by being yourself that you find your genuine friends and your place at University and finding your place doesn’t happen within a week – not at university, not ever.

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  1. Maria

    As a mature student and a mother of 2 students both studying away, I found this article very interesting. As someone already experienced in the ups and downs of adult life, I still suffered anxiety about becoming a student and how I would be perceived by others. The first few weeks of study felt very lonely as no one spoke to me and I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb, often the only mature student in the class. It was only after I became aware how anxious many of my younger fellow students felt, that I decided it was my duty to reach out to them and offer my support. As a result I have made a number of nice new friends. My daughter was the first to go to university and after a difficult start to her experience due to unsuitable flat mates, she requested a transfer, got a move and never looked back she is now studying her Masters. My son and I are in the same year of study which he finds a great support, none of his friends from home continued in educationand so he felt he had noone to share his experiences with or gage his expections by. My advice to my children, always be yourself, don’t be afraid to say no and take care of the people around you making sure they are safe and you will soon find friends who will respect and care for you.