Freshers Week Survival Guide
Freshers’ Week is undoubtedly the most daunting seven days of your time at university, and it’s also the most draining on your bank account. While it is a good idea to work out a weekly budget for the rest of the year, you have no chance of sticking to it for the first week, as unforeseen costs like text books (yes- they are essential) leave you terrified to check your bank balance.
Save as much as you can for this week, factoring in one off costs like your freshers’ pass or wrist band, which gets you entry in to all the biggest events. You won’t want to miss out on anything because you can’t afford it, and remember- money spent making friends is not money wasted.
The first week of university can be overwhelming but you’ll be excited to embrace your new surroundings before lecture timetables and essay deadlines take over, so here area few Do’s and Don’ts to get you through Freshers from someone who survived it herself in this Freshers week survival guide. Hopefully they will also help you save money during Freshers’ week.
Do’s and Don’ts of Freshers’ Week
DO be yourself
It’s never a good idea to try to reinvent yourself at uni; people will see straight through it and you’ll feel much more comfortable if you aren’t trying to be someone you’re not. You will unavoidably change and grow up at uni, but that comes with the experience- not because you’re trying. However…
DON’T be shy!
Even if you normally wouldn’t make the first move to introduce yourself to somebody, make the effort and others will be grateful. Remember that you’ve all been thrown in to the same situation. Smile and be nice because if you hold back you’ll regret it.
If you find it hard to approach people, stick some music on while you’re moving in to your room and prop the door open- people will say hello as they pass. Make an effort to remember people’s names and they’ll remember you. Also, as you will see later, it is a good idea to make friends early in order to help you save money during Freshers’ week.
DO the boring stuff together
Suggest going to register with the doctor/library etc. with people you have met in halls- the queues are long so use them as an opportuntity to get to know people. Remember to take all the relevant documents for these start-ups, like your photo ID so you don’t have to pay for pictures on the spot. You can also do the First Big Shop together to save money by sharing the basics: buying pasta and rice in bulk is much cheaper.
DON’T be afraid to miss out
There are so many events in Freshers’ Week and you feel like you should be going to everything. The truth is you’ll get to know your new flatmates better during nights in than when you’re nervously smiling at each other over loud music and over priced drinks. Don’t feel pressured in to going to every club the promoters tell you to; there’s plenty of cheap nights in that you’ll remember forever.
Come armed with things like a deck of cards and a bottle opener-also handy for pre-drinks. Stock up on sweets and tea bags, especially if you live in halls- it sounds stupid but sharing will help you meet people! Also, bring your favourite feel good movies- for homesick moments and wallowing in your hangover. Its also worth remembering that Freshers’ Week is ALL about fancy dress, so pack bits and bobs like your school tie or that eye patch and sword from last Halloween to vamp up a stripey top- viola! A pirate outfit that didn’t cost anything!
DO join a society
Go to the Freshers’ Fair and shop around- most universities have hundreds of clubs, from basketball to pizza appreciation so you’re bound to find something that interests you. There is even a Pirate society!
Be careful though- don’t sign up for clubs that want a registration fee upfront unless you’re sure you’ll stick to it. You might regret spending that £10 when you don’t even turn up for one Toastie Lovers club meeting. Becoming a bit extra-curricular is a great way to meet people outside of your accommodation, plus the sports teams’ nights out are always the best!
DON’T let homesickness take over
Leaving home can be more of a shock than you might expect and as inviting as it may be to spend an hour crying to your mum on the phone, try to refrain. It will only worry her and give you puffy eyes. Five minutes letting it out before the next pub crawl is fine, but don’t waste Freshers’ Week feeling sorry for yourself. You may actually find it easier NOT to talk to people at home too much at first. Avoiding the famous Freshers’ Flu with plenty of Vitamin C will also make it easier not to hide under the covers.
DO take advantage of student discounts and offers
There are plenty of companies that offer discounts throughout the UK so look out for them during Freshers’ week to get discounts in your city. You may have to pay for the discount card but by the time you’ve used it for a haircut and at McDonald’s, you’ll have more than made your money back.
Of course at Save The Student we all have all the student discounts that you would ever need (from 50% off at Topshop to BOGOF deals at ASDA) in our student discount directory.
Search for money off vouchers online to use for your First Big Shop- probably the only time you’ll spend enough for the vouchers to be valid. You can also stock up on all sorts of freebies at the Freshers’ Fair, and don’t forget your NUS card for high street discounts.
DON’T be ‘That Girl/Guy’
Getting so drunk you get with a complete loser during Freshers’ week will haunt you for the rest of first year and beyond. Focus on making friends: not on the opposite sex. If you do drink too much try not to let the comments get to you; laugh them off and maybe stay away from the dirty pints till you get to know everyone better…
Finally, DO remember that Freshers’ week is not your average week at uni
Yes, you’ll still be tempted to go out every night. But once you get in to a routine you’ll find it easier to look after your pennies, and trust me- the desperate urge to grab the nearest friendly face and proclaim them your New Best Friend will pass, and the REAL best years of your life will commence. Looking back on my first year, Freshers’ Week pales in comparison to the following weeks spent with my new friends. So enjoy- just don’t forget your Freshers’ Pass!
Hopefully this Freshers week survival guide will help you to make the most of the start of your university life. I hope that you have a lot of fun during your time at uni and continue to use SaveTheStudent to help you save and manage your money.Last updated 5th September, 2012