Universities often have lists of the essential things you’ll need to pack for your first year, understanding that for many of us it’s our first real chance to live independently so we might not know all the things that become essential during those first months. One thing is sometimes overlooked though and that’s the things you’ll need to get through your first, intense experience at Uni: Fresher’s week!
A good memory… Or a notebook.
You’re going to meet a lot of new people and see a lot of new places. You won’t remember them all, so don’t be afraid to ask again. Everyone’s been there. Don’t write down people’s names and descriptions in front of them! But if it helps you, make a short note when you get back to your room.
A map of your new home city.
As part of this item also include bus route leaflets and a campus map. You will get lost. Think of it as an adventure, but being able to find your own ways of getting home is an important skill to learn. Do make sure you stay safe as you adventure! Preferably take a buddy while you learn your way around.
Bus journey, vending machine, laundry room…it’s amazing how many places are going to require all the 20ps you found behind the sofa before you left home. Not all shops and events will accept cards, either, so you might need to save those pound coins too until you learn which do.
Pub crawls, campus tours, trekking between halls of residence to meet new people and catch up with people you’ve met, all of it can catch up with your feet. It might seem like a good idea to try great shoes to make an impression, but hobbling isn’t the look you’re going for, trust us. Combine great with flat.
A few home comforts.
Fresher’s Week is a lot of fun, but many students will be homesick and that’s fine. A few items from home that you find comforting are essential for those moments. Do seek out other students at those times. Odds are on that someone else will be feeling homesick or in need of some distraction or quiet time too. Student services will be able to advise you if you are feeling homesick. Have a look on the uni website. Solent University for instance has great links to student services and an advice section for homesickness and moving out for the first time.
Freshers Week (or fortnight as it is in some universities now) is a mad, fun, exhausting and exhilarating time. It doesn’t matter how well you’re prepared in the end, because it’s the unexpected moments that make it what it is, alongside all the organised events. When it’s over and you’re starting to settle in, don’t forget to keep talking to people and make friends in a more real atmosphere. Above all, if it wasn’t the best week of your life, don’t worry. It’s a tiny proportion of your university experience. There is so much better to come.