Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Brace Yourself: It's Freshers

Honestly, I cannot believe this is the first September in all my life that I am not going back to education. I am 100% missing university. Round about now I'd be starting to pack up and plan the first few weekss back at uni. I miss my beautiful university, I miss the city, I miss my friends and I miss my house! Sad times. 
However, as I am so well equipped with studenty knowledge of all sorts I am writing this post in on surviving freshers. As so many students have contacted me asking for advice on all areas of uni I thought I would write a quick survival guide to freshers.
Step 1: Don't be scared 
So much easier said then done. I remember sitting in the back of my dads car pulling up to my university halls and praying for my dad to just turn around and take me home. When my parents left me in my room I just sat in a ball on the floor and cried for a solid 10 minutes. It was the ultimate abandonment. 3 hours later I was wearing god knows what fancy dress and getting wasted with 11 strangers. There is no situation quite like it. Just remember everyone is in the same boat, probably crying that their parents left them too. The best thing to do is to bound into that kitchen, be yourself and get mingling. Plus it doesn't hurt to have some chocolates to share -a real good ice breaker, because lets face it, the first weeks of uni are one awkward ice breaker after another...
Step 2: Come prepared
So by now your mum has taken you on numerous trips to ikea (go on, be honest, did she cry every time you bought some kitchenware?) and you're yet unaware you're gonna rock up to a student kitchen with exactly the same kitchenware as everybody else.  My theory is, you can NEVER have enough kitchenware. I turned up with 3 pans,  a few utensils, cutlery, a jug, plates, bowls and glasses. and mugs yet it still wasn't enough. Throughout the year between me and my flatmates we chipped in to buy all sorts from scales to electric hand whisks (£4 from Tesco!). The more you branch out the more you're likely be adventurous with your meals! 
Step 3: Homesickness is inevitable so embrace it!
You're a gazillion miles from mummy and daddy in a scary environment with a bunch of drunk strangers. Of course you are going to get homesick. You will find the majority of your peers will be too, yet no one wants to be the first to admit it. The second night of my freshers week I was in a club cubicle crying on my flatmate whilst she cried on me. We were both severely homesick and it was completely okay. No one really wants to cry in front of their new mates but it will surprise you to realise they will be feeling the same. Once one of you admits it you'll find everyone will and viola you're all crying over vodka shots in a club corner. Unfortunately homesickness can happen throughout your entire degree, maybe less towards the end. My advice is to never sit alone in your room, go to your flatmates/friends and tell them. And always ring home and plan weekend trips home. It's okay to take time out! 
Step 4: Become Gordon Ramsey
Okay I am kidding, no one is expecting you to be a Michelin star chef in first year but practicing making meals before heading to uni is a MUST. 2 days into freshers and you'll be desperate for a vegetable or a home cooked meal instead of a takeaway or microwave meal. If you practice a simple dish such as chilli or stir fry before you leave for uni, it will do you the world of good, plus you can offer to cook for your new friends! I cooked for my flatmate on our second night with a dish I had learnt a week before I came to uni. It made both of us feel better to have something home cooked and we still laugh about it 3 years on! It became our specialty dish!
Step 5: Hoard the medical isle of boots
I hate to be the one to break this to you but you WILL get freshers flu. It is complete unavoidable. Mixing with all those students from all corners of the earth and annihilating your immune system with booze for 1 week spells disaster. 2 weeks in I caught freshers flu and it took me MONTHS to recover. I got flu, tonsillitis and with asthma I was just a wreck. It made me so homesick and I struggled to fight through my first term of lectures and seminars feeling so ill. Luckily my mum has sent me off with the contents of boots as a back up and so I was highly dosed up on cold and flu meds for a good few weeks. I recommend stocking up on lemsips, cold and flu tablets, congestion relief and lots of pain killers. You can thank me later when you're a snot rag stuck in bed ;)
Step 6: Uni is hard
So eventually you have to crawl from your drunken pizza pit to your lectures and try to remain awake for an hour or two. Don't be surprised when your intimidating lecture reels off a load of lingo you  don't understand and you come awake thinking 'Have I picked the right degree??!' There is a huge leap from A Level to Degree level so you're bound to feel overwhelmed I spent the majority of first year with a 'I have no idea what I am doing' mindset yet I came out of a 3 year degree with a first in my dissertation and 2:1 overall. You. Can. Do. This. It's just gonna be a bloody mission to get over that mountain! Stay determined and always seek help when troubled! Lecturers don't bite, promise!
Step 7: Attend the welcome meetings and tours
You may think 'oh screw that, I don't want ice breakers with awkward people I don't know' but honestly, surviving those ice breakers will do you a world of good. It will help you build up friendships on your course and show you the knowledge you really need. I never attended a library tour as I couldn't be bothered, in fact....I used the library once in my first year. I know I know I am a crime against student life. By third year I spent more time in the library than I did in my own home. I just wished I had attended a library tour as it was so hard to self teach myself how to take books out and how to use the databases properly. 
Step 8: Get involved
You'll most likely attend freshers fair and sign up to at least 10 societies you will never ever attend. You'll just receive endless emails from them for the next 3 years. Don't be afraid to throw yourself in the deep end. First year is the year to do whatever you want from rowing to sky diving to Quidditch ( Yes you read that right). Universities are full of fun and quirky societies, there is really something for everyone. It's the opportunity to find out what you can do and what you suck at (I did archery and it was tragic). It's a great way of broadening your talents and making even more fun friends! You never know, you might be the next Beyonce!
Step 9: Get Experience
Extending you experience is a must, whether you do this off your own back or through your university. At the end of the day you are at university to gain a degree to gain a career. Even if the work experience you get at university isn't entirely relevant to your career choice, you have great content and skills for your CV. For example, if you wanted to go into fashion I would recommend getting involved in creative societies and experiences as well as setting up your own Fashion blog. My own blog has helped me so much in working towards my career path. If the opportunities aren't there, then by bogging you are creating your own! You sass yourself to your dreams giiirl! 
Step 10: Always be yourself
Always. I can't express this enough. You'll be mingling with some big personalities and it is common to see someone come in never having done the whole club life before and all of a sudden declaring they're a wild one who drinks and smokes. It can be hard with all these people having different mind sets to you but if you stick to what you know then you will be just fine!
University is such a challenge. It is an incredible time to establish yourself and meet the greatest people but it is also a time where you will face some of the hardest situations of your life (don't even get me started on sorting out living after first year). My advice is Be brave, be yourself and be open to anything. I came out of university completely different to how I started. I am confident, I know what I want in life and I know what I'm good at. Most importantly I have THE best friends for life thanks to it. 
If you have any questions don't hesitate to leave a comment or drop me an email, I will be happy to give you any advice! 
Best of luck!
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8 comments

  1. hahah nice. Love the advice, hoarding aspirin & cold and flu tablets is a must.

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  2. I love this! and I love the gifs. Very useful tips indeed, I start university on Saturday and scared doesn't even begin to cover it... I'm definitely going to go through all of the emotions and end up crying to my new flatmates I just know it:')
    Helena / helenaterry.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Best of luck! You will be just fine, it'll be an amazing experience for you! Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have anymore questions :)

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  3. I'm off to uni next weekend and these tips are so helpful :) I'm on an emotional rollercoaster at the moment about the whole thing, so it's good to know I should just embrace them all!

    Lauren
    http://totally-typically.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Best of luck on your new adventure! Honestly, being on an emotional rollercoaster is completely normal. I think I cried consistently for 2 weeks before I actually even left. If you need anymore help/advice at all don't hesitate to ask/drop me an email :) Good luck!

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  4. Love the tips! Currently at freshers week and taking your advice about getting involved in as many things as possible. Not sure I'll end up going to all the societies I signed up for though!

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    1. Haha yeah I signed up to probably around 30 societies in my 3 years and only attended 3! Glad my tips could help, don't hesitate to drop me an email if you want anymore advice or have anymore questions! :)

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