Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Live To Tell the Tale: How to Survive Fresher's Week

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The anticipation is building; A Levels are over, you’ve got the grades, your university has opened its loving arms to you, let the fresher festivities commence!

It’s that first stepping stone into ‘the best years of your life.’ This is where it all begins, it should be thrilling, but it can also feel like jumping in at the deep end, be wildly overwhelming and just a little bit terrifying. (Don’t worry you don’t have to admit it to anyone…)

The fact is that everyone’s in the same boat; you are not alone my friend! But here are just a few tips for keeping in mind:

Prepare for:

Everything! This is likely to be all new territory; new town, new people. Be ready to let your guard down, get out of your comfort zone, try new things and learn a thing or two about you. Say ‘Hi’ to everybody – they’ll appreciate it. Treat each new person you meet as a potential best buddy. If in halls, keep your door open, invite people in to hang out, ask advice from them as they pass by your room, just be as open to new relationships as possible because that’ll make or break your freshers experience.

Asking/answering the same questions over and over. You know what I mean ‘what school did you go to?’ ‘I went to so-and-so.’ ‘What are you studying?’ ‘I’m studying so-and-so.’ Trust me, after the 100th repeat you’ll be tempted to make up a new you to talk about, but its all part and parcel of being a newbie. And hey, I’ll let you into a secret on how to impress absolutely anybody and possibly make a friend for life, it’s quite simple: listen. Be genuinely interested in what people have to say, ask thoughtful questions and listen to their story whole-heartedly. People love to talk about themselves and just think, everyone you’ve met will have had different experiences to you; you just might learn something.

Sex! Oh yes. I couldn’t write about being prepared and not bring this one up could I? Girls, Guys, Girly-Guys, Guy-ish Girls – whoever you are and what ever your sexual preference, sex can be all part of the fun of fresher’s week. It happens, it happens a lot, it happens for real love, it happens for drunken love, it happens almost by accident on occasion, just don’t be careless. Even if you don’t anticipate pulling, keep protection on you.

Why? Because STD’s could lurk in even the cutest pants and they sure aren’t pretty. Check out this article and be shocked:

'The 16-24 age group account for 65 percent of all Chlamydia, 50 percent of genital warts and 50 percent of gonorrhoea infections diagnosed in STD clinics across the UK in 2007. Genital warts, caused by the human papillomavirus, are known to cause cervical cancer.'

It’s not all about the health issues either. There’s a little thing called discretion which most of us lose when we’ve had a drink or two. But, unfortunately, the choices we make when we’re under the influence have just the same impact in the cold light of day as the choices we make sober. Just remember that the people you’re meeting in fresher’s week you could potentially be bumping into repeatedly for the next three years. Who needs that kind of strung out shame? Remember, if that little voice in your head is having any doubts, bite your tongue and keep it in your pants, and then ask yourself again in the morning.

S.T.Y.P.’s... Confused? I was too. Find out what I’m talking about here.

Most importantly, be prepared for some seriously fun times. Plan your cutest outfits, stock up on your cheap grog of choice and keep your camera handy – this week is sure to be full of memories in the making.

Be one step ahead of the rest:

Stock up on food at the beginning of the week so there’s no chance you’ll end up skint, with malnutrition, and surviving on a liquid-diet. That certainly wouldn’t bode well for your first week of actual lectures and daytime activity. Keep it simple, you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen knocking up Grandma’s legendary lamb hotpot, you want to be out getting your groove on.

Image Source

Grab List:

Fruit and Vegetables. Sorry guys, but it’s got to be done. Whether you realised it or not, it’s likely at home you were getting at least a couple of portions a day out of mums cooking and you don’t want to suffer the consequences of missing out on the essential goodies locked away in this fab food group. The great thing about fruit is that it’s a super quick snack – you can just grab it and run. I guarantee you’ll feel miles better even managing just one piece of fruit a day. If you find yourself with Fresher’s Flu, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Your body needs vitamins. There’s no two ways about it. Plus, making 60 – 70% of what you eat fruit and veg is a sure-fire way to save yourself a truckload of grocery budget – that’s more money to spend on booze and accessories! Ready meals and packaged food are bad for your bank account, bad for you and bad for the environment, so limit what you’re buying. All that extra goodness will save your skin from dreaded blemishes, keep you energised, keep you slim, and make you better in bed. All exceptionally good reasons to do it.

Whole grains and quality protein are also key food groups you should make sure you're taking part in. The right balance of nutrients in your diet is so worth that little bit of extra effort in the kitchen. I promise you’ll feel the benefits and have an energy buzz to keep you partying on and on.

Get yourself a stash of ready to go drunk food.

'...what’s a frugal drunk to do? Late night snacks can be pricey, and when you’re somewhat tipsy you don’t care. You need cheap, at-home solutions ready to go. Drunk snacks in a jiffy.'

Check out this article full of strange American suggestions (those wacky Americans!) Or see my own personal favourites.

Milk thistle. This little wonder could be just the answer if you care about your liver but just can’t bring yourself to give up cocktails… well, pitchers of cocktail… to yourself. Find out more here.

An icebreaker. If you’re moving into halls it’s probably going to be a bit awkward for the first few nights – you don’t know these people! Take something along as a conversation starter and mood lifter. A packet of custard creams or Celebrations to share about, a few pairs of shutter shades for laughs or even just your games console. Make it something everybody can join in on and have a giggle about.

Lastly, we’ve all heard stories about fresher’s blowing their loan in that first week of partying hard. You want to have fun, but you want to keep having fun, not end up living off brown rice and beans for the rest of the year. Set yourself a budget, a fair, realistic budget, and then stick to it.

A Few More Quick Tips:

Get organised. Freshers week is all about fun but it’ll be no fun next week if you haven’t got a few things sorted. Grab yourself a student bus pass for the term; get looking for a part time job; sort a T.V. licence if you need to; look into getting some insurance for your personal belongings; register with your campus doctor; make sure you know about and attend all daytime university appointments – no matter how early they are! And keep plenty of cash around as your campus cashpoint could potentially dry up very quickly with all the newbies taking their cut.

I hope you've found this article helful and shall leave you with one final point. You are at university now, not school, you are, by and by, a grown-up with responsibility and you may find that suddenly no one is really on your back about anything; everything is down to you. Hopefully, you are here for all the right reasons. University is a great personal experience, a gleaming opportunity and also a massive dent in YOUR finances! Don’t blow it, you’re here for a reason, make it all worth it.

More, more, more...

Read tips and advice for freshers by Flying Saucer.

Consider Living With Others: Be the genuine article and What I wish I knew when I first started university from Martin at The University Blog.

Check out the dorm room shopping series from College Fashion for some hints on what you'll need.

Anything else niggling at you about that first week of uni? Or do you have some 'older and wiser' tips to pass on? Comment away!


Dubai Stylista said...

I've been exploring and LOVE everything so far! I'm surprised I hadn't found this blog sooner.
Great job :)

Voila Megan said...

Dubai Stylista - Thank you! It's lovely to have you ♥

Martin - TheUniversityBlog said...

Awesome, awesome tips here. I've really enjoyed your posts for Freshers. Such good advice.

In terms of icebreakers, one tried and tested idea is to get a couple bags of doughnuts and offer them out. It's like a cheap round, but it almost never fails to brings smiles to all!

Thank you for linking to a couple of my posts too. You rule.

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