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Freshers Week. For many, it's the first time away from the bank of mum and dad and the comfort of your own home. You're thrown into a flat, in a new city, with somewhere in the region of 11 to 15 strangers from all across the world. Within a matter of days, these strangers become your first, and often closest friends at university. But between arriving at halls, and getting to that point, there will be a whole lot of drinking and drunken embarrassment along the way.
Then there's the studying. That's the primary reason you're at university, after all. Fresh out of college with some glistening A-levels under your belt, the prospect of studying your dream course in your dream setting is pretty exciting. But then there are those niggling anxieties and questions: what if I'm out of my depth? What if I can't keep up with the course? What if I'm not as smart as my classmates?
Don't worry, every student's been there. But you can survive freshers week.
- Take a door stop and be prepared to meet a lot of friendly faces
If you keep your bedroom door propped open, you'll get to know your whole flat within a matter of hours. Everyone's in the same boat and, reassuringly, you'll probably find that your flatmates are as keen to get to know you as you are to know them.
- Don't get wasted on your first night
There's always that one fresher in every flat that either: a) hasn't drunk alcohol before university, or b) is a monumental lightweight. For my freshers week, I was the latter, and it's safe to say that it was a pretty sorry sight. With all the socials and freshers activities going on, not to mention all the new people you're constantly meeting, fitting in a meal becomes a real task, but the worst thing you can do is to start drinking on an empty stomach. Don't neglect your health, eat some pasta.
- Accept that you will get freshers flu and soldier through it
The freshers flu myth isn't really a myth at all. It's to be expected that when there are several 18-year-olds in a house with one kitchen and one bathroom, you're all going to get ill. Take some paracetamol, lemsip and earl grey tea in your suitcase and just accept that it's going to happen. About 90% of students in your first lectures will be coughing away so profusely that it'll become impossible to find anyone who isn't sick.
- Get involved
University is the perfect place to carry on with a hobby or try out something completely new. Fancy dabbling in the campus newspaper? Go for it. Always wanted to try lacrosse? There's a society for that too. Everything from the weird to the wonderful is covered, and it's the perfect way to meet new people with similar interests that you might not otherwise come across.
- You'll be homesick and that's perfectly okay
By day five of freshers week, you'll probably be craving a home-cooked meal and a tidy house, whilst your own kitchen will probably be looking like the inside of trash can. A really great way to help with the transition to university is to make your own little recipe book with the help of mum and dad, and treat yourself to some tasty dinners. Not only will this help with homesickness, but it'll give you something to look forward to at the end of the day.
- Most importantly, enjoy it!
They say it's the best time of your life, and given the fantastic opportunities and amazing friends that university gives you, it's easy to see why. Just embrace the week and enjoy the freshers experience.