Firstly, the most important thing to say is congratulations on gaining a place at university. Welcome to York, and welcome to Nouse.
I don’t wish to sound like a cliche, but university really can be the best years of your life, so far. For most of you, this will be your first time living away from home, navigating the strange new world of fending for yourself, whether it be doing a food shop, keeping on top of your washing or managing your finances. The whole process is very exciting but can also feel very daunting. However, you’re not alone, there are thousands of other first years feeling exactly the same way! From worrying about whether Goodricke really does exist, to how you’ll manage your studies, every emotion is completely normal and valid.
The key is not to put any pressure on yourself. Freshers' week can be very overwhelming and most certainly does not define your university experience: I’ll be completely honest; I can barely remember mine and that is not because I drank too much! It just seems like a very small period of time now, in comparison to the rest of first and second year. In most people’s experiences, it is the weeks and months after your first taste of university life that you will make long lasting friendships and get involved with the societies that will define your university experience. What I’m trying to say is - don’t put any pressure on yourself to make freshers week perfect, because it is perfectly okay for it not to be - there will be highs and lows, but you have three, four or even five years ahead of you to enjoy university, take every opportunity, but take them one step at a time.
Within this fresher’s supplement, our editors and writers have put together an incredible selection of articles for you, ranging from Josh Cole’s rundown of how to manage your finances to Catherine Gregson’s ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ for Freshers.
One of the best pieces of advice I can offer (and will be continuously offered to you) is to put yourself out there: give everything a go (within reason!) and take every opportunity. Although it may seem hard at first, a conversation you may initiate with a flatmate, or a simple question you may ask someone on your course about how to find the seminar room, could lead to a long-lasting friendship. In this case, why not check out Hannah Boyle’s piece on why every student should invest in a doorstop, you’ll have to read it to find out why!
Giving everything a try, whether it be in the form of joining a society, going to a department mixer, or simply sitting in the kitchen in your flat, is the best thing you can do to settle into university. The first few weeks are the perfect time to try new things: there are nearly 20,000 students at the university, so if you are worried about making friends, trust me, there will be people out there for you! If you’re interested in sport, but aren’t sure whether it is for you, then Alanah Hammond’s six reasons to join a sports team may very well convince you to, and sports teams, as are all societies, are a great way to make friends!
Off campus exploration is just as important as on campus exploration: York is where you will be spending the majority of your time for the next few years of your life, get out in the city and have a look around! Charis Horsley caught up with some of our editors to find out where they like to spend their time in the city, offering a great selection of places for you to sample during the first few weeks of term. For when you get hungry and, if you’re anything like me, cannot face the taste of your own sub-par cooking anymore, then Emma McGreevy’s guide to York’s cafes and restaurants is definitely the article for you.
Drinking is heavily associated with Fresher’s week, and whilst you can have an amazing week without drinking at all as colleges offer brilliant alcohol-free events, quite often more enjoyable than their drinking counterparts, if you’re interested in what York’s nightlife has to offer, then why not check out Bailey Mcintosh’s guide to York’s clubs and bars?
For the bookworms, or English Literature students with endless reading lists, Emily Warner gives a rundown of York’s best bookshops, and for anyone interested in film, Ben Jordan’s guide to the university’s film societies and cinemas should definitely be checked out, especially if you want to enjoy a good night at the cinema with friends!
For some students, moving to university can sometimes feel even more overwhelming than for others, especially if you have a disability. Lizzie Knowles offers her advice to students with a disability on how to navigate this, and for able-bodied students, reading up on how you can support your flatmate or course mate will prove invaluable.
Moreover, Dora Gawn-Hopkins’ article on coping with difficult things during freshers' week and Grace Fegan’s guide to coping with life beyond first term offer some really useful advice if at any point at all you feel as though you are struggling.
Finally, if you’re interested in student media, then it is well worth giving Gracie Daw’s piece on joining Nouse a read, as she fully explains all the roles and how to get involved with the paper.
On that note, have a fabulous freshers' week: enjoy yourself, put yourself out there but remember it is okay to have both highs and lows, this is just the beginning of a long journey towards graduating with your degree, and not every moment is going to be perfect.