How to Make the Most of Freshers Week
Short for “freshman” (which is just another way of saying “first-year student”), Freshers Week at UK universities is a rite of passage for the majority of new first-year students. A week crammed with activities, events, and of course, lots of nights out and parties, universities put on their very own Freshers Week to help their brand new cohort mix and mingle.
However, the thought of a whole week of activities with total strangers can also feel very daunting for many people. Especially for those that don’t drink or are particularly nervous about moving away from home for the first time.
If you’re feeling a little intimated by the upcoming Freshers Week at your university, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know, including tips on how to make the most of this week-long event, and what support is on offer should you need it.
What is Freshers Week?
Freshers Week is the welcome period for new students starting at UK universities. With no classes or lectures during this time, students can meet their new flatmates and course buddies, find their way around their new town, and sign up for university clubs and societies.
When does Freshers Week start?
While universities will run their Freshers Week at different times, the majority take place from mid-September to the end of the month.
Is Freshers just for first years?
Freshers Week might have started out as a rapid-fire introduction to university life for first-year students, but these days, all year groups can take part in Freshers events. In fact, some universities throw events just for students going into their second year, or those approaching final year.
How much money do you need for Freshers Week?
It can be easy to get carried away in Freshers Week – especially when you’ll likely have the first instalment of your student loan already in your bank account. While the promise of free entry to clubs and cheap drinks can make you want to sign up for every single Freshers event, don’t forget that this instalment needs to last you right up until January, as well.
To help students stop blowing all their budget in one week, many universities sell all-inclusive wristband passes which include entry to lots of different parties on offer. These passes can cost anywhere between £15 and £150, depending on the events and club nights included.
Another way to help you curb the cost of your Fresher’s spending? Keep the majority of your money in a separate savings account and only transfer enough for your night out onto your debit card right before you leave for your night out… that way you can’t even be tempted to blow it all on shots!
How to make the most of Freshers Week: 7 tips
1. Go to Freshers Fair
One of the highlights of Freshers Week is, of course, Freshers Fair. With hundreds of stalls showcasing all the university societies you can sign up for, local employers offering part-time job opportunities, and even businesses like Domino’s Pizza handing out free pizza slices and sharing student pizza deals, Freshers Fair is your one-stop shop for throwing yourself into university life.
There’s plenty to look out for at Freshers Fair, but getting your hands on as many freebies as you can is certainly a great incentive to attend. Tote bags, folders, chocolate, pens and notebooks, you definitely won’t need to go to a stationery store to stock up afterwards!
2. Introduce yourself to your flatmates
It’s likely you’ll be living in shared university halls in your first year. And Freshers Week is when everybody moves in! Living with complete strangers can seem intimidating, but it’s important to remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat; your flatmates will be just as nervous as you are – and just as keen to make friends…
As well as meeting those living in your flat with you, you can also meet others living in the same block of accommodation by going to the communal areas and striking up conversations. Many halls also put on a variety of resident events during Freshers Week to encourage flats to really mix.
If you’re looking for an easy way to involve someone from your flat, why not go shopping for some room decorations together? It is possible to decorate your university room on a budget, and nothing bonds people more than a group trip to IKEA!
3. Decide which nights out to go on…
For many new students, the best part of Freshers Week is the back-to-back nights out. Whether it’s foam parties, pub crawls, or even silent discos, first-years will likely have their work cut out for them deciding exactly which events to go to. However, while there are social events every single night of the week, you really don’t have to attend them all.
Instead, choosing a small selection of Fresher’s events (and creating personalised playlists for them all) means you’ll no doubt enjoy your week way more – and your wallet will thank you, as well!
4. …but don’t miss what’s happening during the day
Freshers Week is as much about what’s happening during the day as it is during the evening. Don’t let your hangover get in the way of taster sessions for new clubs and societies, campus tours, and even things like go-karting!
As well as making sure to get up and leave your university halls during the daylight hours, there are also many non-drinking events taking place in the evening for those that are teetotal or just don’t want to drink as much. Many universities have their own no-drinking societies that put on sober events like film nights, karaoke and group cooking. Going to these events during Freshers Week is a guaranteed way to meet like-minded people you can then stay friends with for the rest of your degree!
5. Explore your new city
It’s important to remember that life happens off campus, as well. While your university union might have it all, there’s also a brand new city or town just waiting to be explored! Freshers Week is a great time to take a walk around your new home and test out the public transport. If your university halls are also a little out of town, working out just how you’re going to get to class or get home from clubs in the centre will help you feel quickly feel a lot more at home in these new strange surroundings.
Figuring out your closest supermarket – and the most budget-friendly one, too – is also a good use of your Freshers Week. If you’re thinking about cooking together as a flat some nights as well, clubbing together and signing up for your groceries to be delivered is definitely worth considering – especially if no one has a car to take you!
As well as locating your nearest supermarket, going to town to pick up everything you forgot to put on your university packing list means you won’t have to spend the next few months trawling through empty shelves when everyone quickly has the same idea. Toiletries, furnishings and even clothes that you think you’ll need this year will all likely sell out in the initial student rush of the first term.
6. Do some university admin
While new students aren’t expected to begin attending lectures and seminars during Freshers Week, there are still a few bits of admin they need to complete. Getting this admin done during this period will ensure your first semester goes off without a hitch.
Register with your university
This is different to accepting your UCAS offer. To let your university know that you’ve arrived and are ready to begin studying with them, you’ll need to complete your university registration. Failure to register with your university might result in a fine – and it takes just half an hour or so to it. They’ll be someone with instructions on how to complete this process when you arrive on campus.
Sign up for the Doctors
Signing up at your local GP surgery or student practice is essential. Even if just to give your parents some peace of mind! While you probably won’t need a GP for anything more serious than the classic freshers’ flu, it’s better to be safe than sorry and to get registered as soon as you can.
Open a UK bank account
Making sure to open a UK bank account will ensure your student finance payments aren’t delayed. Most student bank accounts also come with a free overdraft which is great for when you’re still new to budgeting your money.
It’s common for there to be a number of different bank branches on your campus which makes it easy to sign up during Freshers Week. To open a student bank account in the UK you’ll need to take with you the following things:
- Student visa (if applicable)
- Proof of address (tenancy agreement is suitable)
- ‘Letter of Introduction for UK Banking Facilities’ that shows your UK study details
7. Stay healthy
There’s no doubt that Freshers Week is intense. There’s a reason that freshers flu is so easily caught and widely spread during this period! Staying healthy during Freshers Week isn’t the easiest, however, even just attempting to offset a night of drinking with a day of healthy eating and plenty of exercise will make you feel a whole lot better. Many on-campus gym facilities also offer exclusive Freshers sign-up deals, making it even easier to look after yourself during this week-long party!
Support during Freshers Week
For many students, Freshers Week comes and goes without any issues. But for others, adjusting to university life is a little more difficult. If you’re finding the start of university overwhelming, it’s important to know that you won’t be the only new student feeling anxious or getting homesick.
If you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, homesick, or just not quite right during Freshers Week, all universities have dedicated and friendly teams on hand to support you. These people are there to listen to you without judgement, and will point you in the direction of any further support they can offer you in this difficult time of adjustment.
As the beginning of the student university experience, there’s a lot of pressure for Freshers Week to be the best week of your life. However, the constant parties and lack of sleep can soon take their toll, so if you’re really not having the time of your life, don’t feel bad at all!
Freshers Week is just the first week of your three or four years at university, and you’ll have so many other opportunities to make friends, have fun, and explore your new city. You really don’t have to do it all in the first seven days!