The Tab’s ultimate guide to Freshers’ Week

Get strapped in, it’s time

Once you've been accepted to university, it's safe to say one of the main things on your mind is Freshers' Week. There's the dreams of non-stop seshing, meeting new people, the constant worries about things like forgetting something or not liking your flat mates, and the risk that it will all be over-rated. There's so much going on, you need a guide to Freshers' Week.

You told your mum you applied to Nottingham because the course looked great, but really cheap VK every day of the week were what pulled you in. "Newcastle looks so me", you say as you frantically try to write down all the different clubs they have that you must try in the first month of uni.

But, with Freshers' Week there can be a lot of pressure – you've built this up so much in your head, pictured it for months, even dreamt about it. Here's a guide to make sure you do it right, so it defo lives up to expectation.

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Keeping those t shirts forever

What is Freshers' Week?

The first week at uni is universally called 'Freshers' Week', but it usually is more than a week. It's basically when you move in and get comfortable at uni, settling into the social and course life.

When is Freshers' Week?

It depends on the university, but most are from mid to late September. Your Students' Union website will have dates on, or it'll be the week after everyone's moved in. Don't worry, when you arrive – you'll know when it is.

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What actually happens during Freshers' Week?

Freshers' Week is bigged up to be a huge session of drinking, going out and meeting new people. Which effectively, it can be if you want it to.

However, there are a lot of other things going on, which depend on the university but are generally quite similar.

You'll move into your halls of residence or house share. This can be quite daunting, as it's where you're going to be living for the next year and who'll you're going to be living with. But minus the horror stories, you'll find that most uni halls are pretty similar and nice places to live, and you'll get on with your flat mates.

Inevitably, there will be lots of club nights and events. Think zoo themed parties, fancy dress clubbing, paint parties and a lot of games of never have I ever. Bring your A game to pres – everyone's going to be looking to get to know you.

There will be a Freshers' Fair held on campus. This is where all the societies and groups get stands together for you to sign up and see what they're about. There's probably going to be people there from companies that do cheap student subscriptions like Spotify, and also a lot of freebies. Pizza, pens, key rings, food and coffee will probably make an appearance.

Plus, it's a way to see the campus again, pick up some maps and get your bearings so you don't get lost on the first day.

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Expect some sort of induction lecture to your course. An overview of what you're going to be getting up to, you might meet the lecturers, and you might be set some work to do. Don't be that person who hasn't looked at their timetable yet so didn't turn up – it's a chance to meet your course mates and get off to a good start.

What to do before Freshers'

You can get a little bit of prep in before you even arrive at uni. Obviously you'll get all your packing done, sort out your accommodation and know some key dates, but there's other stuff that will help too.

Facebook groups and chats might just save your life. There's probably one for your halls, so you can see who you're living with early – great to avoid every single one of you turning up with a toaster but no kettle. Groups for your course, events, and freshers' pages will all keep you up to date with everything that's going on and you'll never feel out of the loop.

If you know you're going to be wanting to go out a lot – look up events that are happening. Especially for fancy dress – who knows how you might be able to recycle your Halloween 2015 outfit or costume from a house party 10 years ago. If you're in touch with your flat mates they might have bits of costumes for events that they can bring too.

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Fancy dress always happens

Do a bit of admin. Like set up a student bank account for example, do a bit of budgeting, buy a diary.

Top tip: make a list of everything you want to take – and keep adding to it.

How to make friends

Making friends at uni can be a huge worry, but it really shouldn't be. There's so many opportunities to meet people and make friends, you're sure to get on with lots of them.

Just make sure you get yourself out there, join some Facebook groups and chats to break the ice a bit earlier. The events are put on for a reason, go out and socialise, meet your flatmates and course mates and don't be afraid to get involved. Remember, everyone is in the same boat.

If you're into sports, or have certain interests then go to the Freshers' Fair and sign up to some societies, they're a way to have another circle of friends.

For more advice, see The Tab guide on how to make friends at uni.

How much to spend

Budgeting is key – but again, it's different for everyone. Have an idea of how much money you can spend and try and stick to it.

It's easier said than done, but don't blow your loan in Freshers' Week -there are loads of ways to do uni on the cheap.

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Prefer not to say ☑️

Other students advise to buy some tickets beforehand, or know how much they are, then have a round about figure in mind for your drink and transport etc.

For more advice on spending, see The Tab guide to budgeting at uni.

How much to go out

In short, how ever much you want to.

Freshers' Week is all about experiencing freedom and a new environment, not making yourself feel uncomfortable. Some people will want to go out every night, some people won't.

There will be events you can go to every night, so if you're a complete slave to the sesh, then the world is your oyster. You can drown yourself in VK every night and nobody will bat an eyelid, cause they're all doing it too.

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You can't tell, but they've had 8 hours of sleep this week between them

What to take with you

For nights out it's the usual checklist: phone, keys, money and card, ID. But now you're at uni they might ask for your student IDs on the door, and some events will be ticketed – so get those ready. AND DON'T FORGET YOUR KEY OR FOB FOR HALLS.

Oh and at Freshers' Fair – take a bag for all the freebies and flyers. They usually give out tonnes of canvas bags but just in case, don't want to not have anywhere to store your free pizza boxes and 150 pens.

Who to go out with

You may have a few different friendship groups – flatmates, course mates, people from societies, or people from home you know at uni. Who you choose to go out with is completely up to you. But, especially if you're in a new environment, make sure you're with someone that can get you home safe, or be in constant contact with at least one person from your house or halls.

Spend a bit of time with everyone, see who you enjoy going out with the most. Just make sure nobody is left out – if you see a friend who doesn't have as many people around them – bring them with you. University shouldn't be isolating, so if you can stop someone feeling isolated and introduce them to some new people then all the better.

His plan was to go out with the gals. Success

How much to drink

This isn't a lecture, you're about to have plenty of those. So no, there's not a table about how many units of alcohol the average 18-24 year old should be consuming coming up.

If you're a sesh legend, you're a sesh legend. But yeah, stay safe and all. Don't be that guy that over does it in Freshers' and everyone has to come home with and look after, not a good start.

For a really sensible guide on drinking during Freshers', here's one from Drinkaware.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

1) How to deal with relationships at uni

2) How to deal with anxiety at uni

3) What to take with you to uni: The ultimate checklist

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