All the things you wish you’d known as a UoB fresher

If only first year could last forever

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From ordering the very first prospectus to the first day of term, freshers are bombarded with all sorts of information from the university. We all remember it well; the endless emails, letters, and multiple Facebook group chats. With information coming at you from all these angles, it’s easy to feel like you know everything there is to know about the university and life in Birmingham in general. However, we decided to investigate what things were missed off the standard university promotions; the things which you only discovered through experience…


“I wish I’d known more about the wellbeing services available in the Aston Webb hub”

Although most of us are contacted (often too regularly) by the welfare officers in our school, and encouraged to talk to personal tutors about ‘any problems’ we may have, the counselling and wellbeing services in the Aston Webb building are a lot less vocal. Their website is useful and informative but that certainly doesn’t help if, like me, you didn’t even know of its existence until months after starting university. The hub offers a range of support to any student who wants it, from workshops to counselling.


“Don’t date your flatmate”

They’re never as good as you first think…in fact this probably goes for any fresher’s week-based relationship


“That fresher’s isn’t all about nightclubs and alcohol”

This one came up a lot when speaking to people. Whether it was because they didn’t drink or like clubbing, or that they partied too hard in an attempt to fit in and later regretted it, one thing everyone had in common when we spoke to them about this was that they had learnt that it wasn’t necessary at all. So don’t worry if you’re not a party animal! There will always be plenty of other people who aren’t either.

Who needs clubs when you can stay in with pizza anyway?


“How much stress between flatmates a little bit of hair in the shower causes”

Every flat has a super clean flatmate, and if you don’t think you do, it’s probably you. From passive aggressive messages in the group chat to full blown arguments, this person spends their university life trying in vain to get everyone else to conform to their hygiene standards. Whether you love them or you hate them, there is no in between.


“How hard it is to make friends and fit in when you commute, even living in Birmingham is isolating when everyone else is living in halls”

Halls really are often the place where you make most of your friends, unfortunately this leaves the commuters on the back foot when it comes to meeting people. Let alone the problem they have of how to get home after nights out, getting across Birmingham at 3am really isn’t as easy (or fun!) as you might think.


“How shit my course is”

It’s even more bitter when you think about how you’re paying £9,000 just for the privilege.


“That friends you come to uni with will most likely change into huge bitches who you’ll quickly get sick of seeing on campus every day”

Ah the age old snake problem…as upsetting as it is at the time, you’ll probably meet new friends who are way better than they ever were anyway.


“To be brave and talk to as many people as possible. Also, I didn’t need to bring my winter shoes!”

Everyone is super willing to meet new people especially during fresher’s. There are so many people here, so it doesn’t take long to find others with similar interests. As for the shoes, it will probably never snow in Birmingham, so to all the international students from colder climates and hardy English northerners, you don’t need to waste valuable packing space with your snow boots.

There wasn’t even snow at the Christmas market…


“How far away all the shops are from the Vale”

It’ll only be a couple of months before you resort to getting your shopping delivered.


“How pretty the campus is”

You see it photographed on prospectuses but you never quite believe it until you’re here. You certainly wouldn’t think that it’s only 10 minutes away from the city centre.

And last but not least…


“Enjoy the safety and serenity of The Vale before you end up in Selly”