Here’s everything you’ll need to survive Freshers’ week

Do you prioritise the toastie maker or the drugs?

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Fresher’s week is a complicated time.

You’ve moved away from home, you’re surrounded by strangers, you’re almost certainly drunk and you’ve just been presented with a reading list roughly as long as your leg. You’re understandably emotional, frightened, like a small bird ejected from a warm nest. Worry not younglings, the Tab has  your back. Just peruse our foolproof Cambridge Freshers Week Survival Kit and nothing can possibly go wrong.

Me, the baby bird, being kicked out of the nest

A Door Stopper

If Frozen taught us anything, it’s that “love is an open door”. So in order to show that you are lovable, cool and social, leave your door gaping open at all times. Who needs privacy? Only people who having something to hide. With the help of your door stopper, you’ll be the most popular person in halls in no time.

A Toastie Maker

I speak from experience when I say that yes, you can survive on a diet of almost exclusively toasties for months at a time. Not only will your toastie maker provide you with endless melted cheesy goodness, you’ll be able to use it to force friendships with those who want to borrow it. Just make sure you hide it safely in your cupboard lest the cleaners find it and confiscate your illegal kitchen contraband. But even if they do, everyone loves a rebel!

Nothing will make you popular faster


Guys, in freshers week you’re going to need to take so many drugs if you want even a chance of seeming like a normal and cool human being. I wouldn’t have stood a chance of surviving in freshers week had it not been for my ibuprofen and paracetamol to get me through those morning-after brunches and DOS meetings. So make sure you bring plenty of pain-killing drugs for your hangovers and some Lemsip for the inevitable onset of freshers flu. I also found that telling people I met that I had loads of drugs and was happy to share with them made it very easy to make friends.

You wanna know where you can get pills? I have some right here!

A Fancy Dress Costume

Unless your college hates fun, there will almost certainly be a freshers week bop. A bop, for the uninitiated, is like a school disco (cheesy theme, homemade costumes, a wannabe student DJ playing crap music) but with booze (so it’s tolerable now). Make sure you plan an easily adaptable costume that will work regardless of theme and doesn’t make you look like a total weirdo. As an example of what not to do, below is the only picture still in existence of my Harry Potter costume from my own freshers week. Learn from my mistakes kids, I did it so you don’t have to.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

A Bike

This one is for the freshers-to-be who are going to be in the far out colleges. Get a goddamn bike. Don’t listen to the person who tells you ‘Nah you don’t need to cycle, it’s totally walkable!’, they are fools. I spent my entire first term walking from Homerton to town every day because of advice like that. Either bring your bike from home or buy a cheap bike once you get here. If you don’t know how to cycle, learn. As someone who had to learn to cycle in the first year Christmas holidays, it’s definitely worth it.

Make sure you wear your helmet too #rolemodel

Something super cool and unique from your gap year

How do you expect to regale everyone with fascinating stories from your gap year in Australia/Thailand/Vietnam/Peru if you don’t have some sort of massive souvenir on display in your room? Once you’ve chosen the right reminder of your life-changing year abroad, all you need to do is wait for someone to innocently ask ‘Wow, what is that?’, ‘Um, isn’t that culturally appropriative?’ or ‘Why the fuck have you got a massive digeridoo taking up half your room?’ before launching into your tales of how you found yourself and really and truly connected with the beautiful people of *insert country here* for about five minutes before fucking off back to Britain.


If during freshers week you manage to find someone who wants to touch your genitals with their own genitals, for the love of all that is sensible, wrap it up. Last year a Tab survey found that two-thirds of Cambridge students had had unprotected sex. Two-thirds. Just think of all the STDs that might be swimming around out there. You do not want your first interaction with the college nurse to be asking her why there’s green gunk coming out of your orifices. So bring condoms with you, or just swing by the Tab stall at the freshers fair and we’ll sort you out.

Don’t be silly, wrap your willy

A Time Turner

You’re going to have a lot of shit to do in freshers week. Meeting your DOS, pub crawls, organizing supervisions, matriculation dinner, registering with a GP, getting drunk with strangers. It can all be very overwhelming. I therefore recommend that you all take a tip from honorary Cantab Hermione Granger and get yourself a time turner to make it all just a smidge more manageable. And it’ll come in handy later when that pesky essay deadline just won’t stop getting closer and closer.

Time travel – available on Etsy for just £13.33

Viola Davis

Ok, I know Viola is busy woman what with her Oscars and her Emmys and the fact that she is an absolute goddess, so if you can’t manage to convince her to move with you to uni, I won’t judge you too much. But when your inevitable self-esteem crisis hits and you feel miserable and like everything you do is total and utter shit, breathe and remember Viola’s wise words.

So there you have it folks, a foolproof freshers week survival kit. Just follow this list and nothing bad can possibly happen. Unless of course you’re a total weirdo who no one likes and is doomed to be a social pariah no matter how hard you try.

We can only do so much for you.