An Edinburgh Freshers’ survival guide – from someone who did it a year ago

Always have an open mind and an open bottle

Last September I came from Sydney to Edinburgh for the very first time as an innocent, clueless fresher, excited to make my parents proud of my academic achievements and happy with their extremely costly investment in my education. I knew the uni year began with some kind of introductory week, but I wasn’t entirely sure what it was all about and had next to no idea as to what I was in for.

So just in case you’re like I was, naïve and with no idea about what to expect in Edinburgh, or even if you’re extremely confident about everything you’re going to do, here’s some Freshers’ Week wisdom for you that’s worth knowing.

Be open minded when meeting new people

It’s really important to keep an open mind about meeting new people and making new friends when beginning this exciting, sometimes awkward period that is first year. Edinburgh is a melting pot of so many different types of personalities and the best way to find your people is to explore all that’s on offer.

I decided to begin sourcing mates by focusing solely on my house, Chancellor’s Court. People were generally really friendly and nice. The girls on my corridor were amazing and I remain close with them to this day, however, I found a lot of the guys just kept going on about the Tories and at this realisation I decided to expand my search beyond the lavish walls of Chancellors.

This was a great decision as I got to meet a larger variety of people and during first year I found diversity in friendships is key.

A really good way to meet different people during Freshers’ is to do a pre’s crawl around Pollock. Every night in all the pantries and common rooms you’ll find them happening. Down some shots in all the different houses and you’ll have Facebook adds and numbers from across Pollock in no time.

Make use of the free Dominos

It literally is a blessing. So much of your precious, minimal money is going to be invested in shitty overpriced kebabs and grotty pizza at 3am throughout the year, so you need to make the most of all the free drunk food you can get.

Also, Dominos is way pricier than Chicken Club, Morattis and McDonalds, so you can’t really justify having it too often post Freshers’. As annoying as the borderline-harassing flyer distributors can be, go up and take as many from them as possible and eat your heart out.

You do you boo

This is a really important one. Fake personalities get caught out really quickly after Freshers’ Week when everyone’s true colours come out. Don’t hold back or feel embarrassed about any element of yourself and your unique personality – you will only find your true friends when you are your true self. Don’t feel pressured to wear flares and smoke on the benches outside of Chancellor’s if its not your thing.

The people you’ll stay friends with for longest are the one’s who are genuine from the beginning. Besides, as soon as your mum comes to visit and meets your mates, they’re all going to see your true personality so save yourself the embarrassment.

Register with the GP

I learnt this the hard way after spraining my ankle in Creme Soda and realising that I actually should have taken the time of day during Freshers’ to just go and sign up. During Freshers’ Week I just felt a mixture of illness-invincibility and not being bothered to actually sign up. When I became completely crippled and had no GP to turn to, I really regretted my laziness.

The uni GP list fills up quite quickly so signing up should be a priority. Don’t wait until you need it, be prepared for when you do.

The 6th night exhaustion hit

Don’t sleep with your flatmate/halls neighbour

Many of my friends did this and while there were generally #noregrets, the people who opted for one night stands or people from other houses were much happier with their decisions long term.

Saying that, no matter who you go for during this week you should definitely use protection. There are far more exciting things you could be doing than waiting in a four hour NHS Lothian sexual health clinic queue.

Don’t feel pressured to go out EVERY night

If you can then great – but if at any night you feel completely drained of energy and your liver has just about stopped functioning, there is nothing wrong with having a more chilled pub night or movie night with friends.

Don’t worry, there are literally countless opportunities throughout the year to get drugged up or white girl wasted – hopefully not both at the same time. If you need to its better to sacrifice one night out and have amazing nights out for the rest of the week rather than struggle through exhaustion and have a series of average nights.

And the necessary recovery

Join a sports team or society

You don’t have to be an insanely fit athlete to have access to all the amazing Wednesday night socials. Joining a sports team has so many benefits. It forces you to do some form of physical activity – it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re always hungover. It also enables you to meet a wealth of new people who are probably really fit, talented and motivating. #Fitspo.

There’s also initiation nights where you may get the chance to discover what you look like with one eyebrow. Yay.

With societies, you are able to meet people who also like medieval reenactments or pole-dancing or whatever other niche interest you hold. They’re a great way to escape the intense Pollock bubble for a bit and do what you enjoy with fresh faces. However, it is best not to pay for society memberships at the Freshers’ Fair, because the majority you consider committing to, you’ll only really show up to once or twice. Try before you buy.

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University of Edinburgh