Sabina’s Survival Guide: Freshers’ Week

Sabina Trojanova, a political science student constantly struggling with life – she may or may not have spent the last month living off a balanced diet of coriander crackers and […]

Sabina Trojanova, a political science student constantly struggling with life – she may or may not have spent the last month living off a balanced diet of coriander crackers and beer – is here to tell you how to live yours. Sounds like a good idea, right?


These basically count as vegetables


Today she will give you a few tips on how to make it through Freshers’ Week alive and maybe even acquire a few friends in the process.

1) Booze Rules

You just kissed mum and dad goodbye and you now you’re ready to settle down and start acting like a real adult. And by acting like a real adult I mean drinking yourself into oblivion and waking up in a stranger’s bathtub. But before you buy a bottle of Sainsbury’s Basics vodka or any other soul-corrupting substance, pause for a second. With peer pressure and drinking games galore you will probably end up drinking more than you can handle, so it’s a good idea to have someone who will take care of you after your body decides to punish you for your sins. Get to know a few people whilst relatively sober first so they can make sure the bathtub is good and clean.


Beds are for suckers


2) FOMO Is In Order

Fear of missing out – or FOMO as the cool kids call it – is an integral part of Freshers’ Week. So carpe diem – or #YOLO if you want to be a dick about it. Even if you choose not to partake in the whole binge-drinking projectile-vomiting craze, you shouldn’t avoid pubs, bars or clubs just because they don’t feel like your scene. The majority of events take place after sunset and avoiding parties will keep you from meeting all those delightfully inarticulate world leaders of tomorrow. You will probably find all the inebriated party-goers completely unbearable, but they won’t be so bad once they’ve sobered up and they will be incredibly thankful that you held their hair while they disposed of the contents of their stomach in an extremely unrefined manner.

3) Bribe People

If you first impressions aren’t your strongest suit because you have a resting bitch face and your idea of an icebreaker is a sarcastic, albeit well-meant, insult then you – just like me – might benefit from a little bribery. Volunteering to do all your flatmates’ laundry in exchange for their eternal love is pushing it, but buying a six-pack of beer or a few packets of crisps to share with them certainly won’t hurt. Offering up refreshments won’t make everyone you meet instantly worship you (unless you bring tequila, everyone wants to be friends with the kid who brings tequila), but it’s a nice gesture and you can think of clever things to say while your hopefully-soon-to-be friends gorge themselves. Besides, during the first couple of days no one will remember your name and being “that guy/girl with a case of Stella” is almost certainly more flattering than whatever moniker you would have otherwise procured – although I’m fairly sure I’m neither mine was “the crazy Russian”, so take it from me.


This is what happens when you Google ‘Crazy Russian Girl’


4) Join All The Socieites

I made the mistake of not joining any societies during my first year at university and to this day I regret it. Luckily I was able to force some fabulous creatures to be my friends through the art of bribery (and a bit of blackmail) described above, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot like I did. Joining societies will allow you to meet people with similar interests, as well as UCL veterans who will happily initiate you into the decadent adventure we call our lives. With clubs centred around rowing, kung fu, pole dancing, fashion, anime or even a common appreciation of chocolate, you will surely find something of interest. For a bit of shameless self-promotion, let me point out that I met many of my close friends while working for The Tab. So if you’re interested in journalism and would like to join the greatest writing team in the world (trust me, I’m not biased) send an email to [email protected].

5) Get To Know London

You’re in one of the greatest cities in the world, so go out and explore it! My UCL Freshers’ Guide might come in handy, but don’t let it restrict you – there is more to life in London than Wednesday nights in the Loop. Check TimeOut and download YPlan (iOS only) to find out about the most interesting events going on in the British capital. And don’t forget to scour Student Beans, NUS, UniDays and Wowcher for amazing discounts on delicious eats, stylish clothes and day or night time entertainment!

6) Make Yourself Memorable

Almost every single conversation I had during Freshers’ Week started with the following three questions: what’s your name, where are you from and what do you study. This gets incredibly tiresome after a while and so anyone who forgoes this golden trio in favour of a less traditional opening line immediately stands out. As an example (which you should probably not follow), one of my friends introduced himself to me by inviting me to his room to try some laughing gas. Another greeted me in a giant bathrobe and inquired if I wanted to have dinner with her. Yet another’s idea of small talk was inquiring about my views on pubic hair and ankle tattoos. The moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to be yourself, you gas-inhaling, bathrobe-clad, pube-loving maniacs – someone will love you for it.


How could anyone not be into ankle tats?


7) Keep In Touch

The amount of people you meet during Freshers’ Week can be a little overwhelming and it’s easy to let some amazing slip through the cracks amidst all the excitement. As people’s names slowly slip from your memory, you might start feeling like a sad little fish in a sea of semi-familiar faces. To avoid this, don’t be scared to pick up the phone and gather the troops for an impromptu gourmet dinner of Cup Noodles or a trip to the pub down the road.


You only regret the things you didn’t do when you had the chance and this is doubly true of Freshers’ Week. So wave your parents goodbye and brace yourself for an insane week full of sloppy introductions, drunken midnight trips to the kebab shop and intense sleep deprivation. You will be more tired than you’ve ever been, but you’re also the youngest you will ever be so suck it up and go make small talk with the hipster kid next door.