Everything not to do when you get to Southampton

Avoid these fatal errors, and you’ll make it out alive


The Soton Tab is on hand to give you some sage advice to avoid repeating the mistakes of your predecessors.

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My freshers circa 2014, most of us probably making the mistakes listed here

Don’t shit where you eat (aka get involved with a flatmate)

The most classic advice given on every forum and article but yet people still continue to do it. The worst tales I’ve heard range from ‘it was awkward talking to them for the rest of the year’ to ‘we got into a 6 month long relationship and broke up but not before we signed a lease to live together in second year’.

If you do happen to find your soulmate in freshers (which occasionally happens) proceed with caution by doing the following:

Form friendships groups your SO isn’t involved in so that you don’t spend every hour in each other’s company.

Make plans to live in separate housing in second year if you feel living with each other two years in a row will affect you negatively.

Take the early steps of your relationship slowly and privately so your flat can get to know you as individuals rather than two halves of a couple.

Don’t go into the week an alcohol virgin

Having a September birthday, I had spent most of the preceding year learning which types of alcohol turned me into a puking crying mess (tequila and jaeger if you were interested). However, a few people in my flat made their drinking debuts in freshers which unsurprisingly led to disaster. One of my old flatmates reminisced on his first time drinking vodka which left him ‘so drunk that he got carried outside, started throwing up and threw a flatmate into a hedge’.  If that’s not a cautionary tale about pacing yourself I don’t know what is.

Don’t eat as much as you drink

The thrill of being in charge of your own shopping for the first time can lead to some very stupid decisions. With no one reminding me to eat my 5 a day (sorry mum) I stocked up on pizza and instant noodles, having come from eating a restricted low carb diet at home.

The temptation to gorge after nights out is also hard to resist as anyone who’s enjoyed a post jesters Chico Land or Manzil’s will tell you. Eating poorly and drinking every night quickly takes a toll on your body. Your new size 8 flat mate may want to order pizza 3 times a week but unless you have the exercise regime of an Olympian, you may want to turn her down every now and again. If the call of Domino’s is too hard to resist, swap your pepperoni for some veggies, and skip the stuffed crust.

Don’t push yourself when freshers flu hits

Everyone in first year will catch freshers flu, it’s an inevitability caused by a fun combination of sleep deprivation, exhaustion and close contact with a whole host of new people. Every year there will be a particularly determined portion of the student population who will push on regardless. I ended up developing tonsillitis after ignoring my own symptoms and spent the following week recovering on antibiotics. Not a fun end to what was otherwise an amazing week.

Don’t stick to the company of your flat

In freshers as well as the majority of my first year I rarely went out of my way to make friends outside of my flat. It was only in second year when I made the effort to join societies and get more involved with my course mates that I realised how much I had been missing out on.

It can seem tempting to stick to the friends you make in freshers but the rewards of leaving your comfort zone outweigh any fears you might have about putting yourself out there.  Societies especially allow you to join in with socials that are infinitely more fun (and messy) than anything you can organise yourself.

A Few Cautionary Tales

‘One of my best friends swore he’d go out every night of freshers and instead of actually getting some proper sleep took several caffeine tablets a day. He looked an absolute mess and crashed so badly at the end of the week that he got ill and inevitably missed loads of lectures – so yeah maybe don’t do that. You can definitely afford to miss a few of the less popular nights out (or at least sleep them off properly during the day).’

–Leah, 2nd year English

‘I got pissed, and was hungry so I wanted an apple. Woke up next morning and there’s pictures of me passed out on the floor with an apple in my mouth. Which I later found out got sent to my boyfriend at another uni.’

–Emily, 3rd year politics

‘Girls, hold onto your purses for dear life on a night out. Or if you’re planning to get disgustingly drunk, then appoint someone to make sure you still have it. I left mine in a cab (on my birthday…) last Freshers and went from having the best night to drunkenly crying my eyes out. Luckily, the cab driver found it and actually returned it to halls! Don’t count on the same luck though.’

Abi, 2nd year English and German

‘Make sure you don’t move into the wrong kitchen. My halls meant I could walk all the way through to another flat into their kitchen, and after being pointed in that direction by the people helping me move my stuff I wandered in and spent the next 3 days bonding with lovely people, only to then discover a kitchen on my side. It worked out well as I basically just ended up with double wonderful flatmates (all 41 of them!!!) but it was a difficult one to explain.’

Laura, 3rd year music

‘I was really drunk getting out of a taxi so my flatmate thought it would be a good idea to carry me to my room but he was just as drunk as I was and dropped me on my head. Long story short they had to phone an ambulance because they thought I had concussion and I spent the night in A&E’.

Naomi, 3rd year psychology

*Some names changed to avoid embarrassment