So you’ve done the IKEA shop and you’ve gutted Wilkos for all the essentials, including the ‘essentials’ you’ll never use, but it felt like a good idea at the time! Yup, I’m talking about that waffle maker I’ve used once, hated cleaning and never touched since.
You have handled move-in day like a pro, you’ve claimed a kitchen cupboard and a fridge shelf, and your parents, siblings or your friends have performed some form of wizardry and made everything you brought fit in those cupboards (honestly my dad packed my cupboard in my first year and I never changed it, everything fitted so well). You’ve done your first shop, and let’s be honest, if you’re with your parents, it’s probably your healthiest food shop of the year! And then it’s official, you’ve moved away to uni and you are ready for your first week.
What is your first week at uni like?
It’s going to different. There might be really busy days, and then times you’re just hanging around waiting for something to happen. You might feel homesick and that’s okay. I was really homesick when I came to uni – missed my friends, my job and my dogs. It felt like I was the only one, everyone else seemed really happy, but actually, they weren’t. I found out later that lots of people on my course also felt homesick and struggled with the transition to uni life. So even if you don’t talk about it, know you aren’t the only one.
There were also times I felt lonely. This is something that I don’t think is talked about enough. Uni life – or life in generally – can get lonely. Most students have moved away from home and it does take time to build strong friendships with others, but don’t stress about it. Join some societies, hang out with your housemates (I swear, anyone can bond over a game of Cards Against Humanity or What Do You Meme?), explore your local area and decide what events you are going to go to. I know that Covid restrictions have put a spanner in the works, but that doesn’t mean that you and your housemates can’t have a house party amongst yourselves.
What should you do?
Go to all your introductory lectures and team building activities your course organises. It will be worth it! You’ll get the chance to meet everyone you’re going to spend next 3-4 years with, and who in the future you may be working with. It’s also good to start making friends early, but don’t feel pressured to make all your friends in the first week or even the first semester. You’ll make friends as you go, and your friendship groups will change and evolve over the years. Those friends you have in freshers might not be your friends when you graduate.
Also, go to the tours of the library! I didn’t go and subsequently avoided the library for the first semester because I had no idea how to find books. In the end, I had to ask someone to show me. It’s a lot less embarrassing and much more useful if you go in your first week!
Freshers’ Flu is coming.
You can’t talk about your first week and not talk about freshers’ flu. Hundreds and thousands of students moving all over the country, all bringing new strains of colds and bugs you’ve not had before. Couple that with living in close quarters and it will get shared around.
My first week involved several nights out (I miss that so much!!) and the ensuing hangovers (definitely don’t miss those!). You can get run down and tired really quickly, so make sure you eat well, stay hydrated and sleep whenever you can. But seriously, have some paracetamol and chocolate on hand for these days!
If you don’t get freshers’ flu in the first week, you’ll get it at some point. My friend didn’t get freshers’ flu in the first few weeks, it hit her halfway through November and it was rough! It’s like winter, it is coming!
In summary, the takeaway points of this blog post are:
- Don’t stress about making friends, you’ll make friends. You’ll probably feel homesick, everyone does and they aren’t talking about it either. It will get better.
- Learn how to use the library – don’t be like me!
And good luck! It’s the first week of a great year. There will be hilarious times with your friends and the most ridiculous arguments you’ve ever had like, ‘Yes, you do have to buy toilet paper; it doesn’t just magically appear in the toilet.’, or, ‘Yes, it’s now Christmas and that is not the same toilet roll your mum brought you when you moved in.’
These were real disagreements in our house last year.
Love Bet x