Freshers: I’m jealous of you all.

A Level results came out on Thursday. The first thing you should be thinking about is not books, lectures or essays. It’s settling in. And there is no better way to do it than by taking Freshers week by storm.

I thought I’d be nice and give you a quick run down of how I’d take the first couple of weeks at uni, if I could do them again.

First things first, the new thing of Freshers Facebook groups and stuff can be a great help, but don’t over-use them. Get to know a few people in your flat and maybe a few others, especially if you’re shy. It helps just so that you’ve got someone to talk to as soon as you arrive, but if you go around talking to everyone then the spontaneity of uni won’t be there.

Don’t let the good times turn bad.

Obviously, drinking in Freshers can’t be ignored-it’s the headline act. Some might call excessive consumption of drinks such as Sambuca and Frosty Jack’s cider yobbish or irresponsible, but if there’s ever a time to be yobbish and irresponsible, it’s in Freshers. Your first nights out are when you’re going to meet most of your friends (other than coursemates), so make it a laugh, no one likes the sober kid in the corner. Drinking starts in pre-drinks, get people involved and get drinking games going; preferably ring of fire, the witch or arrogance. Drinking games bring up conversation and get you drunk, absolutely perfect for meeting new people. No one could claim drinking isn’t fun, so do it and enjoy yourself-you’ll learn to love the hangovers eventually, as long as you’ve got someone to share them with. A quick disclaimer to cover my back though… don’t try and be a turbo lad and out-do everyone else. You’ll either end up in hospital or with many apologies to be said to your new ‘friends’.

Get yourself in a society or a club. Be it something obvious like football or rugby, or something more obscure, like the art of puppetry, it’s still a great way to meet new people that have a lot in common with you. Most societies will have socials. Be prepared for them because anything could happen, especially in your initiation. If you’re not a fan of heavy drinking, try to avoid the first social, though that may come back to you next time around; you’ll have to make that call for yourself. Also, when you’re looking into joining something, remember that you don’t have to be an expert already, just as long as it’s something you can be enthusiastic about then you’ll love it.

Obviously you’re at uni to work and get a degree, but remember it’s supposed to be the best time of your life. First year is perfect for this, it’s rare for the grade to be carried onto your final degree so make sure you don’t waste your time with your nose trapped in a pile of books. However, don’t let yourself get too far behind the rest or you may struggle to pick everything up when it really matters. To help this, go to as many lectures as you can, and get used to going to your 9 AMs early; once you’ve missed one, it’s hard to not do it again, I’ve learnt that from experience. If you do find yourself in the sticky situation where it’s 11 o’clock the night before an essay deadline (which you will), I have two words to help you: Google Books. It’s incredible how much you can blag an essay as long as you support your arguments with ‘evidence from experts’. Seriously, if you’re really struggling, you will find some form of quote on Google Books that’ll support your argument. They usually come with full reference details and there is no chance your tutor will check up on all of your references. It’s a Godsend.

My flatmates, Alec and Chantelle, walking round the campus lake.

Finally, get used the campus. Not just the lecture buildings though; most campus unis will have some form of communal fields or parkland and it’s nice to get outside. Go for the odd run or even a walk, it’s nice to get outside and your body will thank it after the mess that probably occurred the night before.

That’s the basics, tweet me or something if you’re all out of ideas for when you start. But seriously, enjoy it. I’m jealous of you all.

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