What to expect from your university experience

In the weeks leading up to the beginning of your University experience, you’ll receive a lot of mail.

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A lot from the university (about your accommodation, what they’re planning for your Freshers’Week, and what you’ll need to do to enrol), and a lot of junk about student accounts and credit cards.

There’ll be a lot of organising to do, including opening your student bank account, getting your paperwork in order and planning what you’re going to take. A shopping trip is also inevitable, with provisions for your new life piling up in thecorner of your bedroom.

THE FIRST DAY
Arriving at university, most of you will be driven down by parents who are secretly more terrified than you at the prospect of losing their offspring. After getting lost on the way due to the university’s crude directions on how to get to your accommodation, you finally arrive and the tummy butterflies soon set in. Most universities will have teams of students (often in bright, garishly coloured T-shirts) assigned to welcome and look after you and answer any of your questions.

You eventually find your room, where you’ll promptly dump your stuff and have a good nose around. You’ll meet your new flat/house/hall mates who’ll all be as overeager as you to make friends. You’ll wave your parents off and have a good cry, before setting about opening the alco-pops and getting a bit tipsy with your accommodation buddies. You’ll all then set out to the first welcome eventthat the Students Union has organised, no doubt a club night at the SU playing cheesy pop songs that has everyone swaying around singing along drunkenly with their arms inthe air.

FRESHERS WEEK
Apart from enrolling and orientation meetings, this week will be free for you to do pretty much as you please.

The Students Union will have events going on all week, usually involving minor C-list celebrities and silly party games. The Freshers’ Fair will also happen, where it’s a good idea not to spend half of your loan on enrolling to societies that you’ll never go to (who plays tiddlywinks anyway?). You’ll be given so many flyers and keyrings that you’ll spend half of the week sorting through them.

Friendships will be formed quicker than you can say ‘Will you be my friend?’, but most of these friends will prove toperform only a peripheral role in your university life as you meet more people that you realise you have more in common with.

You’ll also spend some time trying to find your way around your new town/city and buying all the things you forgot to take to university in the first place (stupid you for forgetting that potato peeler).

THE FIRST MONTH
You should hopefully be feeling relatively settled. You’ll have started classes and been set your first assignments. You’ll have made more new friends than you thought humanly possible and started forming friendship groups that will stay the course of at least your first year. And you’ll have gone to so many nights at the Students Union that you’ll begin to think it’s your new home, your liver feels pickled by Snakebite and/or Smirnoff Ice and every night has blurred into one big haze. Welcome to student life.

A small note: of course, this won’t be the case for everyone. Some of you will stick with the first people you meet at uni as your friendship group, some will be so overwhelmed initially that you’ll sit in your new room and not want to talk to anyone for a couple of days.

Everyone will have different experiences, and some of you will find Freshers’Week isn’t as good as you expected. But if you’re struggling, stick it out: it’s probably only early-week jitters. Speak to your friends, family and advisers about it and you’ll soon find yourself wondering why you were worrying so much!

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