Guide to Uni Freshers Week

Freshers week - also known as ‘welcome week’ - is a great time to meet other new students and explore what the social life looks like at your new uni. Here, we’ll cover what you can expect from freshers week and how to prepare for a jam-packed week of fun.

What is Freshers Week?

Freshers week typically takes place right at the start of the academic year and is basically an orientation week for new students.

So much happens during freshers week - you have an opportunity to join various societies or clubs, and even attend different events and activities. There’s no shortage of things to do during freshers week, so it’s important to have a rough idea of what you want to get out of it (and what you may want to avoid).

What happens during freshers week?

Depending on your university and degree, your freshers week schedule may look a bit different to other students’. Generally, you can expect to meet various uni societies and clubs, themed meet-ups or tours, as well as activities organised by the university itself and other students.

Let’s take a look at some things that may happen during freshers week below.

Clubs and societies

Freshers week is a good time to explore uni clubs and societies you may want to join. You may find these clubs and societies have set up dedicated spaces around campus where freshers can visit and talk about the activities.

There are so many extracurricular activities you can choose from, including cultural and sports activities. Consider choosing something you already like to do, such as playing chess, football, painting or dancing.

Alternatively, you can participate in something you’ve never done before. Remember, take your academic schedule into consideration when joining any clubs or societies - you don’t want to get overwhelmed.

Student unions

During freshers week, you’re likely to meet the university's student representatives. Student reps are often responsible for introducing new students to the university, helping them find their classes and other important locations, and giving advice on how to settle in best.

When you meet the student reps or have a chance to visit the student union, make sure to ask as many questions as possible - no question is silly. If you have any doubts about your lectures, timetable or accommodation, they may be able to help you or at least point you in the right direction for support.

Activities

Get ready for lots of activities during freshers week - it’s the best time to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.

Depending on your uni’s location, you may have activities both on and off campus. There’s no way to prepare for what activities may take place during freshers week - it could range from group hikes and themed ice-breakers to campus tours and guest speakers. There might even be welcome events hosted at your accommodation, where you can meet fellow residents and get to know your new home-away-from-home.

Nights out

Besides campus-specific activities, you’re likely to be invited to student parties or fun nights out exploring your new neighbourhood’s nightlife. In the UK, nights out typically consist of karaoke, pub crawls, visiting local restaurants and clubbing. Whatever the night entails, make sure to look after yourself.

How to save money during freshers week

When enjoying freshers week, try not to blow your budget for the month. There are a couple of things you can do to help you save some money during freshers week.

Freebies

What’s great about freshers week is that there are plenty of freebies you can pick up. Fancy a free pizza or sweet treats? Freshers week freebies aren’t always just pens and notebooks. Take advantage of complimentary goodies to help you save some pennies.

Cook at home

It may be tempting to go out every night, but food and drinks add up fast. If you feel up to it, try cooking at home as much as possible and save your cash for essentials and special night outs. Plus, pre-drinks at your accommodation before going out is a good option when trying to stick to a budget.

Student discounts

Keep your eye out for local businesses offering student discounts during freshers week. You could take advantage of happy hour deals or 2-for-1 food menus, for example. Plus, there are a couple of nifty apps nowadays that can help you find discounts for local restaurants, gym classes, streaming services, and more. Check out Student Beans or TOTUM as a start.

Why is freshers week important?

Freshers week is important for so many reasons:

  • It’s an opportunity to explore your new city
  • You’ll meet lots of new people who may just become lifelong friends
  • It’s a chance to get organised before your lectures start
  • It’ll make you feel more settled in your new uni

Is freshers week compulsory? This is a question students often ask, and the answer depends on your uni. Some university-led activities may be compulsory - such as a campus tour - while others may just be voluntary. If you’re not sure, try chatting with a student rep or go to the relevant campus information hub.

Tips for freshers week

Be open-minded

It may be intimidating to get involved with your uni so soon, but there are many great benefits to getting out of your comfort zone during freshers week, meeting new people and trying cool things.

Our top tip is to just be yourself (we know this is easier said than done) and don’t feel pressured to get involved or support anything that’s not true to your interests. Trust us - you’ll find places and friends where you feel supported and happy in no time.

Register with a GP

Freshers week is a good time to get organised in many ways. Make sure to register with a local (or on-campus) general practitioner (GP) as soon as you can. Not only will this give you peace of mind knowing you have a trusted doctor, but it could be a (not so literal) lifesaver if you get the dreaded ‘freshers flu’.

Look after yourself

Being away from home is liberating, but with great power comes great responsibility. So, make sure to look after yourself - physically and mentally. Freshers week in particular can also be overwhelming so take it easy if you start feeling a bit tired.

If you find that you’re missing home or struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your GP, text Shout for support, complete a self-referral through the NHS or call 111 for non-emergencies.

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