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Your alarm pierces the silence. It’s the 16th August 2018. The clock has been ticking ever since you took your dreaded A-Level exams; you can’t believe time is finally up. You’ve barely slept because today is the day. Today is the day you will find out if you’ve made the grades to go university.
You go through the motions; you down a cup of coffee and pull on some clothes. You’ll maybe manage a few morsels of breakfast (if you can stomach it). You grab the keys, your phone and a pack of Kleenex, just incase. Your parents wish you luck and you begrudgingly close the door, departing to discern your fate.
Before you know it, the feared brown envelope is in your hands. You can’t take the tension any longer, so you rip it open. It takes you a minute to figure it out; to digest the swarm of numbers and all-too-important letters overwhelming the page. As, Bs and Cs have never seemed so terrifying to you. But you’ve done it. You’ve really done it. You’re going to university.
So, now what? The hard part is over, but a new, incredible chapter has just begun. Today, you’re planning trips to Ikea, ferociously stalking your new flat mates on Facebook, and are trying to figure out how on earth you’re going to survive without your mum doing nearly everything for you.
Alas, fear not. Banana Crumble is here to save the day with our Ultimate Guide to Fresher’s Week, giving you all the tips and tricks you’ll need to make it through that gloriously messy first week in one piece.
1.Don’t buy every fresher’s club wristband you can find – you’re getting ripped off.
’50 wristbands left!!!’ ‘Don’t miss out!!!’ are the promoter pleas I’m sure you’ve seen suffocating social media in the run up to first term. “But there are about 10 different bands? They’re about £80 each! Which one is the best? How do I know where everyone will be going?” I hear you cry.
Our advice is talk to people at your uni-to-be who are in the year above. Fresher’s week differs at every uni, but second year students have been there, done that, got every club’s tragic fresher’s t-shirt and probably made the mistakes that you don’t need or want to make. Ask them where the best place to go is in that first week, and which wristband they would recommend.
Secondly, if you haven’t already found your future flatties on Facebook, get on that search pronto. There should be a page for your halls of residence, where people post and try to seek out who their new best friends (or not) will be. You don’t want to get there to discover that Gary, Matt and Ben have bands for the strip, when you’ve shelled out god-knows-how-much on a band for the SU. Fail to prepare, prepare to be in the club on your own
2. Don’t bring everything but the kitchen sink
Yet another reason to find your future flat mates. You really don’t need 7 cheese graters, 5 irons, 8 kettles and 4 toasters. Hit up your new homies and sort out who’s bringing what. Firstly because, well, who needs 4 toasters? But, more importantly because your kitchen will probably be not only tiny, but very messy, so you really don’t need unnecessary items clogging up valuable work surface space that could be used to display copious numbers of Tesco-value vodka bottles. #TheVodkaWindowLedge will become a thing, seriously. And if you think you’ll be drinking anything better than own-brand alcohol, think again.
3. Join some societies
University is the perfect time to break some boundaries and try some things you haven’t done before. Get yourself down to the Fresher’s Fair to leave with a load of sweets, posters, and also the 411 on what’s going on at your uni. With hundreds of societies to choose from, there’s bound to be something for you. It’s a great way to meet new friends, expand your circle, and the socials (usually with very strange themes) before nights out are super fun too.
4. Learn how to make a few meals
It’s time for cookery 101, because quote me, when you’re hanging out of your arse on a Sunday and are craving one of your mum’s famous roast dinners, tinned baked beans really aren’t going to cut it. Learn how to make 4 or 5 dinners that hit the spot every time so that you aren’t left feeling hungry and homesick. They don’t need to be complicated, but basic cookery is essential when you’re living away from home. And yes boys, this means you too. Your new flat mate Beth will not be willing to cook for you.
5. Bring all the medicines and eat your greens
Warning: Fresher’s flu is NOT a myth. Repeat: Fresher’s flu is NOT a myth. You will get sick. Amy from Yorkshire has a cold. Amy kisses Joe from Essex in the SU. Joe shares a beer with John from Scotland. John from Scotland sneezes over you in a lecture. Ta da, the sniffles start. Thousands of students from all over the country are thrown together in close proximity and, hey presto, germs galore and viruses spread. Now, I’m not saying you’re going to be able to totally avoid getting sick, but you can definitely minimise the pain by stocking up on paracetamol and by eating at least some veggies. You can thank me later.
6. Don’t spend your whole student loan in one night
You’ve flown the nest. Your parents aren’t telling you to be home by 12. You have a seemingly unlimited amount of money in your bank account. Drinks are flowing and you live next door to that pub that’s doing 5 shots for a tenner. Unfortunately, that ‘unlimited’ amount of money will go down astonishingly quickly if you don’t try and budget. It is seriously tempting to go completely wild and spaff it all in your new fave club, but save some for a few weeks down the line when you really don’t want to be eating 30p instant noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
7. Prepare for the North/South war
Is it dinner? Is it tea? Genevieve from Oxford says it’s ‘supper’. No one will ever really know, but you will argue about it, and you will stand your ground because you are undoubtedly right, and they are wrong. People will also take the piss out of your accent. You could be from anywhere in the U.K., but people will pick up on something about you and mock you relentlessly for it. Embrace it, enjoy it, and mock them right back. If you can’t beat them, join them.
8. Prepare to argue with people over things like milk
You trekked down to your good old corner shop last night to grab some milk for your morning cuppa and you wake up to discover a mere dribble remains. Chairs fly; doors slam; a grumpy you retreats to bed, tea-less- a distressing narrative to say the least. To start with, you’ll probably bite your tongue. Then, the passive aggressive notes slain around the kitchen and comments on your group WhatsApp will begin, ‘whoever stole my milk, I don’t mind but please ask next time * dramatic smiley emoji usage *’’. Eventually, you’ll lose your head and find yourself calling that milk-stealing dickhead, Dave, unthinkable names purely because he stole your finest dairy goods. Moral of the story: everyone should buy his or her own milk. Blood will be spared.
9. Work hard, play hard
It might seem tempting to slack off lectures in your first week and play catch up later. Don’t. You’ll miss out on course outlines, books you need to buy, and it’s a great opportunity to meet your course-mates. No matter how tired you are on the morning after the night before, get your game face on and trudge down to lectures to save regret later.