Gather round ladies and gentlemen, and prepare yourselves for my freshers week top tips! The first week of uni can be a whirlwind of fun, information, and new experiences, and it’s entirely possible that you’re excited to get going or dreading what might lay in store.
My prayer is that this post can make you genuinely excited about freshers week, and perhaps offer some guidance.
1) Start with your flat
These are the people you’re going to be seeing a lot of over the year ahead! Your flat in your halls of residence could be big (I shared with 13 people), or it could be small - either way, spending time with these people is a good idea. Go and sit in your kitchen and have a chat over a cup of tea, or if you’re unpacking your room, prop your door open and see who wanders in. Blare some music of the football as well to generate some intrigue - I met a few of my flatmates just by loudly watching the rugby with my door open! If you get on well with your flatmates, that’s fantastic. However, if you don’t, don’t panic! It happens - and there’s such a rich array of people for you to meet during that first week, that you’ll find some friends before you know it.
2) Don’t feel like you have to shirk a night out
It’s one of the questions we seem to get asked most - “should Christians be heading out to nightclubs?”. And the easy answer is - yes! Obviously you will know yourself better than I will, but I would say to anyone that they shouldn’t automatically decline a night out on account of their faith. It might be that the particular night out in question will make you feel uncomfortable, and if that’s the case, of course follow your instinct and stay away. But if you think you can crack it, then get out there for Jesus. We are His witnesses in this world, and that includes the club. How can you show the love you’ve intimately experienced in that environment? Again, you will know best, but some examples could include being a shoulder to cry on, grabbing someone a glass of water, and yes - holding someone’s hair back whilst they throw up. All for the #Kingdom.
3) No, I don’t know why the floor is so sticky
Yeah, spilled drinks goes some way to explaining why your shoes are fused to the dancefloor but I do not know just why it’s so sticky.
4) Get to the societies fair
Your Students Union will put on a big fair with all the societies at your uni all under one roof. This is a great chance to explore what you can get involved with during your time at university, be that water polo, the student newspaper, a political group or the real ale society! You can also sign up to be a member there and then, but this is something I would advise against. I know loads of people who paid the fees for a ton of societies they never actually ended up getting involved with. Start off by just going to a few things, and if you want to commit, join then. Most societies will be absolutely fine with you just trying them out before you sign up as a fully paid member. I’d also recommend joining just a few societies, because you won’t have lots of time to give to them! Also, it will enable you to really get plugged in with them, and maybe even serve on their committee in the future!
5) Get to the freshers fair
The freshers fair will be set up by the university, and will showcase many local businesses and charities from the area in which you are studying. They will very often be giving out freebies, so make sure you visit! Frisbies, stationary, bottle openers, even free pizzas - it’s a highlight of freshers week for anyone! You may even see Fusion down there, as they team up with churches to persuade people to #TRYCHURCH.
6) Caninal Optometry
I’m going to set you a challenge here - what’s the weirdest thing you can convince someone you study? During my first week, I attended a party in a friend’s flat, and was introduced to someone who told me he studied ‘Caninal Optometry’ - or in other words, the study of dogs eyes. This lad had clearly just cracked a good joke, but it completely went over my head. I then proceeded to parade him around the party telling everyone that he studied caninal optometry. If you can convince some other gullible soul that you study something ridiculous, I will award you one chocolate bar of your choice. Answers on a postcard please.
7) If you can, be an instigator
Now I recognise that this won’t work for everyone, but if you can, be the instigator! This can be for any group, maybe some guys you went to church with, a few people you met in a lecture, or even your flatmates, but get asking! See if anyone wants to go to the pub, the cinema, the football, or even just to try that nice looking tea shop. Just ask. You’ll never know who your friends might wind up being, and being courageous and extending an invitation in that first week can be absolutely massive in determining that.
8) Take a night off if you need it!
It can be a bit relentless, freshers week! What with all the nights out, academic induction, and general socialisation, don’t be surprised if you fall flat with tiredness by Thursday/Friday. Don’t be afraid to take a night off, I promise you won’t miss out on anything - there’s a whole year of memories ahead! The likelihood is that other people around you will also be flagging, such as me and my flat. We took a night off to do a jigsaw of Cliff Richard. A great night for everyone.
9) You will get ill. Sorry.
Freshers flu is real and it is not nice. It usually hits around your first or second weekend, so make sure you have some paracetamol and box-sets to hand.
10) Get to church
Most halls of residence will have you moving in on a Sunday, so you probably won’t be able to get down to church until the next Sunday, at the conclusion of your freshers week. You can see all the churches in your area with our student linkup app, so sign up here! It will be a great way to bring to an end your first week at uni, reminding yourself that you have hope in Jesus and home in the local church. The amazing reality is that there will be so many churches around your campus or halls of residence ready to welcome you through the door and make you feel at home. And what a wonderful thing that is!