This is it. You’ve just arrived at your university. All your worldly belongings are lying around in boxes and bags, hoping in vain to someday be unpacked. You can’t find your phone charger and all you can think about is napping. You’re a student now, and there’s no going back.
So naturally, the next thought that enters your head will probably be something along the lines of ‘how can I possibly get through more than one day here on my own, when I can barely even operate the washing machine at home?’ Well wipe that tear from your eye, as we here at Repeat have compiled a complete guide of everything you need to know in order to survive your very first week at uni.
My door is so open it’s off its hinges
The very first thing you should aim to do upon arrival in your student accomodation, no matter how daunting it seems, is get to know your flatmates. At the start, most of my flat had doorstops firmly wedged under our room doors, just so that we could pop in and out of each others’ spaces and socialise with a bit more than just a ‘hi’ in the hallway, or a quick chat in the kitchen now and then. That’s right, you may actually have to all sit down together in whatever communal space you have and just talk to each other, about your courses, your interests or the pros and cons you’ve all found with your flat so far, it really is the only way to get properly settled and comfortable in your new surroundings. For example, I knew my flatmates and I were on the same page from the moment that I told them my shower had fallen of the wall during my first morning there, and they all immediately burst out laughing.
Of course, it is possible to take the open door policy a little too far. When one of my flatmates’ parents came to visit within the first couple of days, they discovered that the main door to our flat had a bit of a problem with its lock - it no longer required a key to be opened, and they were able to accidentally break in by just giving it a little push. Probably something worth checking in your own flat when you get the chance.
You might even end up having a bit of an group therapy session by talking about how homesick you all feel during the first couple of days, and that’s completely normal. As long as you all start bonding and having a laugh from the get-go, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Your flatmates are going to become like a second family, so it just makes sense to treat them accordingly.
Don’t discount yourself
Right, student discount vouchers. You will likely have at least a hundred of these bad boys shoved into your hand throughout various freshers events, and although your initial impulse to bin the lot might seem hard to resist, you'll probably be surprised at just how decent the deals are. For some reason, the word 'student' seems to have a uniquely hypnotic effect on most companies, causing them to give genuinely useful discounts on food, drinks and subscriptions to various uni necessities (e.g. amazon prime) - as long as you use them up quickly enough, since they often tend to be valid for a few days only.
Despite being harshly time-limited, these vouchers can honestly mean the difference between counting your coins for a coffee or getting two Domino’s pizzas for less than 4 quid. Why not live it up in half-price luxury for your first few days?
It's not just old-fashioned paper vouchers that can save your hard-earned loan money either, as you can use your shiny new educational email to get yourself signed up to a student discount app, such as Unidays, which will then give you access to any flash deals or student-oriented promotions being run by all your favourite brands.
To infinity...and the shops
Somewhere in between all the absolute carnage of your freshers week experience, take some time out to explore your area. Not only will this help you to get your bearings whilst staggering back home from a night on the town, but it will familiarise you with the nearest branch of all your favourite shops, and may even lead to the discovery of a hidden gem or two that you’d never have expected to find just around the corner from your new home.
My flatmates and I went on an early morning wander around our local area about halfway through our first week, the original intention being to simply get a bit of fresh air after the freshers festivities of the previous few nights, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a thriving culture of independent business right outside our collective doorstep. Some highlights include: a friendly florist whose whole shop was practically camouflaged by the sheer volume of plant pots and cacti on display outside, and an uncharacteristically gothic pancake bar with an early 20th century aesthetic which to this day I have been too scared to actually go into. There’s no telling what secret treasures you might find neighboring your new accommodation.
Pre’s in the flat keeps the wallet fat
Ask yourself right now, ‘Is there anything I’d love more than paying £4.80 in every club and bar for a heavily watered down drink in a plastic cup that’s already halfway full of ice cubes?’ If the answer is yes, you’re in luck! You can skip this section and move right along to the final point.
Well unfortunately, if you possess even the slightest hint of common sense you’ll realise this sounds about as ridiculous as an 8am lecture on a monday morning after freshers. However, unlike that lecture, you cannot simply forget about getting bevved on a night out. And while you may not be able to change the extortionate prices of the club’s tap water cocktails, you are fully able to stock up with a variety of your own bottles and cans from the nearest tesco express, and stack up a few drinks in your flat before going out in order to make sure you’re all adequately prepared, and hopefully won’t be needing to whip out your shiny new contactless card half as often throughout the night. Just try not to overdo things at pre’s - after all, you’ll probably want to venture at least a little further than your flat’s toilet after getting all dressed up.
An education in hydration
Upon moving in, I discovered that the tap water in the flat was cloudier than the weather forecast and tasted like an outdoor swimming pool. My temporary solution at this point was to simply drink nothing but coke zero, cider and rum instead, and it's worth noting that this was a fairly terrible idea.
Luckily after just a couple of days worth of headaches and stomach cramps, our final flatmate moved in, and brought with them an absolutely revolutionary product - a water filtering jug. From that day forward, it was nothing but pure, clean and refreshingly fridge-cooled water for me…at least during the daytime. Point being, if you also discover that your new water supply seems to resemble the bottom of a rusty bin, don’t just give up and drown your sorrows in double strength squash - have a quick whip-round with the flat and get yourself a water filter. Remember, freshers flu comes for us all, and dehydrated is one of the very worst things you can be whilst you’re already suffering from sleep deprivation, nasal congestion and a mean hangover.
So that just about concludes our freshers survival guide. All that’s left to say is good luck!
Let’s face it, you’ll probably need it.