Congratulations if you’ve just received your A2 exam results and you’re heading here, to the University of Leicester! You’re about to embark on a wonderful time, and if you’re doing your degree in Geology – welcome to the department!
I think my first thoughts on university were a very mixed bag of emotions. I desperately wanted to find new friends, be a good student, and also enjoy freshers to the fullest extent. However, I also was a little terrified of what was to come; what to take, how to balance my work and social life, if my flat mates were going to steal my food etc. So, here are some ideas that you may want to consider if you’re feeling EXCITED and a little… apprehensive about your new journey.
- Everybody is in the same boat as you so to speak. Very few people will know people and everybody wants to make new friends, so everyone will talk to you and you can talk to anyone. It sounds strange, but it is totally acceptable. I definitely would suggest pushing yourself into going out on the first night with your flat mates (I ended up going to a barn dance and knowing nobody – it was wonderful!) – even if you really really do want to go and sit with your hot chocolate and read your book in bed.
- Wait until you get to your place before you go and buy the kettle, the microwave, the toaster, the kitchen sink etc. The chances are your flatmates have already got one and you’re just going to provide a duplicate, or the university have already provided one (if you’re in halls).
- That leads me to my next point, I made the mistake of taking almost everything from my bedroom at home to university halls. Honestly, you really don’t need it. Just bring your everyday essentials and a substantial amount of clothes. Be prepared but don’t bring a truck load of stuff, it’s a pain to work in an untidy and cluttered room.
- It’s nice to arrive early when you’re arriving to your new place, just so you can claim the best cupboard and have time to explore before you meet new people. Just don’t be afraid of leaving food around, the chances are your flatmates won’t want it and won’t steal it. If on the rare occurance you find they do, just be polite and ask not them not to. If you really really don’t get on with your flatmates for whatever reason, do contact the university – they will listen and you can move.
- It really helps to learn at least 3 meals before you go to uni. Just so you can cook something simple and without thinking. When its raining and dark in winter, and you’ve just come back from a lecture that finished at 5pm, trust me, a pot noodle does not cut it. Also, I found that making big batches of meals (like cottage pie) and freezing them in individual portion containers really saved a lot of time and was actually cheaper than buying ready meals!!
- Do go to freshers fair, its wonderful and you get so many freebies. Pens, notepads, free pizza, drinks, water bottles, vouchers, money saving tips; I even got a blow up life size guitar. Also, it’s another chance to make new friends, sign up to all clubs and societies even if you have a vague interest. You don’t have to attend but at least you have the option.
- Don’t go home for the first week or two, even if you really really miss home. It’ll be harder to come back and you miss out on the activities during freshers, which are your main friendship making opportunities for the rest of the year.
- Go to the induction sessions, even if you think you already know how to use the library and you know how your course is structured. Chances are you may find out something you didn’t know, but more importantly, it’s your first chance to properly introduce yourself to your lecturers. Make a good impression.
- Choose a decent back account, and look at what they have to offer with it. For example, some banks offer discounted rail cards, extended overdrafts etc. Choose what you’d benefit from most and take advantage!
- Join the Peer Mentoring scheme, this will give an opportunity to make friends with those in higher years doing your chosen subject. Also you can voice any concerns to them, they’re just another point of contact for you to feel secure.
Best of luck moving into your accommodation, freshers fortnight is wonderful!