Since I’m starting my Master’s at a new University next month (UEA), I was thinking about how daunting facing a new academic adventure is. University (NTU) held some of the best (and worst) times of my life, and your life really is about to change forever. Living away from home and studying something (hopefully) you love will help you to really grow and find yourself. It sounds cliché but though it’s certainly not for everyone, your experience really will be an intensely valuable one, and hopefully will contain some of the best days of your life. I’m genuinely very jealous that you are getting to do it for the first time!
Though I am still jittery with nerves and excitement this time around, I know that I can cope. I remember how anxious I was in the weeks leading up to my first day, so as an old Uni veteran now, I thought that I would share with you guys some tips and tricks I picked up in my first year that helped me survive the transition, and some of the things I wish I’d done differently!
Ditch that fuckboy!
Starting off with a semi-serious topic, having seen many relationships fall to bits here is my advice to you: If you are not one hundred percent certain that your relationship was built to last, I would seriously advise you to consider entering University single.
The fact is, it is extremely difficult to make a relationship work long distance as it is, without the added burden of being a new student added on. Unless you are very lucky, chances are you will not be able to afford a social life on top of train tickets/fuel to go see your SO every other week unless he is attending the same establishment as you.
Then, from my experience, everyone in Fresher’s week is like a dog in heat. For many singleton’s, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and *ahem* ‘connect‘ with new people. Even if you don’t think you are a jealous person, if there is even the slightest part of you that is insecure, ‘adulterous’ or jealous, Fresher’s week will probably bring that out in you. Temptation is everywhere, when you aren’t drunk you are probably very hungover and fragile, meaning that emotions will be running extremely high. You quite possibly may find yourself crying in the club bathroom arguing over the fit flatmate you saw in his pictures, even if there is nothing going on. (You have no idea how many girls I had to step over on the bathroom floor!) Sometimes however, you are right to be jealous. I’ve seen both boys and girls sleeping with other people knowing full well they were in a relationship.
Unless you trust them implicitly, please think about whether it’s worth it. Fresher’s week is such an incredible and fun experience for most, and I hate to think that you might spend it sad or jealous over someone who won’t even matter in 5 years time. I know many people who severely regret wasting their time in fruitless relationships that prevented them from experiencing Fresher’s to the full with a clean slate. I’m not saying immediately set out and ditch your partner of 7 years, but definitely talk about it and ensure you’re both on the same page. If this lad/lass is probably not the father/mother of your children, rip the band aid off early and ditch them.
Embrace the anxiety
This may sound strange, but anxiety is good. If you weren’t a little nervous, you’d probably be a psychopath. For many, uni/college is the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, let alone with a group of complete strangers. If not, it’s still an entirely different situation. Fortunately, adrenaline is a great confidence booster, and since everyone is probably feeling the exact same way, you will find that conversation starts extremely easily. If your Rep’s do their jobs right, they will get you all together and gently force you to engage with other people outside of your flat, provide ice breakers and drinking games. (My fresher’s reps at NTU were totally amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. Remember that if you are in trouble you should definitely seek out someone in a Rep shirt and ask them for help. That’s what they are there for!) You will find you have new friends almost immediately, with everyone clinging to everyone and finding great comradery in your new situation! (If you do suffer from anxiety, you can find tips for coping here)!
Brace yourself for hangovers!
If your religion or beliefs dictate that you can’t drink, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society for people within your church or at the very least one for people who share similar interests.
If not, brace for impact guys and gals. You will be not just allowed, but encouraged to drink all week long, and to go out every single night. This is because it really does help loosen people up and makes making friends loads easier! This is amazing, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Fresher’s Flu” and thought it was a myth you were wrong. It is very very real. Because you are either drunk or hungover consistently, you will find your voice strained, you’re covered in bruises and probably very emotional and fragile for afterwards. Here are my tried and true livesaver’s for hangovers:
- Before you begin your sesh: place a 2L bottle of water, a banana and a glass of water with salt and sugar in it next to your bed every night. Down the glass and eat your banana first thing when you wake up. This sounds insane and gross, but its science. You lose potassium, salt and sugars from being drunk and dehydrated. Putting this back into your system first thing might help you recover quicker. Google it, its a thing. I promise.
- After your sesh: if you can stomach it, try and have eggs for breakfast. If you’re vegan or otherwise dislike eggs, oats/porridge contain something called ‘Cysteine’ that helps your liver to break down the toxins.
- After your sesh: not trying to turn you all into pill poppers and addicts, but pro-plus or caffiene tablets/coffee could be your saving grace if you feel your energy flagging as the week goes on. See also vodka redbulls/jagerbombs.
- After your sesh: Have a warm shower, then flash it cold to finish. Again, maybe I am mental, but there’s a reason a lot of entrepreneurs swear by a cold shower. Consider athelete’s having an ice bath too. It just really wakes you up and helps to get rid of the brain fog.
- After your sesh: make a round of tea and discuss all the hilarity and probable bad decisions you made the night before! Nothing makes a hangover worth it like story time with your new pals.
Don’t just stick to people in your flat
Make sure you remember there are people outside your flat that you probably have way more in common with than the weirdo in room 6. If you’re lucky your flatmates will be great, but after a few weeks they will probably get annoying and you will need friends who don’t steal your milk and don’t argue over dishes for 3 weeks straight. I really wish I’d joined a society while I was at uni, or in the very least not been ill all the time so I could have attended more. Make the most of your experience!
Leave your door open!
Get decent and open your door as soon as possible. It makes you way more approachable. At my uni we got told off for propping all the fire doors open but it meant that it became a bizarre sort of hippy community with the whole block of flats. We made friends with most of the block and ended up walking in and out of peoples rooms when we were bored or hungover needing a pal. Harry Potter marathons are necessary in that first week, I’m telling ya. We even ended up pre-drinking to GBBO. No regrets.
I hope you guys found this post helpful or at the very least entertaining! If you have any questions or want any advice, especially if you’ll be joining the Trent Army in September I would love to hear from you! Either reply in the comments or find me on twitter @quitefranklii ! Be sure to share this with anyone you think would find this useful and i’ll see you guys in my next post!