A guide to freshers week

For many first year students – not so flatteringly known as “freshers”- arriving on the doorstep of halls with their duvet and A-Level course books will be their first daunting experience of life at college. But it’s all going to get better. This is just a short guide to some of the pleasures to look forward to and some of the pitfalls to avoid.

Perhaps not everyone’s idea of an ideal home, Halls are just that for most first year students. If you take some coffee or a bottle of wine with you – you will be guaranteed some friends within hours of arriving. Hall life is centred around the bar and the TV lounge. Most Halls are cheaper than renting somewhere on your own and it’s a brilliant way to meet people from your college and your course.

If you can’t get a place in Halls or don’t fancy the idea of living in such close proximity with your fellow students you can look into the rented sector. Remember though that on top of the rent you will be paying bills for utilities like water, electricity, gas and the phone. The expense adds up but you will have the advantage of independent living. Make sure you visit your Students’ Union before looking at properties as they can advise you on contracts, your legal rights and probably supply you with a list of local reputable landlords.

Part-time work
One way to raise extra funds is to work part-time. A recent National Union of Students survey revealed that one third of students work part-time during term time. For many students working to raise funds is an absolute necessity. Look out for jobs advertised through your students’ union – some even run employment agencies and can help you find local work in bars, shops and businesses. Looking for a job, which might provide valuable work experience, will be an added asset.

Students’ Union
All students become automatic members of their Students’ Union – the centre of student life with clubs, societies, student media, sports, campaigns, and welfare advice. The list of services your union provides really is endless. If you need help on any issue to do with student life this is the place to go. Trained staff and dedicated union officers are devoted to sorting out your problems.

Students have a bit of a reputation for partying, which is great but not if you spend your first few weeks with a hangover, not going to lectures and using all your money in the first month of college. Get advice about how to pace yourself - there will be lots of information on safer sex, drug and alcohol abuse and the hazards of smoking as part of your student welfare.

If this all makes you want to know more about life at your chosen college or university then get in touch with the students’ union there. They should be able to provide you with an “alternative prospectus” the student’s way view of life at the college, or a copy of the latest edition of the student magazine or newspaper which should tell you a lot about what really is going on at your campus.

So good luck and enjoy your first year!
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