Fresher Survival Guide

by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist

Published in Lifestyle on 18th October, 2019

What Is Freshers?

You probably already know what freshers is, but if you're unsure or an international student - freshers is the "introductory week" for new university students, where you'll meet your flatmates, learn more about your university, probably make a bunch of new friends and spend a lot of time partying, socializing and settling into your new life.

Freshers week is hectic, stressful, insanely fun and completely wild all at the same time. For newbie university students it can all seem quite overwhelming, so to keep yourself safe and sane - here's the ultimate freshers survival guide.



Packing for university can be tricky, particularly if you've never lived away from home before. Adjusting to a new academic routine, moving out of home, new friends and a completely new lifestyle can feel impossible, but don't worry - you will figure it all out eventually.

There are many many packing guides to help you prepare for university in general, but fewer for freshers week itself - so here are some of the essentials.

Plenty of food, and snacks. Stocking up on food on the day you move in will reduce the stress of having to buy food throughout freshers week when you'd much rather be signing up for social events.

Plan some basic meals and grab the ingredients so that you're never having to think about what to cook. In addition, make sure to buy some snacks (chocolate biscuits tend to always be a winner). These will not only keep you going through the inevitable late nights and homesickness but can be a great way to make friends.


Some "going-out" clothes. Even if you don't think you'll be a party animal during university, don't underestimate the allure of freshers week parties. For girls, make sure to pack an extra pair of flat shoes to fit in your bag for those nights when wearing heels gets to be too much.

Some home comforts. Freshers weeks is for many people, a huge amount of fun. But that doesn't mean you won't still get homesick. So bring along some photos to stick up on the wall, and your old pillowcase from when you were a kid - you'll appreciate it once you're all settled in.

Moving In

Freshers week can be pretty hectic, so make sure you leave enough time - preferably a few days, to get settled in and unpack before you get too busy. If you're looking to make friends (which you probably should be) make sure to leave your door open whilst you unpack as a gesture of invitation to the other residents, soon enough you'll be chatting with everyone.

Try to unpack as early as possible, in order to leave enough time to socialize and get to know your fellow students.

Making Friends

Discovering Your Uni

Freshers week is the perfect time to discover more about your uni, what's on offer and where are the best places to go for food, drinks and entertainment.

Classes haven't started yet, so you'll have all the free time in the world to have fun and see what's out there. Most universities will have freshers schedules posted, so you can plan ahead what events you'd like to get too. Many uni's will also have a "freshers fair" going on, where you can sign up for clubs, societies and more. This is an excellent place to meet people, see what's happening and perhaps sign up for social events.


Partying isn't an essential part of freshers week, but it's pretty common, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to have fun and let loose before you start getting bogged down with assignments.


You'll usually be able to find all the big parties and events to attend through your universities schedule, freshers fair or online groups. If you haven't made any friends to go with yet, don't worry, everyone's new and nervous so going alone is completely acceptable and you'll probably make friends along the way.


Budgeting for freshers week can be hard, particularly if this is your first time figuring out how to budget your money. Saving up a bit of extra cash before freshers week can really help take some of the extra financial stress of your back - after all, freshers week is about having fun, and you can't really do that if you're constantly worrying about your bank balance.

Your university website probably has a budgeting guide for students already to help you estimate how much you'll need per month, but don't forget to budget in extra for eating out, buying drinks and signing up for textbooks, clubs, and events during freshers week. All in all - freshers can be one of the most expensive weeks of your entire university experience!


Food can become a huge expense if you're a university student, especially during freshers week when you'll likely be eating out more, adjusting to your new home and the realities of having to share a kitchen with a bunch of other students. Nonetheless, it's important to keep yourself well-fueled with at least some healthy food, especially if you want to avoid the dreaded freshers flu.


Meal-prepping and planning is your best friend in uni, in terms of saving money, saving time and eating well. Before you head off to uni, brainstorm some cheap, yummy and healthy meals you can make quickly or prep ahead of time to take the pressure off whilst you're in the middle of freshers.

You may also want to suggest teaming up to bulk-buy staple items such as flour, rice, pasta, and cereal to your housemates, as this can save you a considerable amount of money.

Staying Safe

Freshers week is your time to have fun, make friends and settle into the new lifestyle you'll be leading before the full force of academic work hits you. As always though, staying safe is a priority, and there are some things you should be aware of before you head off to freshers.

Basic safety precautions such as never leaving your drinks unattended, always making sure that your friends know where you are, having an emergency contact on speed dial, and making sure you have enough battery and data on your phone to get you out of a sticky situation will prevent most of the potentially unfortunate occurrences that can happen during freshers week.

See here Top Tips For Solo Travel - Make Friends, Have Fun & Stay Safe.

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