If you are a current student at Portsmouth I’m sure this will resonate with you. If you will be starting university in this coming September, or even the following one, then congratulations! I am overly excited for you. It really is ridiculously exciting (and terrifying)!
These are, of course, only my experiences. Your first week may be entirely different. My advice to freshers:
- The first night will probably be a let down, everyone is too overexcited so it’s likely to be not that great. Mine was such an anticlimax…
- But that’s okay! It will get so much better! Just wait a while until you know people a little more and the fun will really start.
- STUDENT LOANS ARE NOT A BOTTOMLESS PIT! I know it is so mad that you suddenly have all this money but remember you need to eat, you need to pay your rent and you need to buy books. It sounds so super boring but you will reach the end of it and overdraft is not a place you want to be.
- So, look at budgeting, set a much higher amount of money you’re allowed to spend in Freshers and, after that, stick to a more realistic amount.There are websites like this which help you to do so. Boring, yes, but so valuable.
- Getting a job is a really good idea. I didn’t want one as I’d worked two part time jobs whilst doing my A Levels full time and it was just too intense. I was looking forward to not having to do this at uni, however, instead of living off of last year’s earnings, I put them into an ISA. I will now have so much more money at the end of uni. I work, now, for treats and use my loan for food, rent and basic living only. It not only helps me manage my money but also I have met so many fantastic people there who I otherwise would never have encountered.
- Make a huge effort with people on your course from the beginning. It’s very easy to get caught up in your flatmates as they are who you see most often and are going to be around a lot. I got on very well with mine and so didn’t panic about not having friends and barely spoke to people on my course. This made me feel quite excluded and not a part of the little groups which formed which made coming to seminars and lectures quite sad sometimes. Luckily I have now found many good friends on my course but it was a lot more difficult later on into the year to befriend people.
- Don’t assume everyone you befriend in freshers is going to be your best friend forever. There’s just so many people and you probably won’t find your people for a little while – and that’s okay!
- Get people’s numbers! This will probably mean that by the end of the first week you have 53 new contacts, most of whom you have no clue what their real name is as they are saved as ‘girl shorts blue’ or ‘curly hair’ or ‘tom maybe?’ but it will also mean for those, you do remember you can contact. Say, someone on your course, you can send them a message about a lecture and agree to meet beforehand. I found this so comforting in the first few weeks, being able to go into a lecture or seminar with someone else and sit with them.
- BE BRAVE! As scary as it is, just go up to people and talk! Everyone is secretly begging for you to so that they don’t have to make the first move. ‘Fake it till you make it!’ Pretend you are super confident and people will be drawn to you. Say to a group at the end of a lecture “who fancies going for a coffee?” and I promise you people will want to come. Everyone wants to get to know people so be that person who enables them to do so. You’ll be glad (and it turns out people aren’t that scary)!
Good luck and enjoy. It’ll all be okay. If I could do it again, I would!