Advice

How to make the most out of Freshers’ Week

By Gemma Gibson

Freshers’ Week- the week that every university student counts down to. A week of partying, making new friends, and learning all about the place you will be calling ‘home’ for the upcoming years. Moving to a completely new city, however, can be pretty daunting. You are saying goodbye to the easy life; indulging in Mum’s cooking every day, meeting up with the regular friendship circle for a gossip and winging your way through your A Levels. It is now time to stand on your own two feet and move away from home, to (rest assured) begin the best years of your life. Freshers’ is the golden week before the hard work- the time to settle in before the essay deadlines, the immense reading lists, and the all-nighters at the library begin. So make your Freshers’ Week count.

The hardest part about moving to university is gaining the courage to get out there and make friends. Once you’re unpacked and settled into your halls, meet your neighbours, because these amazing people are your family for the next nine months. Within one night it will be like you have known each other for months, so bite the bullet and make the first move. And don’t just stay in your flat- go knock on the doors of the surrounding halls and see if they want to join you for a night out. Freshers’ is renowned for big nights out spent essentially with strangers, but by the time you are heading home with a Fattoush in tow (the best takeaway for Talybont residents) you will all be the best of friends.

Collecting your student card is another important part of Freshers’ Week. This small piece of plastic will be what you need to carry around with you at all times in order to successfully power through university life. Inevitably, you will be hungover when getting your photo taken, but hold back the nausea for thirty seconds to smile and disguise your sweaty, green complexion. This will be your identity for the next three years, after all. There is always a small wait when collecting student cards and getting your photo taken, so use this time productively to explore the Student Union, head into the city centre, or just cram in that much needed nap.

The main components of university (apart from your degree obviously) are the societies and sport teams that are on offer. There is something for everyone, so whether you want to continue a hobby or try something new, make sure you head down to the Freshers’ Fair to find out about the latest clubs and how to sign up. And you can do this while collecting as many freebies as humanly possible. Sweets, cakes, pens, vouchers, Dominos- even if you explore Freshers’ Fair with no intention of signing up to anything, you will leave with an array of goodies. Most of the sports and societies offer a Give It A Go session, so students have the chance to trial a club or class before investing in the year membership. Do not fret about trying these sessions on your own; you will probably have a lot in common with other participants, so these sessions are the best place to make friends.

Finally, make the most of your Freshers’ Week by getting to know the wonderful city of Cardiff. Now is the time to explore the secret gems of the capital such as the arcades that are bursting with vintage fashion and cream tea, or you could weave through St. David’s Shopping Centre from top to bottom. Source the best places for a night out, or where boasts the cheapest food and drink. Get to know your way around Bute Park, which in the summer becomes BBQ central. From locating the best venue for a boozy night of karaoke, to the best place to find fancy dress or do your food shop (Lidl), use Freshers’ to explore Cardiff inside and out.

The main way to make the most of Freshers’ Week is to get out there and explore your beautiful new city, learn about the university and take part in everything, even if it only slightly takes your fancy- and as a bonus you will make friends for life along the way.

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