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10 Essential Fresher Tips: Don’t start University without them

Posted by: on 23rd September 2015

Here’s the brutal truth about University that every graduate will tell you:

Your first year of University goes so quickly!

What you need is advice on how to maximise that first-year experience. Luckily for you, we’ve sourced 10 experts to give your their top tip for making the most out of Freshers’ year.

How did we know this is the best advice?

Collectively, the 10 experts have spent thousands of hours helping first-year students. These tips come from first-hand experience and will help you settle in, manage money, and have the best experience in your first year of University.

So read on to find out how to maximise your Fresher experience.

1. Don't turn up empty handed.
credit: The Daily Touch
Sean Talbot - Editor
Everyone loves a flatmate with lots to offer – whether it's a TV, speakers, Xbox or an instrument, having something that brings people together will ensure you're always at the centre of what's going on in the flat.
Read more from Sean
2. Leave your door open when moving into your new digs...
credit: Studential
Rebecca Kirk - Communications Officer
... as other new students are more likely to pop in. This makes it easier to meet and make new friends on your first day as you unpack.
Read more from Studential
3. Have faith in yourself and challenge yourself.
credit: (QS)
Laura Bridgestock - Editor
It's normal to have doubts – about whether you chose the right course, whether you'll cope academically, or what you'll do after graduation. But don't let a lack of self-confidence hold you back from participating fully in university life. If you really do think you've made the wrong choice, speak to a tutor or student advisor. But if you're just feeling generally anxious, stop worrying and get stuck in! You're just as brilliant/creative/interesting/potential-packed as your classmates, so don't limit yourself. Push yourself to try something new every week, whether it's speaking up in a lecture, joining a student society or getting involved in a local organisation. Embrace every challenge, and practise seeing stressful situations as opportunities for growth. Get used to living on the edge of your comfort zone, and you'll develop much faster in all directions.
Read more from Laura
4. Give yourself time before you sign a contract.
credit: Unipol
Nicola Brown - Assistant Chief Executive
So you've only just moved in and you are already being asked to decide where you want to live next year. This is a common issue for students up and down the country and at Unipol we hope to provide you with some tips to avoid the pitfalls of letting too early. Most cities do now have a surplus of accommodation for students but always check with your Students' Union for information on the local housing market. In Leeds, Nottingham and Bradford where Unipol have housing hubs there is a large surplus, which means you don't need to rush. Remember you are making a decision about renting a property with people who you may have only known a couple of months. Who can predict if you will still be best mates or even talking in 6 months' time when you are due to move in together? Give yourselves time and ideally get those first semester exams out the way before you look to sign a contract.
Read more from Unipol
5. You can't gain a degree in your first year - but you can fail one.
credit: Behind The Spin
Richard Bailey - Editor
So don't be too anxious about your grades at first: forget perfection. Instead, treat the first year as 'learning how to learn' and enjoy exploring your chosen subject. There's less spoon-feeding at university so you will need to adapt to a culture that values independent thinking.
Read more from Richard
6. Quite Simply: Do Everything.
credit: The Student Pocket Guide
Jenna Rich - Student Editorial Writer
Ultimately, you go to University to end up with a good degree, of course, but it's important not to forget all the other amazing experiences that Uni life can offer you. It's a chance to explore yourself and find out what you like and who you are. Throw yourself into every opportunity presented to you. Join a society, socialise as much as you can, get a job at the student union, or do an international exchange. Essentially, have as much fun as possible because when you look back at your University years, you'll remember these moments just as fondly as your degree, and get out of it more than just a certificate.
Read more from Jenna
7. Learn to cook (the basics).
credit: Save The Student
Jake Butler - Operations Director
Even if you are a bit of a "Can't Cook, Won't Cook" kind of person it's well worth asking your mum/dad/aunt/friend for a few simple recipes such as spaghetti bolognese. Some dishes are so easy and the majority of the time cheaper than a takeaway. Not to mention the fact that cooking at home is usually healthier too. Once you have the easy dishes mastered you can but food in bulk, cook up large batches and freeze for later. You'll enjoy having more spending money and studying (and hangovers) might even be a bit easier because you're eating healthier.
Read more from Jake
8. A degree is not enough in the competitive graduate market.
credit: Durham University
Chris Davison - Deputy Head/Careers Adviser
To improve your chances of doing what you want to do after your degree (whatever that might be, and even if you don't know what it is yet), start doing things now! Do some voluntary work, identify the skills you've used and record the experience in your CV. Secure work placements and record them in your CV. Join student societies or get involved in student union activities or sports – and put it in your CV. You'll have so much more evidence to showcase your skills and attributes if you do this. A degree is not enough in the competitive graduate market, and it will also help you to learn about yourself and the sort of things you enjoy doing. It will help you to understand what you don't enjoy too – just as important.
Read more from Durham University
9. Our motto is #getinvolved whenever you can.
credit: University of York
Alex Byron - President at Langwith College
Anyone who has completed their first year will tell you this. A good way to do this is to find out what you love doing and running with it. By doing this you'll make friends with those who share the same interests and get an unforgettable experience which you never know may take you. Many in their first years choose to take it easy as you only need a pass most of the time to stay on. However during this time you should be taking every opportunity you can to get involved, whether that be with clubs, societies or sports. Employers also look favourably on any of your experiences whether that be sports, journalism or being able to be elected to a position of responsibility such as a committee or president of a college, student association or students' union like I did. You never know where these experiences will lead you in the future!
Read more from Alex
10. My top tip for freshers is… Enjoy it!
credit: Loughborough University
Jess Excell - Union President at Loughborough Students' Union
Freshers is an incredible experience full of new people in a brand new place, so don't let your week pass you by in a blur of takeaways and lie-ins– let yourself really appreciate the amazing time that you WILL be having! Take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown at you and don't be afraid to try new things. Freshers can be an overwhelming experience, but it is just the beginning of an exciting and brand new chapter in your life. At Loughborough, we always aim to give you the ‘time of your life' so don't miss out on anything.
Read more from Jess

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