What it really means to be a fresher

As with any person who commits themselves to 3 (or 4 or even more) years of academic routine, it is quite normal to have manifested preconceptions about university life.

Perhaps, like me, you spend a lot of time immersed on the internet, reading a plethora of articles which you were reeled in by because of “click bait”. But do not fear, for this blog is unlike any other. Instead of forcing you to laugh at comedic photos of students’ far-fetched hopes of university life versus the grim reality, this blog will endeavour to make you realise that you are in control of making your expectations the reality.

Accommodation

Some university halls or student housing is admittedly bleak and may appear unloved but the best way to make your university feel like your adopted home is by decorating it. If you are not allowed to hang decorations or posters on the walls you can still make the most of pin boards or place picture frames on desks and window sills with photos of your friends, family, or even pets, in order to make your new room more homely.

Just adding fairy lights, tidying up and using some bright colours will improve your university accommodation.

[Photo credit: Alishah Khan]

Messy university accommodation
Tidy university accommodation

Socials

You may find yourself excited to explore your new town or city and enjoy the new-found nightlife. Perhaps you spent your summer (or gap year) going to a range of beach parties and festivals which led to your freshers' week proving bleak and limited in choice. But do not fret - use your student discounts to your advantage and grab a flat mate or friend to take on a day trip somewhere new. Make the most of ‘freebies’ and be sure to search around for bargains before purchasing anything costly. Check out Save the Student.

Lectures

Lectures are an incredible feat to overcome particularly as some freshers may find the comfort of their bed more appealing than the prospect of passing their course. Be sure to attend your lectures – the earlier you get into the routine the better. You gain more than education, too, as it will enable you to meet like-minded people and make diverse friends.

Societies and clubs

If you didn’t attend a societies fayre, check your university’s website for a list of the societies or sports clubs which they have to offer. Again, it enables you to meet new people but also allows you to take a break from your course and engage your mind differently. Try something ridiculous or new, and be brave if you do not know anyone – you are more likely to make new friends if you go alone.

Enjoy

The most important point which can be stressed is to be happy and to feel safe at university. Remember that, even if you are far away from friends or family, your university can provide a professional support network which you are able to use.

By following this as a guide, you may, hopefully, find that your freshers year can become the best year of your life with a combination of education, experience and enjoyment.

Rimshah Khan is a second-year Economics student at Royal Holloway University, London. In her first year Rimshah was active in campaigns with Amnesty, completed a PADI open water diving course, and was awarded 'distinguished delegation' as part of the National Model United Nations in New York. Rimshah is now co-president of the Royal Holloway Blueprint Society for investment and trading and a member of the Pearson Student Advisory Board.

Portrait of Rimshah Khan