In the post A Level results day haze of last summer my Google Search History showed only one type of thing. “What to do in Freshers”, “How to have the best Freshers Week ever”, “Top 50 things you shouldn’t forget to do in Freshers Week”. I was obsessed. After all, you only really get one ‘freshers week’ don’t you, and with every elderly relative and their cat telling me this was going to be the best time of my life I was not going to get this wrong! But, in the run up to the golden hour of ‘freshers week’, there can be a lot that you can forget to do! From the mundane to the obscure I have scoured the internet, consulted school friends and flatmates and even asked my Mum to find the top 10 things you should do before you even put one foot out the door.
1. Audit your clothes, especially your pants. If you’ve ever felt that you don’t like the clothes you’re wearing, now is probably the best time to do something about it. I’m not suggesting a whole new wardrobe, (alongside textbooks you’d be broke in 3 seconds flat,) but having a seriously good chuck out is no bad thing! For me, the first thing to go was my extensive collection of shapeless T-Shirts I had collected over the years thanks to reaching optimum height in year 8. For some reason fuchsia T-Shirts 3 sizes too big from the M&S classics range didn’t feel like they’d cut it at Starfields. Another thing to consider is your collection of pants and socks. Its worth bearing in mind that you’ll be washing communally and some of the seriously holey pairs you have lying in the back of the drawer may need updating. However, I wouldn’t recommend stocking up on piles of frilly French lace. The dryers in your new hall of residence will eat them and they will quickly be relegated to the back of the drawer. I did promise at the start of this we’d cover ground which no Freshers article has covered before and here you go. Trust me, those dryers are a menace.
2. Have a big get together with your friends before the school term starts. I know that it’s nice to think right now that in a few weeks time you’ll be jetting across the country to visit pals in different places, but the reality is that once the work kicks in and events start happening you won’t have as much time as you think! Plus, with St Andrews’ helpful lack of a train station you may find that those friends who promised to nip up and see you may have second thoughts. That’s not to say that you won’t all still be best mates come Christmas, it just means the group chat may have to rule supreme! To avoid friendship blues a big party or family style meal allows you all to have one last hurrah before going on this next adventure.
3. Hit the charity shops! Because St Andrews is so small we compensate for clubs with lots of pubs and fancy balls. Whilst you can wear whatever to the pub you may find yourself in need of some slightly fancier formal wear. Most of my ball gowns have been less than £10 in charity shops so I would always recommend starting your search there! I include the point about formal wear specifically because my boyfriend found himself without a suit the day before Christmas Ball. Luckily, Next do next day delivery. Unluckily they don’t deliver to halls! A big thank you goes to our friend’s, friend’s, girlfriend in the year above who received his suit for him at less than 24 hours notice!
4. Create a comfort box. I love this tip my alumni friend suggested, no matter how awesome St Andrews is there will always be a time when you need some home comforts. Consider filling a small shoe box with some calming tea, pictures from home, some fluffy socks and your favourite movie. Come essay season you’ll just need to reach under your bed or in your wardrobe for a quick hug from home. If you do find yourself feeling down or lonely at Uni we have loads of great places to seek help, from Student Services to our award-winning Nightline, St Andrews has loads of people you can reach out too. You can also check out Populus, St Andrews’ student-led charity focused on combating loneliness.
5. Prep your immune system. Getting sick is unlikely to be on your list of concerns when starting Uni, but you’ll be thinking differently when that Fresher’s Flu hits! Get one step ahead of the virus by stocking up on vitamins and cold and flu tablets. If you can get yourself fighting fit before you leave, you’ll hopefully have an easier time!
6. Learn a few simple dishes. Even if you’re living in somewhere like Sallies that’s fully catered you should definitely practice your cooking skills before leaving home. You won’t be fed at weekends and the ability to whip up something tasty won’t exactly lose you friends! I recommend something classic that will feed lots of people quickly! A spaghetti Bolognese is always a good place to start.
7. Buy a doorstop. One way to meet people early on in Freshers is to keep your door propped open whilst you’re in. For some people the idea of knocking on a closed door is daunting and you may find people feel freer to pop in and say hello if your door is literally open!
8. Chat to people online. Make the most of the online community. You don’t have to be posting a full-blown bio if that’s not you but joining your hall group chat is a great way to get a lay of the land. Plus, it’s a good place to find out what other people are bringing and to check last minute odds and ends!
9. Take a family photo. Just like with your friends you may find leaving behind family harder than expected. Just before I came to Uni I realised that my family didn’t have a single photo with all six of us in it that wasn’t ten years old! Taking a new family photo has been a nice piece of comfort from home and could go in your comfort box!
10. Check your vaccinations. This last one may seem boring but its important to have your vaccination record to hand when it comes to registering for a Doctor! A bonus to this is that your Doctor may point out something you’re not up to date on and you can make sure you’re well protected heading into this new chapter! This list may seem short… but trust me, with only two weeks to go time will fly by and before you know it you’ll be heading into the Bubble for the first time! For more advice and tips tune into STAR FM during Freshers Week where we’ll have ‘give it a go’ sessions and advice shows running all week!