Thirty-One Things I Learnt As A Fresher

  1. Being you is an effective way to make friends. In uni people genuinely don’t care if you have the right bag. Of course there are some idiots who think they’re the coolest people alive. Ignore them. Because the further they get into the freshman year the less friends they have.
  2. You will be asked for facts about yourself. “Interesting” ones. Usually three. Have these prepared.
  3. Being able to cook is a gift. My flatmate set the fire alarm off in the first week and we never really let her live it down.
  4. Friendships develop way more quickly than in high school. By the end of the year you’ll feel as though you’ve known these friends long enough to book yourselves into a nursing home together. They may be some of the best friends you’ve ever had…
  5. But you’re also going to meet some people you wouldn’t mind punching in the face.
  6. Heels aren’t required for every night out ladies (and lads, whatever works for you), so bring nice flats.
  7. You probably won’t find your soul mate in the first week. Or the first year.
  8. Believe it or not most people couldn’t care less how much you do/don’t drink on a night out, or even if you do/don’t drink full stop. So long as you’re still prepared to go on the night out and dance on tables until 2am.
  9. You aren’t going to need everything you brought with you. I sent some of it back the first day, and then the first holiday.
  10. Things you will need include tubs for lunches and leftovers. And earplugs. Lots of earplugs. Because sometimes you want to sleep…
  11. And take a pair to the library. Because there are some bloody noisy eaters in there.
  12. Take tissues everywhere too; uni toilets always have a shortage of toilet roll.
  13. Be ready to have your picture taken for your ID card the day you arrive. That picture lasts for 3 years in my case, and I look like a toilet brush.
  14. Look at where does student discounts. New Look, Pizza Express, Paperchase… Most places will take your student uni card as proof you’re a student, some insist on NUS cards. I never bought an NUS card, and still manage to get discounts regularly.
  15. Get loyalty cards for everywhere. The offers they send through are lifesavers. Waterstones and Boost offer student loyalty cards, which get you better deals. And Boost give you a free birthday smoothie.
  16. Work out your weekly budget, and then keep track of spends per day in a notebook. If you have an event coming up, then put that money to one side straight away.
  17. Buy a diary and keep it organised. I know you can get apps with timetables on, but what happens when there’s no WiFi and you’ve used all of your data? As an English student I also have to keep an eye on what texts I have/haven’t/have yet to read each week, and essays due in. You’ll most definitely need it for social stuff too.
  18. You will most likely be sporting PJs, glasses, wet hair, and spot cream when unknown cool people drop by the flat.
  19. Don’t choose second year flatmates until you really know them.
  20. You’ll probably be sad to see your first year flatmates go.
  21. Fancy dress nights out are fun for less than a week. Because the themes usually involve either very little clothing (against Newcastle temperatures on nights out I didn’t stand a chance), money, or difficult to get hold of items. Wear whatever the hell you want.
  22. The freshman 15 is a real thing, but you can avoid it.
  23. You can get through the first year without ironing at all. Wash your clothes, dry them in a dryer, and hang up to prevent creases.
  24. You will want a decent rucksack and bags for life to carry shopping back to accommodation. You’re a student now. Half price bus passes are a thing of the past.
  25. Never call a lecturer Ms/Miss/Mrs/Mr/Sir. If unsure call them ‘Professor’. They’ll love you forever, instead of looking at you like they need to pat you on the head whenever you answer a question.
  26. The freezer is your new best friend. As are canned beans/fish/dried goods.
  27. Shop assistants will regard you with intense suspicion. I believe they think that you’re going to try and steal something.
  28. Don’t worry if you don’t get homesick. I didn’t, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it if you don’t.
  29. Just because you use the same market stall each week, it doesn’t mean they will remember your name, or greet you with more enthusiasm. Just go wherever what you want is cheapest.
  30. Get to know where you are living now really well. I now know the city centre like the back of my hand and all the shortcuts going. But shortcuts through parks where rogue geese are waddling around aren’t a great idea. We’re not going into that one.
  31. Fresher’s week, believe it or not, probably won’t be the best week of your life. I know people make out it will be, but each and every person I’ve spoken to (and also personal experience) has told me that since Fresher’s there have been multiple better weeks.
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