When I was a fresher…

Right now, thousands of fresh faced young people are experiencing those first exciting few weeks of university life. For those of us who’ve graduated, it’s fair to say that most of us probably feel more than a hint of jealousy towards these ‘freshers’!\r\n\r\nBut with many people moving to a different city (or even a different country) to study, even if you’ve done your homework, it can be hard to know what to expect.\r\n\r\nSo, we thought we’d talk to some graduates and ask them about their very first week as university students. It’s important to mention here that the first few weeks can be difficult when you’re away from home for the first time.\r\n\r\nIf you’re feeling a little lonely then it can be useful to have a look at the societies and clubs available at your university – this should help you make likeminded friends and gives you something to include on your CV. Universities also have dedicated counselling services which can be very useful for dealing with homesickness.\r\n\r\nTo give you a better idea of how UK ‘freshers’ deal with starting university, we’ve asked two graduates to tell us about their very first week at university. It’s normal to be nervous, but as most graduates will tell you, making friends and settling in comes naturally when everyone’s in the same position!\r\n

“When I arrived it was busy, with hundreds of students and their parents making their way around the quaintly named ‘student village’ that would be our home for the next 9 months. Luckily I felt comfortable right away as our accommodation was perfect for new students – safe, university managed and made up of several ‘halls’. This meant that almost all of your friends and coursemates would be living within the same village – I even had a friend from home in the block five minutes away!\r\n\r\nMy flatmates were lovely and we made friends with others in our block quickly – that’s the great thing about freshers’ week, everyone is more than willing to strike up a conversation. During freshers’ week we didn’t have academic lectures as such, more introductions to our course – now finding lecture theatres was hard! Especially when the fire alarm went off on the first day and around 1,000 new students were milling about wondering where to go!\r\n\r\nWe went out most nights during the first few weeks – however this wasn’t necessarily all about nightclubs and we would also go to the cinema, open mic nights (watching not participating!) and see shows performed by the university’s drama society.”\r\n\r\n\r\nVictoria, Sheffield University graduate


“Moving into university halls was a massive shock to the system. I was really excited, but that moment when everything was unpacked and my parents left me alone was really scary.\r\n\r\nI looked down an empty hallway and wondered what the best thing to do next was. But you don’t have to wait long, everyone’s in the same boat and there were soon people knocking on each other’s doors introducing themselves. You just have to take a deep breath and dive right in!\r\n\r\nGet involved with everything you can and just be yourself. It can be difficult to adjust and everyone does it in their own time, but don’t forget that everyone’s in the same boat and there’s always someone to talk too. You’re never alone.”\r\n\r\nClaire, Manchester University graduate

\r\nHow did you feel when you started your university or English language course? We’d love to hear about your experiences on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to find out more about studying overseas, take a look at out ‘study in’ page for country-specific advice.