It’s a moment of new beginnings, surroundings and faces. And, hey, isn’t it weird to have those slightly shaky butterflies tease your stomach once again, reminiscent of a time when you held your mother’s hand at the tall, dark gates of your former primary school? Get ready Freshers!
Making the leap from school to university can be just as scary and exciting. You’re on your own this time, with no-one to push you but yourself in a world where everything is unfamiliar.
Traditionally, Freshers Week at universities in the UK are very drink-heavy, which doesn’t work if you’re a Muslim or simply dislike alcohol! But figures show there was a 40% increase in teetotal students between 2005 and 2013.
So we wanted to put a few tips together to help you enter your first year with ease:
1. Head over to the Freshers Fair
Seems obvious! But the coolest thing about making the effort to visit stalls at the Freshers Fair is the chance to speak to students who know the ropes. They can share their insights into the realities of student life and help you make the most of it. (Plus, think of the freebies!)
2. Surprise yourself
Now is the time to awaken new passions. Take the nice line you scribbled over the summer and turn it into a poem. Enjoyed martial arts on TV? Here’s your chance to try it yourself. Do you find yourself analysing films in your head. Time to do it out loud. Now is your chance to be brave and join a student society to develop your interests – you won’t regret it. And you can always choose your level of involvement or opt out if it’s not for you.
3. Get to know the location
Master your campus, inside and out. This will open up a whole range of opportunities for you to enjoy your leisure time and make new friends. Figure out where the cafes and canteens are, where events take place, and what kind of restaurants, museums and theatres are in the area.
4. Don’t waste those precious hours
We don’t mean this in an angry “get back to your books” sort of way. But you do have the power to really make an impact alongside your studies. This could be through a local volunteering opportunity, a big fundraising drive that is being led by your Students’ Union or a chance to support fellow students in need of extra help. Don’t forget the words of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) who said: “Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age; your health before your sickness; your wealth before your poverty; your free-time before your preoccupation; and your life before your death.”
5. Learning and laughing together
Events, events, events. The best thing about being at university is being able to exchange ideas with other students and professionals all over town. There are loads of debates, panels and annual lectures allowing you to explore interests in nearby intellectual centres. Or why not head to a local cultural hub like Southbank Centre or Rich Mix in London and Phoenix Square in Leicester. There’ll be something similar wherever you are. You’ll be able to feed your existing passions and explore new horizons. Wander round a sculpture exhibition or watch a silent movie. Try a bit of everything!
In the words of Aladdin, It’s a whole new world, with so many possibilities. Enjoy it!