You’ve made it through your Freshers’ Week! It’s probably a ridiculously manic few days, but now you’ve got a couple of days to relax and enjoy your last couple of days before term starts. Here are a few last minute tips and points that I can share with you, as an ex-Fresher, as we bring this A-Z Guide to a close. So sit tight, just a few more to go!
U – Union
Your Student Union is the hub for everything for the students, run by the students – they organise your societies, run your publications and media (hint hint) and look after all your concerns when it comes to your academic lives. The SU building is located on the Concourse on Highfield campus, and is a nice space where you can hang out or work (it’s been done up this summer too!), and it houses the Bridge bar and the Café, as well as Union Films. For special events, it turns into one big club – you’ll get to go for your Freshers’ Ball – and it’s where you can pick up tickets for some of the Freshers’ events.
The Union is also very important when it comes to looking after you all – as well as Student Services, the SU has support for concerns about your studies, and there’s even SUSU Lettings, which can help you sort out housing when you move out of halls.
Make sure you try to go to the SUSU building to see what’s there and discover everything in and around the Concourse.
V – Varsity
Varsity is the huge sports tournament between Southampton and Portsmouth University. Each of Southampton’s main sports teams play Portsmouth’s on the same day in a huge tournament spreading across the campus. Last year, Southampton played at home and smashed Portsmouth overall winning by 204-64 points. This year the tournament is in Portsmouth and we are hoping to do the same again!
It’s in March, so if you’re in a sports team, or thinking about joining one, make sure you find out later in the year how you can get involved.
W – Working
When it comes to money, as I said in my Money post, it’s important to make money where you can as a student, but if you can earn money to give you a little extra cash to spend, then it’s one less thing to worry about – on campus there are loads of part-time jobs you can get on campus, within SUSU, like the Café, the Shop, the Bridge and the Stags, but also for the university itself – just head over to the Student Services Building (37) and ask about what’s available in the Temp Bank.
Of course there’s also plenty of student work available around Southampton, especially in Portswood, but also in the centre of town in West Quay – if you’re keen on working in the catering or retail areas then try to get in as soon as possible once you’ve settled into term, because they’ll be looking for students to take over part-time jobs from mid-September, after lots of their staff have gone to other universities.
It’s not essential to work, as in the end you want to focus on your studies and have a good time, but there’s plenty there if it’s something you’re concerned about.
X – Exercise
Sorry – X is a hard one, ok! Anyway, if you’re a sports buff, love going to the gym 100 times a week (who even are you?) or just like swimming occasionally, Highfield Campus has a lot on offer to keep you fit. As well as the Jubilee Sports Centre, which is one of the biggest of any university in the country, there are also lots of individual activities available. As I mentioned in the Societies post, there are over 90 different sports clubs and societies available, but if you’re not great at team sports and just want to get fit, groups like yoga and Zumba also meet regularly and are pretty cheap compared to what you might have to pay outside university for the same activities. There are more serious options as well – being part of a team and joining societies to stay fit isn’t just about football and rugby – the dance societies, part of the Performing Arts section, are obviously a great way to stay in shape, and have novice groups as well as advanced, so anyone can do them. So don’t be put off joining things if you’re not the most athletic person ever, there’s so much else on offer to keep you fit – even just walking to uni is a start!
Y – YOU!
Yep, I’ve been saying it all the way through, but in the end, your university experience is all about you, and you should be choosing to do classes, societies and extra activities that you want to do, not because you’ve been told to or because your friends are. It’s a little point, but it’s pretty much true the whole way through university, not just in Freshers’ – even if you’re not having as much fun as you’d like, just try to make the most of the experience, and don’t do things you don’t want to do (except go to lecture, I’m afraid you kind of should do them)!
Z – Sleep
Again, sorry. But it’s the end of your first Freshers’ Week, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be feeling a little bit knackered, so by all means make your last two nights of terms mad ones, but equally I’d recommend a little bit of rest and recuperation, before you start having to think about work and deadlines and all those other fun things.
I hope you’ve found these helpful – some of this is definitely stuff I’d have appreciated knowing when I came to university. So make the most of your year, try some things you’ve never done before, and remember: