Things I Learnt as a Fresher

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We have asked some wonderful ex-freshers to share the advice they wish they had known during their time as a fresher, and here are some of their top tips on how to survive your first year at Southampton University. They’ve made the mistakes so that you don’t have to!

  1. Know when each club has their student night, and avoid a weekend sesh: Going to the right club on the right night is key to saving money at uni. Student drink prices will be the difference between affording your weekly food shop and starvation. As expected, drink prices double at the weekend, so choose your night out wisely: Monday – Jesters, Tuesday – Sobar, Wednesday – Oceana, Thursday – Café Parfait, Friday – Switch… you’ll thank me later.
  2. Get the right bus: Living in halls you are blessed with a free bus pass, but getting the right bus is important to avoid accidentally ending up on a trip to the docks or the airport! (Also – they have USB charging ports for your phone so don’t forget your charger!)
  3. Societies create a balanced, happy university life: Whether it be a sport, immersing yourself in media, or joining in on an evening of card games. By indulging in a broad, diverse range of activities at university it will not only help to combat stress, fatigue and boredom, but also reward you with some amazing friends, fantastic experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. And hangovers. Plenty of hangovers.
  4. Church Lane is an abomination: It’d be a life-changing experience on a sled in the snow, but unfortunately, Church Lane is usually associated with the endless, upward gradient of pain, misery and mental devastation (especially when drunk or hungover). Take it one step at a time, have a bottle of water handy, and try very hard not to think about your 9am lecture being the only reward for passing this challenge. May the odds be ever in your favour.
  5. First year DOES count! It’s been drummed into you ever since A-Levels; the first year of university doesn’t matter. Incorrect. Sorry. Whilst it’s completely true that your marks won’t count towards your overall degree, getting into good practice with your studies before it’s too late is essential, and the sooner you strike a balance between work and play the quicker it’ll be reflected in your results.
  6. Try and avoid Freshers Flu: Eat proper meals, keep your kitchen surfaces and utensils clean, and try not to freeze to death on every night out… but let’s be honest, it’s inevitable you’ll get ill during freshers, even if it’s just a sniffle. So drink plenty of water, try and eat as much fruit and veg as you can and stock up on the lemsip and painkillers… mum and dad won’t be there to look after you this time!
  7. Aldi is a lifesaver: Once you’ve stepped inside the doors of the gloriously cheap haven that is Aldi, you’ll never go back to Sainsbury’s for your weekly shop ever again. It’s worth the extra walk for another few drinks at Oceana, trust me.
  8. Circuit Laundry will break your heart: £5 minimum top up? £2.60 for a wash? Circuit is a heartbreaker.  It’ll take everything you have and claim it’s still not enough.
  9. Don’t buy every textbook on your reading list: I’ve saved so much money from borrowing books from the library or using their e-book versions – some textbooks can be over £50, which is crazy! Just keep renewing the loan date of most books from Hartley Library.
  10. Batch cook! Set aside one day every fortnight where you’ll stay at home and make big pots of soup, chilli, pasta bake, whatever you like eating. Divide it up into tubs and freeze them; as long as you remember to take them out the night before you want to eat them you’ll have home-cooked food ready and waiting for you, and it’s significantly cheaper than buying food on campus or a take away.
  11. Blink and you’ll miss it: First year is likely to be one of the best years of your life; you’ll have new found freedom alongside incredible opportunities as long as you’re willing to take them. But the year will go by quickly and if you don’t make the most of every moment you’ll regret it when second and third year come around, where you won’t have as much free time and will be buried by the pressures of adulting. So go out when you can, try out as many societies as you like, and make the most of what’s new and interesting about university life.
  12. Break out of the student bubble: University life is incredible, with all the social opportunities and student-only events and facilities, but that’s not all there is to Southampton. Don’t be afraid to explore the city and see what it has to offer – there are so many amazing green spaces, like the Common, and loads of events in the city centre. You’re going to be spending at least the next three years of your life here, so get to know where you live!
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Features Editor 2016-18, English Student, aspiring journalist and avid traveller

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