Thursday, 6 September 2012

A Guide to Freshers Week

Most of you will probably know that I'm just about to start my 5th year at St Andrews, which pretty much makes me a Fresher's Week veteran - but although I've done it 4 times already, none of them are quite like the first! My sister, Hannah, is just about to start her university journey too, and all the advice I've been giving her recently has got me thinking of a couple of things I wish I'd known before I went head first into uni life.

My new friends and I bonding at one of the local cafes, after some exploring of St Andrews!

1. Be Yourself - A couple of girls from my school went to the same university as me, and they appeared to take the fresh start as a cue to completely reinvent themselves. For some people this might be great, but for me the most important thing was to just be myself. For once, everyone is in the same situation - all of your fellow first year comrades are as homesick, lost, scared and lonely as you are - and everyone just wants to make friends. The friends you make in the first week might turn out to be your closest friends for the duration of your degree!

2. Get Involved - Don't make the mistake of enjoying all the night-time entertainment your university offers, then being so hungover the next day you can't make it to any of the day-time stuff. There are usually really great talks, sales, fairs and all sorts of other activities that go on during the day - and of course it's a great time to explore your new home and get your bearings.

3. Join Something - This one sort of comes under the wing of getting involved. If there's a sport you've always wanted to try, sign up to the beginners classes! If you think that you'll find like-minded people at the Harry Potter and Gin society (yeah St Andrews has one of those), then go ahead and put your name on the list.... Don't be afraid to sign up for everything and anything that you're interested in. You can always try them out a few times and then narrow down to your favourites after a few weeks. I made the mistake of thinking I had plenty of time to figure out clubs and societies and only joined the sailing club, which I later quit because I hated the style of sailing.

3. Learn your Town - Freshers week is a great opportunity to go exploring around you new home. As much as you don't really want to have to think about lectures and studying just yet - it's a great idea to make sure you know your way to class! I remember being late for my first ever class and missing my second one because I couldn't for the life of me find where I was supposed to be!

4. Sort your Room - Unpacking and fixing up your room, making it look all pretty, are definitely things to do in Freshers week. You don't want to be running late for classes and still rummaging in boxes trying to find something you really need! It is so much easier to study with a tidy environment, so it's a good idea to get everything organised in Freshers week, then you can start the year on a high note.

Some of my friends from halls at the Opening Ball!

5. Buy your Books - Yep, the dreaded reading list... everyone hates it, especially by the end of uni. Books are usually quite expensive, but a lot of universities have second hand book sales during Freshers week. Make sure you've sussed out your reading list and tried to pick up most of them by the end of the week. I'd also recommend that you only buy the compulsory texts, the optional ones can borrowed from the library if you really need them - there's no point in spend all that money on a book you might never read.

6. Call Home - You will be so wrapped up in the crazy whirlwind of Freshers week, that it's entirely possible you'll forget to call home. Chances are your family will be missing you and will be worrying whether their baby is getting along ok in their first week - give them a call and let them know you're having a whale of time!

7. Prepare for Freshers Flu - You'll either get in slap in the middle of Freshers week, or you'll get it the week after. Either way, it's practically inevitable... Stock up on cold and cough medicine while you can!!

That's all I can think of right now - but of course the MOST important thing to remember during Fresher's week is to have fun!!! Good luck if you're just starting out at uni this year! If you're a Fresher's veteran like me, is there any tips you think I've missed? ♥


  1. best of luck for your new year at st andrews! not sure whether you will know my friend stephanie wood? i'm sure that its a massive uni and you wouldnt though lol :) have a great freshers week :D xx

    1. Thanks lovely, I don't think I know your friend - but St Andrews is the weirdest. Smallest and biggest place in the world all at once :D x

  2. Good luck! This list is great! I experienced rummaging through my boxes when I was in freshman year ;)

    I'm having a giveaway on my blog if you're interested :)

    1. Thanks :) Yeah it still took me months to unpacked this time and I'm on my 5th go around! x

  3. #7. so ridiculously inevitable. one person gets sick and the rest just piggyback on the same germs.
    have a great week!

    1. I hate it! Working it a bar makes it so much worse. Alllll the germmms x

  4. Hi Rachael,
    This is a good list.
    #3 is very important. We lived within driving distance to the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri. Parking was scattered and crowded so we needed to know how to find our way to class from many different
    We invested in a Campus map and did ok....but even after 3 weeks a lot of students were having trouble finding the right class at the right time.
    Beautiful pictures. Good Luck!
    Love, Joann xxxx

    1. Thanks :) I remember thinking St Andrews was this crazy confusing town and that I'd never be able to find my way around. Now I know it like the back of my hand and it feels so small! x

  5. Holy crapola Maddy looks different! xo


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