Phoebe Williams: “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Freshers”

1) You might not meet your future best friends straightaway.

If you have reached the conclusion of freshers’ week and haven’t found your BFF yet, or don’t feel like you’ve settled in – don’t panic. A lot changes in first year and people don’t always fall into friendship groups immediately. Be patient and open minded; it make take a bit of time but you’ll be hash-tagging ‘squad goals’ before you know it. Similarly, first year halls aren’t necessarily the peak of your social life and you would be surprised how many more people you meet when you move to Lenton.

2) Takeaways will make you gain weight.

No matter how much you tell yourself you have a ‘fast metabolism’, or that your half-hearted gym sessions are actually making a difference, eating cheesy chips with a substantial serving of mayonnaise after every heavy-drinking night out will make you gain weight. So try to go easy on the fast food. Additionally, classic catered halls’ food combinations such as chips and lasagne, repeated on a weekly basis, will not help this issue. However a summer at home with your mum feeding you carrot sticks will easily resolve this, so try not to worry too much about the extra pounds.

3) How to approach the fact first year doesn’t count:

This year, 40% is all you need to sail through to the next step in your degree; any disastrous exams or failed assignments can be forgotten (along with the extra weight you gain) when awarded your final mark in third year. However if you are applying for a second year summer internship, some companies require you to submit your marks so far. In these cases first year is very important, so don’t finish with a 50% average and wonder why a top finance firm hasn’t accepted your application. However appreciate first year while you can, now is not the time to be pushing yourself into stress-induced illness. Before you know it, you and your housemates will be sat silently crying during your twelfth hour straight in Hallward library, desperately trying to finish your dissertation. By all means try hard with your assignments and revise for your exams – but remember this is the most relaxed you are going to feel at university, so don’t burn out two years early.

4) Get involved as much as possible.

Join a university sports team (or a course sports team which usually has all the fun of matches without much training), be a course representative, join a society or even better be on a committee. Just get involved as much as possible. This will come in very handy in later applications and interviews when you can talk about all the wonderful things you’ve done at university, and there is likely to be a society to match your career aspirations (budding journalists look no further than Impact magazine). This is also a great way to meet lots of people outside your hall and expand your social circle.

5) Make the most of every day.

Any time you feel homesick, or fed up with work, or you are sulking because the person you fancy ignored you on a night out, remember graduation comes around very quickly. Before you know it you will be sat at home in your Ocean t-shirt crying over photos from first year, wishing you were going back in September: trust me. So go on that night out, go to that lecture even though you can’t be bothered, go to that careers talk and go to that pre-drinks even though you don’t know many people. Make the most of every day and every opportunity because you will regret it if you don’t.

Phoebe Williams

Image: Blinking Idiot via Flickr

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