Top ten tips for incoming first years
Here is my advice for all you incoming freshers. I hope you find it useful!
❶ Spend time with your flatmates
Firstly, spend as much time as possible in Freshers’ week with your new flatmates. You’re going to meet many people, but it’s important to first get comfortable with the people you’re living with, and to be present when everyone becomes close. Keep your door open when you move in and eat in the kitchen so that you can chat with everyone.
❷ Don’t just focus on your flatmates
However, once you’re comfortable with your flatmates, don’t put all your efforts into just that one group of friends. Even if you get on fantastically in the first few weeks, this will not necessarily last, as you really can’t know people after just a few weeks. There’s nothing wrong with being selective about the friends you choose, as it is often said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
❸ Make a bin rota from the start
This is an important one! Make the rota at the beginning of the year, so that someone is personally responsible if the bins are not taken out. Usually, one or two people end up being the only ones to ever take out the bins, the kitchen becomes disgusting and when they later try to enforce a rota, it doesn’t work, because everyone knows that if they don’t do their job, someone else will. We enforced this in my second year and it worked like a charm, showing that my experiences with maggots and bin juice can be easily avoided!
❹ Don’t be afraid to make the first move
No matter how social you are, it’s always nerve-wracking to approach a stranger and make the first move. Just do it! If you’re at an ice-breaker event, sitting next to someone in a lecture, or standing behind someone in a queue, just say something. Even a simple ‘hi’ goes a long way. However, make sure to do it right at the start, since it often becomes awkward if you hesitate. Throw yourself out of that comfort zone and you’ll be surprised by how much it pays off.
❺ Don’t worry too soon about second year accomodation
Many students rush into booking second-year accommodation, but this is not necessary. By November, people will tell you that they’ve already signed their housing contracts, despite only being at university for a month. Don’t panic! Contrary to what it may seem, the good houses do not go by November! Take your time to really get to know the people you want to live with, and if you can’t think of anyone, don’t worry since there are plenty of options. However, at Warwick it is probably best to book the housing by the end of January.
❻ Turn up
As tempting as it is to stay in your room, just turn up. Show up to the course introductory sessions, so you can get to know people, and attend society events for everything that you’re vaguely interested in. You’ll never know if a society is going to click with you, and you don’t need to pay for membership until you’ve been to a taster event and are sure you like it! Don’t be afraid to show up to anything alone, as it’s actually much easier to make friends when you’re alone. Throughout the year, I recommend showing up to lectures, seminars and problem classes because it’s so easy to fall behind, especially since lectures are usually recorded, and showing up takes a lot less effort than forcing yourself to catch up afterwards. They’re also where many people meet their closest friends.
❼ Be yourself
This is easier said than done, especially since uni is where most people find themselves, but be true to yourself. At university you have a completely clean slate, you can be whoever you want to be. But if you stay true to yourself, you’ll find friends who are best for you. Everyone’s true self comes out eventually, and you might as well spend time with people who like you for who you are. There are thousands of people at uni, so you shouldn’t have to change yourself to fit in with a friendship group, and if you’re not comfortable doing something, don’t do it.
❽ Take care of yourself
Remember, if things become too much, you can say no! Your friends won’t be offended if you don’t come to the odd event, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or down, it’s important to give yourself a break. There’s no point going to too many events if it’s affecting your mental health. Make sure you’re not taking on too much and always keep some time for yourself. Also, be safe. Eat well before nights out, and stay with your friends. If at any point things feel out of control, review your sleep, fitness, diet and lifestyle, as they have a major impact on your mood and energy. Keep up the things that make you happy!
There’s no limit to how much you can plan, but it’s essential to make a rough budget, so that you don’t run out of money, and to have a calendar, so that you stay on top of lectures, seminars and deadlines. It’s also a good idea to store emergency food, like pasta, for if you run out, so you don’t end up wasting money on take-aways! If you want to be completely in control of your life, weekly budgets and food plans are useful too. I always find that it’s best to start assignments on the day they are set, even if only for a few minutes, because then things are much less likely to be left to the last minute.
❿ Have fun!
Many people say that university is the best time of their lives, and I can certainly see why! Work hard, but play hard too. Many students regret not joining more societies and going to events in their first year, so throw yourself in there! Although it does help, you don’t need to be super organised or prepared. It’s all a learning experience and, regardless of how much preparation you’ve done, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.
If you have any more advice, feel free to comment below!