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Starting University can be a daunting and often terrifying time, especially if this is your first time living away from home. But like any problem there is always a solution… get stuck in! University is the experience that you make it and it is up to you how your new life pans out.
Surviving Freshers’ Week
Freshers’ Week I’m sure needs no introduction. However, the primary purpose of the infamous Freshers’ Week is to register students on their courses, to allow you time to settle into your new living environment and to receive introductory speeches from as many people that the University can physically arrange. And yes, you do need attend all these things. Luckily, at Lancaster University, each flat is allocated a kitchen rep to take care of all the boring stuff whilst you can fully focus on the difficult and more important decisions at hand from sorting out how to fashion a toga out of your new bed sheet to how to turn the oven on.
Your kitchen rep (please ignore the boring title) will provide fantastic support and have been put through an interview process to ensure that they are the right people for the job. They will be with you every step of the way, helping you around campus, giving you a tour around the city centre and making sure you are in the right place at the right time as well raising a glass or two to welcome you to university.
Freshers’ week is crammed to the brim with fun and frolics for everyone to join in no matter what your interests are. Despite the drinking legacy extolled on Freshers’ week, Lancaster understands that not everyone wishes to partake in the drinking culture, and that some people’s livers might have took far too much abuse at times and need a night off which is why, throughout the week, there will be a number non-alcoholic activities to enjoy.
Of course, alcoholic nights are in high supply throughout the week giving you plenty of opportunity to socialise and make new friends. Remember, don’t do anything that you may regret later down the line but just have fun as you’re only a fresher once.
Socialising is the key to friendship. Shocking, I know. But there are a few simple things you can do to give you a head start on the friendship front.
- Keep your door propped open when you are in your room. People are more likely to walk into an open room than a closed one.
- Join a society or club. Lancaster University hosts three days of Freshers’ Fair where you can sign up to as many clubs or societies as you want.
- Get to know at least three students in each of your lectures; this will come in handy if you ever miss a lecture.
- Accept as many invitations that come along in the first week as you can, of course within reason.
Making new friends at university can be a daunting prospect but don’t forget that everyone is in the same boat as you so you’re not the odd one out.
Accept the fact that you will be homesick. It’s a natural emotion, and it would be strange if you left home and didn’t feel anything. The best advice to cure homesickness is to keep yourself busy. This may seem difficult when all you want to do is hide under your duvet watching re-runs of Friends but keep your mind distracted.
You will never be able to enjoy the present if your head is stuck in the past. Embrace university life to the fullest and if after a few weeks that homesickness feeling is still lurking around then talk to someone. Do not stifle your feelings as this can often make matters worse.
Finding the balance
Although Fresher’s Week directly focuses on the recreational aspect of university life, it will soon come down to the real reason you are at university, your degree. It may sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in attending your classes, completing your homework, socialising, cooking, relaxing for sixty seconds, eating, sleeping and breathing. However, I’m afraid a busy schedule is no excuse for missing deadlines and you will be penalised.
At university, you will not be given a second chance if you miss an essay submission. Therefore you need to learn to prioritise your time correctly, and believe it or not, with a little bit of organisation you can fit everything in as well as having time for an afternoon nap (a student tradition not to be missed). A great way of staying organised is by writing ‘to do’ lists and scheduling your tasks to make sure you’re on top everything.
What more can I say? University is an incredible experience, and one to take full advantage of. But remember, to stay true to yourself throughout your university life. Lancaster University is a place that nurtures students and guides them towards their goals and aspirations which often resulting in outstanding array of future possibilities and opportunities. So enjoy your experience to the fullest and, along the way, make memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.