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Party, party, party, party, party and party?

Not quite.

There is more to Freshers’ Week than hedonism - much more.

Here’s our checklist for making sure your college journey starts out smoothly.

Unpack and Get Settled in Your Accommodation

The sooner you set up your new living space, the better.

You’ll need to do it at some point anyway, and if you put your own stamp on it straight away, you’re more likely to feel at home. Which is vital for putting you in the right headspace to start college.

Get those sentimental bits and pieces from home out and dotted around your room. The prized teddy bear(s), your favourite books, some photos, your Gryffindor scarf - the kind of items that will comfort you.

Register, and Get Your Student ID and Timetable

As un-fun as it might be, there are some general admin tasks you need to make sure you complete during Freshers’.

You may need to register yourself and attend an induction (this will depend on which institution you’re studying at), and you’ll definitely need to pick up your ID and make sure you’ve got your timetable.

Once the lectures, seminars and everything else get underway, you’ll be glad you made the effort to organise everything at the outset. Like most ‘important’ yet boring jobs, it’s incredibly tempting to put these off - but get them out the way and you’re freeeeeeee to do what you want to do… (Sorry.)

Join a Club or Society

There are two main benefits to this:

  1. It’ll introduce you to like-minded people whom you would otherwise not come across - increasing your chances of making meaningful friendships.

  2. It’ll give you something fun and enriching to do in your downtime. College isn’t only about academic endeavours; it’s about pursuing your passions and ‘discovering yourself’, as corny as that sounds.

Whether you want to join a book club, go on regular hikes in the countryside, attend weekly pub quizzes or practise yoga and mindfulness, you’ll more than likely find a society for it.

There are also more ‘serious’ societies where you can get together with others and discuss (or debate) issues such as politics and the environment.

Some societies are about education as well as celebration. So, if there’s a topic or a culture you want to learn more about, joining a society dedicated to it is a perfect way to get schooled up. For example, at Trinity College Dublin, there’s the Astrology Society, the Modern Languages Society and plenty more. At University College Cork, there’s the Archaeology Society, the Criminology Society and so on.

You can get ahead of the game by googling your college’s societies now - you should find a website or at least a page that lists them all - or just wait till you get there and see what takes your fancy!

Explore the Campus, and Discover the City

As you probably know, Freshers’ Week is also known as ‘Orientation Week’ - i.e. the time to get your bearings.

During this time, you won’t actually have that much to do, so you may as well take the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the college grounds and the city where you’ll be spending a lot of your leisure time.

Mastering campus navigation is especially important if you’re easily flustered or embarrassed: you don’t want to be the one who traipses into the lecture hall or the seminar room late, do you? As soon as you get your timetable, you can go and find the various places you’ll need to be - and then once the semester starts for real, you’ll know your way around like a second- or third-year.

Chat to Your Flatmates and Coursemates

If you’re an outgoing sort of person, you’ll more than likely do this automatically.

But if you’re a bit more introverted or reserved - which many people are, and which is absolutely fine! - you may be reluctant to start talking to these strangers.

However, they aren’t going to be strangers for long, whether you like it or not. You’re going to be living with some and studying alongside others, so making the effort early on is well worth it.

Plus, remember that you’re all in the same boat here, all feeling excited and anxious, and maybe a little homesick. Socialising can help you settle in and make you feel less alone - which can only be a good thing.

Get Plenty of Rest and Look After Yourself

The stereotypical Freshers’ Week is about getting a little lairy and burning the candle at both ends.

But you can spend the week however you want to. And besides, modern student life is about more than getting wasted - in fact, many students are drinking far more moderately than their predecessors, and some students aren’t drinking at all.

Whether you decide to go out partying during Freshers’ Week or not, be sure to take care of yourself. Get some nutritious food in, have some wholesome fun, maybe even get some exercise if you’re that way inclined - and, of course, make sure you get enough sleep.

Uninest: Helping You Make the Most of College Life

Whatever you’re studying and whatever you’re into, college will be a blast. This is your time, so make the most of it.

We’re always publishing new advice and tips on all aspects of student life, so make sure you check our blog regularly

Speaking of which, here’s your next piece of reading: How to Make the Most of Your First Year at College

Enjoy, and good luck!