Everything You Need To Know About Freshers/Orientation Week!
You’ve just said goodbye to your parents, and are watching the car drive away from your new home for the year. You’re officially a university student! But now what? Before you start any classes, you have the excitement of freshers (UK) or orientation (US) week, filled with tons of activities to help you settle into university. And here’s everything you need to know about what will go on…
So what is freshers/orientation week?
“This first week of university really is one of the best times of your life”
Depending on whether you’re in the UK or US for your university, you will have a freshers or orientation week. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: they’re basically the same thing! So lucky for you, this article will prepare you for both. This week is packed with welcome activities, socialising, and getting prepared for university life (it’s not all partying and having fun, and there’s hard work involved too). But this first week of university really is one of the best times of your life, and so much so that even returning students are eager to join in on the activities and live out their ‘fresher’ days again. Let’s find out exactly what you might be doing!
Ugh boring, we know. But you did come to university to study! So obviously, a large part of freshers/orientation week is about getting your timetable, choosing your classes and modules for the term, and learning about the course structure. While this may seem like the less fun part of the week, it is probably the most important. This is where they’ll tell you all the important information that seems tedious now, but that you’ll be scrambling for when it comes to exams at the end of the year. So don’t miss out on this part of it. Plus, it’s a great way to meet your classmates and get to know who you’ll be studying with. If you’re really keen, you could even start making study buddies in preparation for when the work really picks up!
“It’s a great way to meet your classmates and get to know who you’ll be studying with”
Society and sports fairs
The other big part of freshers/orientation week are the sports and society fairs run by your university. Each university will have a plethora of sports teams, academic societies, creative societies, and just those random ones that no one really knows what they do. And if you’re planning on joining any of these, then the welcome fairs are the place to be! Societies are great ways to find like-minded people and make friends. These fairs usually run through the entire week, and different societies in their tents will pitch to entice you to join them. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk to members and learn all about it (after all, university is the place to try something new). So grab a friend and head out to the society fair!
Welcome events and campus tours
As this is likely the first time you’ve lived away from home, and definitely the first time you’re meeting all these new people in a new campus/city, and perhaps in a new country! Your university will offer a series of welcome events to get you used to university life. These could include gym tours, campus safety instructions, and even campus or city tours (especially useful to make sure you don’t get lost getting to your first class)!
“You’ll also have different events with your flat or dorm, to get to know each other”
Aside from the technicals, you’ll also have different events with your flat or dorm, to get to know each other. These could be team building activities like escape rooms or obstacle courses; anything to help you and your new roommates get to know each other! So don’t miss out on these fantastic ways to settle into university life.
The (infamous) partying
While this tends to be more of a highlight in UK freshers week, the first week of university is undoubtedly one in which social activities are a must. These can range from club nights to welcome BBQs. The main idea is that with no classes to attend, no parents to watch over you, and a student loan freshly in your bank account, your main focus for the week is having fun and socialising. But partying isn’t the only way to do this. If you prefer meeting up for a coffee with someone, then that’s the way to go! The most important thing to remember is that while you should push yourself to meet more people, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with (just because everyone else is doing it). This week is supposed to be fun, so go out there and enjoy in whatever way speaks to you!
“Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with”
Tips for a fresher
Now that you know what goes on in freshers/orientation week, here are some tips to make sure you make the most of the week and all it has to offer!
Tip #1 - Push yourself
For all the introverts out there, you know it can be very easy to stay in your room when thrown into a new situation. And the thought of meeting new people in this new place you’re in? Horrifying. But as scary as it may seem, the only way to make new friends and really enjoy your university experience is to push yourself and socialise.
People make some of their best memories during this week, and often this is where friendships are first formed. So don’t miss out on it! Go out there and talk to anyone you can find; you’ll be surprised at how willing people are to make friends (after all, you’re all in the same boat).
Tip #2 - Try not to call home too often
“Calling home whenever you feel mildly homesick will not help”
We know, moving out of home is daunting, and you’ll probably be feeling extremely homesick on your first few nights at university. But our top tip here is try not to call home every time you feel homesick. While it’s always good to call home regularly to let your parents know you’re still alive and not just watching Netflix in bed all day, calling whenever you feel mildly homesick will not help. Instead when you’re feeling lonely, find another fresher and go to one of the welcome events or society fairs. You’ll stop feeling homesick the moment you divert your mind with other activities. Before you know it, you won’t want to leave university!
Tip #3 - Sign up for everything
Ok maybe not everything, but definitely sign up for as many events as you can! Having a full timetable will make sure you don’t have time to sit alone and feel homesick, and will ensure you meet loads of new people. Plus, the more you go around campus the better you’ll get at navigating your way. So sign up for all the events you can find, and immerse yourself in everything your university has to offer. Even something as dull as an event explaining how the library system works is a great way to meet people (and will be immensely helpful when it comes to exam season)! There’s something to be gotten out of every event.
Tip #4 - Don’t skip the academic stuff!
“Start the year on the right foot”
This is probably one of the most important tips that people often forget (or ignore). Don’t let that be you!! While attending a talk on how your course is structured may not seem as enticing as going into town with your new friends, these talks are extremely important, and give you important information that you’ll need throughout the year. So start the year on the right foot, and attend all your assigned academic talks. You’ll be grateful for them once studying really gets well under way!
Tip #5 - Bring some cold medicine to deal with freshers flu!
One of the less enjoyable parts of freshers/orientation week is the infamous ‘freshers flu’. Since you’ll be meeting so many new people coming from all across the world, getting a little ill is unfortunately something that happens to a lot of students. While this is by no means something to worry about, you should be aware of it. Try to stay healthy by eating good food, getting a somewhat regular sleep schedule and maintaining good hygiene. But if you do happen to fall ill, the best cure for freshers flu is lots of fluids and rest. And hey, believe it or not, getting freshers flu with your roommates can actually be a great bonding experience!
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about freshers/orientation week. Don’t forget, this week is all about having a bit of fun before the hard work starts, so make the most of it. If you’re still in high school planning your next steps at university, sign up for a free consultation, or head over to our website to read up on our university edition!