17th July 2020

Dear Freshers | The Things Nobody Prepares You For

Opinion pieces are the view of the author and in no way reflects the views of the Liverpool Guild Student Media or Liverpool Guild of Students.

Dear Freshers, my first year at the University of Liverpool has been incredible and I cannot wait to go back. However, not having older siblings or friends already at uni meant that I had no idea what to expect when I started. Here are 5 things that I wasn’t very prepared for, but that after reading this, you will be!

Freshers Week Can Feel Weird

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Freshers week. We all expect the crazy nights out, the consumption of far too much alcohol, and dancing the night away. It’s the daytime that you might not be so prepared for.

At first, your room will probably feel unfamiliar. It may resemble a premier inn hotel room more than your family home bedroom. If you’re at all like me, you might have slept in until the afternoon. By then, it’d be too late to go out and explore, but too early to start getting ready to do it all over again. So, what do you do?

Realistically, if homesickness is going to hit you at all in your first week of uni, it’ll be in these moments. But trust me, the worst thing you can do is sit in your room and suffer in silence! Go to the kitchen, make a few cups of tea, and offer them to whoever’s up. Maybe do a bit of door-knocking (unless it’s 8am)! Just being in the presence of other people will make you realise that you’re all in the same bizarre, but super fun, boat together!

Your Flatmates Do Not Have To Be Your Best Mates

Image Credit: University of Liverpool – Greenbank Student Village Courtyard

Now, I don’t know about you, but I assumed that my flatmates would be exact replicas of myself. That we’d all be so similar. I just couldn’t picture it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, my first-year flatmates were great. But all 7 of us were very, very different.

If you think about it, it’s no wonder that you’re not placed with your “on paper” besties. Take Greenbank for example, my first-year uni accommodation (and the God tier of them all)! It houses over 1,000 students, so what are the chances that the 6 other people in your flat are going to be just like you? They’re quite slim.

You can’t let your initial judgements ruin your uni experience, however. One week is not a very long time to live with people in the grand scheme of things. And once uni starts up properly, you’ll make so many more friends outside of your accommodation as well as within. So sure, you might not feel 100% comfortable at first. But it will get easier. Soon, walking into your uni kitchen will just be like walking into your kitchen at home, and you’ll know everyone inside out.

Societies Are SO Important

The idea of a Freshers Fair may sound a bit cheesy, or a bit daunting, but they’re actually great fun. Friendly, welcoming faces will bombard you with free food, pens, bags and discount codes. But back to the point. Sign up to anything that takes your fancy and you will not regret it.

For example, at my Freshers Fair, I joined the Dance Society and have been a member ever since. It played such a huge part in the friendships that I formed throughout first year, and has set me up for the rest of my university life. I believe societies are the best way to find like-minded people, because of the passion that you share.

If you’re still not convinced, the societies even organise socials for you. This means that if you’re a bit intimidated by the thought of going to a society class or meet-up without knowing anyone, you can go on nights out with people without the awkwardness. It really is that easy!

I challenge you to find me a single person who says that they regret signing up for and going along to a society event. I for one couldn’t name anyone.

You Have Got To Put Yourself Out There

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Up until this point in your life, your friends may have been with you since you were 4, or 11, and you’re probably overthinking how you even go about making friends!

But let me tell you, it wasn’t the excruciatingly awkward experience that I thought that it would be. And this is because every single person is on the same page. Most people will be just as enthusiastic as you are to get to know each other.

Here are a few tips for when it comes to getting to know people outside of your accommodation:

  • Arrive at your lecture early and get chatting to people outside. Just walk straight up to them and introduce yourself. Don’t overthink it! You’ll then have people to sit with during the lecture.
  • If you arrive and people have already gone in, don’t sit on your own! Try and sit next to somebody and get chatting straight away.
  • Ask the people you sit next to if they want to go for lunch or a coffee after the lecture.
  • Swap social media so that you can chat outside of the lectures or arrange to meet up before your next one.

Even if you have the flatmates of dreams, I would advise doing this. It’s always good to know a mix of people from different parts of university life.

You Might Not Have A Clue What’s Going On In Your Lectures (At First)

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Your lecturers will not leave you completely in the dark about what to expect in terms of your degree. For example, I received a fair few introductory lectures outlining the way that things would go.

However, I think it’s fair to say that the style of teaching at university is very different from that of college/sixth form. You may sit there, completely lost, wondering how on earth you’re ever going to be able to submit a piece of coursework. Or how to get books out of the library. Or what referencing even is.

It does take a lot of adjusting to, and a bit of trial and error, but you will get there. Soon enough, you’ll be wondering what it was that you were even afraid of!

Featured Image Credit: Pexels