Freshers’ week freak outs
It's built up to be the best week ever but sometimes freshers' week doesn't always go to plan. Here's how to deal with the tricky – from being teetotal, to hating every single one of your housemates.
I’m a teetotal fresher
Binge drinking is as integral to student life as beans on toast and watching Neighbours twice a day. So if you don’t drink alcohol, you’re probably going to have to explain your decision. Drunken student high-jinks can also be irritating if you’re sober. Stealing a traffic cone? Hilarious and ironic whilst drunk. Juvenile and tiring if you’re teetotalling. Sigh.
Expect that, at first, people will constantly push you to drink and stand firm. It’s also worth preparing an answer to the inevitable question “why don’t you drink?” Tread carefully though – unfortunately, insecure people can get defensive if they feel their lifestyle choices are being judged. Join clubs and societies to build up a social life of booze-free activities. Your uni mates will eventually accept your decision and stop berating you. They may even enjoy having a friend that can actually remember their nights out for them.
See our article about being teetotal
I hate my university halls of residence/flatmates
Who you get stuck with in first year accommodation is quite a lottery. Yes, some people get lucky and love their corridor/flat, but it’s normal to not click with your new roomies. Either they go out too much/little, live like absolute slobs, or just aren’t your kind of people. A lack of flatmate bonding can put a downer on your first year or even make you want to give up and go home.
It’s worth at least giving them a try before you write them off as arseholes/losers/idiots. Sometimes the best part of uni is getting to know different kinds of people and learning from them. Yet if you hate your flatmates so much you’re contemplating stabbing their eyeballs with a fork, it’s time to contact your university housing agency to see if you can get moved. Room swaps are really common in the first term but your uni won’t know you’re unhappy unless you tell them.
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Help! I’m not having the time of my life
There’s huge pressure for your university years to be amazing and freshers’ week is supposedly the cherry-on-top pinnacle of fun. But what if you’re actually not having that great a time? The people you’ve met are…OK, but nothing compared to your mates back home, while your nights out are plain awkward. You can’t help but feel you’re wasting this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for hedonistic pleasure while everyone else is living it up.
Fun can’t be forced. And this pressure to have the time of your life could be the reason you’re not. Remember, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed rather than excited. Most new students feel the same, they just cover it up. Give yourself some time to settle with new people, new places and your new life. Try not to compare everyone and everything to back home. Chances are, things will click one day and you’ll be too busy having fun to analyse whether you’re enjoying yourself enough or not.
Gap year blues
It’s hard to come back to reality after a year of incredible travelling experiences. University is another big adventure but it can sometimes be tarnished by post-travel blues. It’s disheartening telling your new uni friends your travel stories only to see their eyes glaze over. And – admit it – you’re judging them slightly for not travelling themselves. Uni’s OK, but nothing compares to Africa/India/Australia/Thailand. Your misery isn’t helped by the endless drizzle of UK weather either.
A simple cheer-up is to go out and get some sunshine (when it appears) – your body is missing the serotonin hit from living in a hot country. Join societies and clubs or sign up for volunteering opportunities where you’re likely to meet like-minded people to swap travel stories with. Finally, some self-awareness will help here. Your superiority complex won’t make you very popular. Accept that people who haven’t travelled can still be just as interesting – and yes – may find you the dull one.
I spent freshers’ week drunk and now have a bad reputation
Overdid the jelly shots and spent freshers’ week either:
- Shagging an outrageous amount of various randomers?
- Crying hysterically on your new friends’ shoulders about something you can’t remember?
- Projectile vomiting in socially unacceptable places?
Now you’re worried you’ve made a name for yourself for all the wrong reasons and you’ll be known as the serial shagger/cryer/puker for your entire university career.
To start with, it might be worth easing off the juice a little so your new-found friends can get to know the sober you. If you have a week or so without drunken mishaps, people will start to focus on other’s discretions and yours will become old news. If you’ve had some drunken one-night stands, there’s a chance they weren’t safe.
Go to the university health service to get some emergency contraception and an STI test. Your freshers’ behaviour may soon become a distant memory, but an unwanted pregnancy or STI could have more long-term repercussions.
- Looking for a mentor to help boost your knowledge and skills? Find a youth zone close to you.
- Reveal your skills with Define Me and find the right words to tell employers.
- Download Motimator - an app that helps you get the career you want - by giving you a gentle kick up the ass each day when motivation is running low.
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By Holly Bourne
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Photo of sad student by Shutterstock
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