What to do if you don’t enjoy freshers’ week

Sometimes freshers' week doesn't always go to plan and that’s okay. In fact, there’s a 97.6% chance that it won’t be everything you dreamed it would. So, here's how to deal with all of the sticky situations you might encounter at the start of uni – from being teetotal, to hating your flatmate.

A young woman is reading a book. She is worried about freshers' week. This is a wide-angle image.

I’m teetotal during freshers’ week

Binge drinking for the entirety of freshers’ week seems to be as integral to student life as pot noodles and 2am study sessions. Unfortunately, this means that if you don’t drink alcohol, people might continually ask you why. Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation – a simple ‘no thanks, I don’t drink’ should suffice. But that’s not entirely realistic, so you might wanna have a light explanation prepared just in case. 


At first, people will constantly push you to drink and you’re gonna have to stand firm. Think carefully about how you say no though – insecure people can get defensive if they feel their lifestyle choices are being judged. 

But your uni mates will eventually accept your decision and stop berating you. And they may even enjoy having a friend that can actually remember their nights out for them. And, in the meantime, you can join clubs and societies to build up a social life of booze-free activities. 

To learn more about the alcohol-free lifestyle, see our article about being teetotal

I hate my flatmate and/or living situation 

Who you get stuck with in first year accommodation is literally a complete gamble. Yes, some people get lucky and love their corridor/flat, but it’s also totally 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. But we know that a lack of flatmate bonding can put a downer on your first year or even make you want to give up and go home.


If you think you hate your flatmates as soon as you walk through the door it’s worth at least giving them a few chances before you write them off as arseholes/losers/idiots. Some of the best moments at uni happen when you get to know different kinds of people and learn from them. If, after a few weeks, you still write “I hate my flatmate” in your journal every night, it’s time to contact your university housing agency to see if you can get moved. 

While that’s getting sorted, try to avoid the living room or communal space so you don’t get overwhelmed. Remember, room swaps are really common in the first term but your uni won’t know you’re unhappy unless you tell them.

And if you’re feeling a bit lonely, we have a thriving and friendly online community right here on our site. Plus, we’ve written an article on loneliness here, which may help.

Help! I’m not having the time of my life

There’s huge pressure for uni to be the best years of your life and freshers’ week is meant to be the start of that awesomeness. But what if you’re not having that great a time? The people you’ve met are…OK, but nothing compared to your mates back home. And your nights out are just plain awkward. You might end up feeling guilt-ridden that you’re not enjoying the thing that you’re supposed to.


Fun can’t be forced. Plain and simple. Honestly, the pressure to have the time of your life could very well be the reason you’re not. It’s actually normal to feel more overwhelmed than excited during this chapter of your life. Most new students feel the same, they just cover it up. 

So don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself some time to settle with new people, new places and your new life. And, we know it’s difficult, but 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 even realise it.

Gap year blues

It’s hard to come back to student life after a year of being out in the real world. University is another big adventure but it can sometimes be tainted by post-gap year blues. It’s disheartening telling your new uni friends your travel or work stories only to see their eyes glaze over. Plus, they just can’t relate to the harsh realities of making it on your own. 


A simple cheer-up is to go out and get some sunshine (when it appears) and fresh air. Join societies and clubs or sign up for volunteering opportunities where you’re likely to meet like-minded people to swap travel, volunteering and/or work stories with. And, we hate to burst your bubble, but your gap-year shouldn’t be the only thing you talk about. Make sure to use anecdotes from the rest of your life – even what happened just yesterday.

I spent freshers’ week drunk and got 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. Will you 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. That way your new-found friends can get to know the sober you a.k.a the REAL you. If you have a week or so without drunken mishaps, people will start to focus on the next major fuck-up and yours will become old news. Plus if anyone tries to comment on your sex life, tell them it’s none of their business, and you’re a sexually liberated human being thanks.

Just as a side-note- we’re gonna play parent here and ask – if you’ve had some drunken one-night stands, is there a chance they weren’t safe? To make sure you’re all good, go to the university health service to get some emergency contraception and an STI test. Your freshers’ behaviour will probably become a funny, distant memory. But an unwanted pregnancy or STI might not be as easy to laugh at.

Next Steps



By Holly Bourne

Updated on 10-May-2022