Advice From Graduates That Will Make Freshers' Week Less Terrifying
I asked BuzzFeed's UK editorial team: "What is the one thing you wish you'd known as a fresher?"
1. "Ditch your boyfriend/girlfriend from school if you know in your heart of hearts it won't last. It's nice to be single and start afresh at uni."
2. "It might feel like everybody is smarter than you, but they're probably just better at expressing themselves in this kind of environment. You'll figure it out soon."
3. "It's your chance to throw yourself into a society, a new group, and completely reinvent yourself. I didn't do this for most of my first year, and it was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life."
4. "Don't make friends with the first person you meet, because they are always a weirdo. I ended up hitchhiking with one guy and you never want to realise someone is not only lacking in character but might be a borderline psychopath at 4am stranded at a French service station."
5. "It's neither guaranteed nor required that you have a good time. If you're not into ~partying~ all the time, it's fine: Focus on other stuff, like societies or actually doing your work."
6. "If you find yourself playing Never Have I Ever, don't lie, because the people you're playing with will soon be your friends and then you will have a weird lie to keep up for no good reason."
7. "You can get condoms for free from STI clinics and hospitals. Yay, no freshers' babies."
8. "It doesn't matter if you're not having fun. There's this idea that freshers' week is supposed to be the BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE, but I hated it – I felt pretty lonely and I figured I must be the only one having a shit time. I didn't find uni 'fun' until the third year, when people calmed down a bit and I made friends with people who liked the same things as me."
9. "If you feel weird, low, or crap, don't just assume it's normal or hope it goes away, go and chat to your student counselling service. That's what they're there for. Also, don't go on that pub crawl, you'll just walk into a lamp post, then get lost and end up crying in a bus shelter about two minutes from the halls of residence you can't find."
10. "Don't just assume that your flatmates will be your best friends for life. If it turns out that way then great, but uni is where you find people who are ~just like you~, so put yourself out there and dig a little deeper."
11. "Not everybody is lucky enough to get flatmates they love and get on with, so if you don't, try to socialise outside of your flat or join a society. Also, don't go to uni with a boyfriend. Just don't."
12. "If you're locking yourself in your room, not getting out of bed, and not talking to anyone for days on end, you should probably see a student counsellor or something (lol freshers' week bants). And go to your lectures and seminars, because participation grades are a real thing."
13. "It's totally normal to feel isolated and a bit scared. This is the start of your adult life, and you're probably not a responsible adult yet. When you feel like that, remember there are probably hundreds of people who feel the same, and even those 'life and soul of the party' douchebags phone home at least once a week to cry about how they've run out of baked beans and don't know how to use a toaster."
14. "Stop eating drunk McDonald's and fry-ups for breakfast. Look after yourself and eat vegetables, for god's sake. And break up with your terrible sixth-form boyfriend before freshers'."
15. "Budget. Get wasted before you go out. I burnt £1,000 in three weeks and I didn't get it back to £0 in my overdraft until two years after I graduated."
16. "You probably don't know who you are or who you want to be yet. There's nothing wrong with deciding that this is your chance to be the rugby lad/urban hippy/New Wave philosopher in a turtleneck and beret that you've always wanted to be, but you'll probably regret it and realise it wasn't what you wanted. Experiment. Also, you can steal all your condiments from Wetherspoon's."
17. "If you're not having the most amazing time, don't make yourself feel worse. Just get through it, challenge yourself to go to at least some of the parties (even if you're super scared), and reward yourself by reading a book in bed the entire weekend. Also, people lie on Facebook, and just because they're running round dressing like Smurfs doesn't mean they're having better or more valuable experiences than you. I fucking hated freshers' week."
18. "Don't take on so many hours in your shit part-time jobs/internships that you end up missing lectures. Also, freshers' week will almost always be an anticlimax and you will end up avoiding most of the people you met there for the remaining 2.5 years."
19. "You should appreciate the wise words of the Long Blondes, who were played without fail at every single indie disco in my first year: 'You're only 19 for god's sake / You don't need a boyfriend' (or girlfriend). It's true. You're young. You fucking don't. If you genuinely fall for someone, great, but relationships can wait until they make you pay council tax. Just enjoy yourself, don't worry, and don't hurry into things."
20. "People who are a 'Big Name on Campus' (BNOC) invariably don't turn out to be Big Names in Real Life. Don't be intimidated by them. They're just people, and you're in the same university as them on merit. And if you do end up being a BNOC, don't let it go to your head – you are in for a hell of a shock when you leave uni, and no one knows or cares who or what you were when you were a student. All the social politics of uni do not matter on the other side."
21. "It's not a good idea to get drunk and leave your living room doors wide open all night, because other students will find it funny to egg the entire lounge from the hall. And you won't get your deposit back. And don't do it again two weeks later and get egged again."
22. "Sign up to every single society that interests you and go to them all once (yes, I was a nerd). You'll meet loads of fun people and you'll make friends outside your dorms, course, and year. Oh yes, and don't go off and intern with BuzzFeed for three weeks and leave your bedroom door unlocked. People will leave all their beer bottles in your room."
23. "Chances are you're going to meet plenty of people who seem much smarter, cooler, and more sophisticated than you or anyone you went to school with. Don't panic. Your instinct will be to imitate them, and if they accept you as one of their own you'll soon realise there is no such thing as a smart, cool, or sophisticated 18-year-old. You're all slippery, hour-old foals staggering down the same muddy slope into adulthood."
24. "You have three whole years to take drugs, get drunk, and get fucked by strangers. There's no need to cram it all in at once."
25. "Call your mum."