Blurred image of a group of students walking in the Autumn

You may have heard would-be uni goers discussing Freshers’ week for years now and what carnage goes on, and secretly wonder what the hell it is. Well, here’s your chance to learn all about it. 

Freshers’ week is the first week of uni for all newbies (known as Freshers) and happens the week before classes start so it offers the opportunity to settle in and introduce you to university life. It’s primarily known for being the time when everyone gets too drunk and if you can’t remember anything that happened that week that’s meant to be a good thing. 

Universities put on a number of different social events, such as pub crawls, pub quizzes, fancy dress nights, balls and discos, while there are also a lot of non-drinking activities such as paint balling, ice skating and bbqs so you get to meet people in your halls and in the university. 

However, there’s a lot more than just partying. There will generally be a Freshers’ fair, which is where all the clubs and societies available at your university congregate and show off what they do and how you can join them. You’ll find everything from the quidditch team to hill walking to a cappella singing, and definitely something to suit your personality. It’s the chance to continue with something you’ve done before (and meet people with the same interests) or to try something totally new.

It will also be the first chance you get to meet people in your halls of residence, and you’ll meet more names and faces than you remember and even forget what day it is. 

University students playing table tennis in student halls

Moberly House at the University of Exeter. Image Credit: James Ram/flickr

What you should do during Freshers’ week?

Decorate your room 

In the midst of uni you won’t have a chance to sort your room out so organise it as soon as possible. Pack and unpack, make your room your own (universities often have poster sales) and remember to bring some mementos to help you remember those at home. Put away your boxes and suitcases and get your bedding in order.

Sort your admin out 

There’s plenty to do in your first week and admin is high on the list. Register with the doctor, register with the university, find out where your lectures are going to be and when they are, open a student bank account if you haven’t done so already, and register for classes. You might also have a meeting with some of your course staff, for example your personal tutor, who will introduce you to your course and be a friendly face if you ever find university tough going over your three years. As watching iPlayer means getting a TV licence nowadays, get one bought, and if you need to insure your belongings (check with your university as to their contents policy before you buy anything) take this out in the first week. 

Join some societies

The Freshers’ Fair gives you the chance to participate in your current hobbies or try something new. Most societies ask you to pay upfront to be a member, however our advice would be to join a couple, perhaps those you know you are going to definitely do throughout the year, and try out a couple more. You don’t want to go crazy and join everything in sight as it’s just a way to never recoup your costs as you’ll never turn up to everything you’ve signed up for!

Get a shop in

You are unlikely to be‘at a loose end during Freshers’ week, however once you’ve got yourself sorted you may want to get a shop in. This might include any toiletries you might need, any stable foods you might need, such as rice, pasta, tea and coffee, as well as food for the week. You might also find that your kitchen is missing something, such as a toaster, which you might want to invest in, and it’s also a good excuse to find out where the nearest supermarket is and what you can get from there. 

Explore the town and campus

It’s always fun to explore new places and your first week is a great time to meander about those streets. You might also want to have a go on the public transport, especially a route home, in case you find you've been walking too long and need a bus home without the hassle of having to understand how it works and where it's going. You’ll find shortcuts and alleyways, and hopefully a new cafe or pub to spend the next three years nursing a drink in.