I’m going to be honest – I was really nervous when Freshers Week finally approached. I didn’t know what to expect, I was both incredibly excited and horribly nervous. At first I thought this was quite unique to my own situation, that I must be the only one that felt that way because everyone else seemed smarter, funnier and generally more at ease. It wasn’t that they actually were smarter or funnier than I am but instead that we were all putting one the same act, and it wasn’t until I made great, like-minded friends, that I realised that everyone else felt more or less the same as I did when we started university.
Freshers Week is a lot to take in but this doesn’t mean it’s bad! Instead there are a few things that you can do to take a bit of of the nerves, stress and worries off the table. Here are my top tips based on what I learnt from my Freshers Week back in 2012!
1. Get involved! The single best piece of advice I got before starting university was to give every opportunity that is presented to you a go. It’ll give you the chance to find like-minded, interesting people and it’ll put your mind off any thoughts of home, worries about yourself or others and make you feel a little more comfortable in your new environment. By immersing yourself in everything you will give yourself an excellent opportunity to find out what you like. There is absolutely no harm in trying something once and realising it’s not for you!
2. Be safe. For some people coming to Edinburgh will mean that you will be experiencing and living in a completely new city – both during the day and at night. Please remember to be safe! Stick with a group of people when you’re out. Drink alcohol sensibly. Be aware of your surroundings and if you ever feel uncomfortable, remember that it is totally okay to leave and try something else or go home for some peace and quiet.
3. Don’t over think things. You are meant to be here! Freshers Week isn’t a reflection of what the rest of your 1st year or the rest of your university life will be like. In my opinion, you should treat it purely as an induction process, a chance to meet new people and get on your feet. You’ll soon work out your real university routine , especially once you start your 1st week of teaching. Your university experience is what you make of it and there are plenty of staff members and older students who will be more than happy to help you if you need it. You can always rely on your SSO or Personal Tutor!
4. Look after each other. Not everyone is outgoing and not everyone is shy but everyone SHOULD look out for each other. Some people will find it harder than others to get involved in things, ask questions or even introduce themselves. Be sure to make everyone feel welcome, invite all of your flatmates or classmates out when you do things – you never know, they could end up being a really great friend. The best thing to do is introduce yourself to everyone, even if that is a bit of a scary thought. Once you get over that initial hurdle, things tend to be a bit smoother!
5. Look after yourself! It’s okay to miss home and it is more than okay to be a little worried when you start university. Please give yourself a break and look after yourself! Whether that is treating yourself to a lovely meal, popping home to see your parents or relaxing in front of a good TV show. It is extremely important to have a good work/life balance. If you ever need help, please reach out and talk to us. Whether that be your SSO, Personal Tutor or someone at the Advice Place or Counselling Service.
6. Go to introductory meetings. Most of the questions you have during Freshers Week about your academic life within the School of Social and Political Science will be answered within the SSPS Welcome Talk and your subject area welcome talk. These are extremely important as they give you most of the information you will need as you go on to start your journey with us. I found myself feeling much more comfortable after I had been to these meetings and even met a few of my good friends at my International Relations welcome talk. You might even get a chance to meet me if you pop along!
For all of the Undergraduate events that the School of Social and Political Science is holding during Freshers Week please see here. In advance, welcome to Edinburgh, we are so incredibly lucky to have you as part of the SSPS family!