You seldom get the chance to redo a first impression, so consider these great tips to help make your first week a success.
Prepare – Before You Arrive at Uni
Get most of what you need before you start school, but don’t feel pressure to get too much. You can always pick up anything you missed, so long as you have what you need on day one.
Make sure you have a few notebooks and pens (even if you use a laptop or tablet in class) and all of the necessary books. You might decide to pick up the ‘recommended’ books as well, but you’ll not need them right away, so it’s safe to put that off for later.
Set up a student bank account with a branch in a convenient location. You may seldom need to go in to a branch, but when you do, this will make it as painless as possible. Most student account deals are pretty good, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around and make sure yours works well for you. Make sure there are ‘free withdrawal’ machines near your home of school.
We also recommend you tuck an emergency £20 note in your wallet or book bag too, so you’ll have it if you ever need a cab ride or meal and have left your wallet or purse at home.
You should receive welcome emails from your university and/or student association. These often include social media links, so follow the ones that interest you and you won’t miss out on important events and social activities.
The Day of Arrival
Move into your residence as early as possible, to allow some time to settle in and get set up. If you will have a roommate, this also allows you to set things up the way you like them first, and the roommate will be more likely to leave them that way.
You’ll also be able to make some early social connections before the crowds and tight schedules kick into play. Meet as many people as you can, so you increase the chances of connecting with compatible friends right away.
Home sickness will probably rear its weepy head at some point, and having a comfortable, safe space will help you to weather it and keep yourself together through the tough times.
Don’t be shy about using support services, like student ambassadors or welcome groups. Attend special events designed to give information and support to freshers. It will help to give you a solid start.
Enjoying Freshers Week
Learn the area. Start right outside your room, locating laundry facilities, social areas, toilets, parking and public transit stops.
From there, check out the local supermarkets and grocery stores, pharmacies (you won’t want to look around for the best one once you’re already ill), and A&E facilities. You may never need emergency help, but it’s a wise idea to know where to find the local police or security support too.
Scout out the lecture halls, taking note of how long it takes to get there, so you aren’t late (or super early) on your first day.
You should also work out a budget. Start by listing your needs and wants from most important to least. Then mark down your total amount of money available each month (or better yet, each week). Start at the most important item and work down the list, until you run out of money or items. That’s your budget. Stick to it. If you get extra money at some point – a cash birthday present, maybe – then you can spend that however you like, but keep that budget like it’s the law.
Student loans are sometimes delayed, so have a backup plan in place in case funds don’t come as expected.
Your flatmates might not turn out to be your close friends – you may not even hang out with them much – but work hard to keep a good relationship going there. Little feels worse than stress and conflict in the place that’s supposed to be for rest and study. Keep relationships in good shape at home and you’ll have a haven to retreat to when studies are difficult, relationships fail, or you’re feeling homesick. A big part of this is contributing to keeping the common areas clean and tidy – and of course paying your share of the bills.
Keep yourself clean and smelling good. You don’t need to bathe in cologne or perfume, but regular showers and laundry will keep you presentable and will avoid conflict. After all, your flatmates also use the flat as a safe place to study and relax – poor hygiene in a flatmate can make that difficult.
Eat well. There’s no need to get extreme about it, but eating junk food will affect your concentration levels and your overall health, so make sure you get plenty of fruit and veg, lots of water, and go easy on the crisps and sweets. To keep conflicts at bay, discuss which food are shared and which are private. It’s sometimes a good idea for each flatmate to have a designated cupboard and shelf I the fridge. Respect each other’s space and belongings.
You can learn more about our range of accommodation for your 2nd year and beyond in Sheffield here.
Some areas are safer than others, but there are good safety practices that should be observed no matter where you are. Here are a few tips to keep you safe, whether studying or having fun.
Use the buddy system when going out or travelling, especially at night. One person alone is a better target for criminals than two or more people together. Pairs are good, groups are best. The key is not to be the easiest target.
If going out for drinks, make sure to look after each other. Don’t leave anyone behind alone or let them leave alone. Drink responsibly and don’t overdo it. Keep an eye on your drink to prevent someone dropping something into it. Always pour your own drink so you know what goes into it. It is safer to drink from bottles than glasses or cups, as it is more difficult to drop something into the mouth of a bottle. Always keep an emergency £20 note on hand for an emergency cab ride home.
If a person – or a situation – makes you uneasy, trust your instincts: stay well away.