What do you get when you put a bunch of fresh-faced students together, throw in some fancy dress and add a whole load of alcohol to the mix? That’s right everyone, we’re talking about Fresher’s Week.
For thousands of young people across the country, it’s not just the extra studying that will take some getting used to - it will also means being away from home the first time, fending for yourself, meeting new people and making a great first impression.
To help you make the very best of your first year at uni, read our handy Fresher's Week Survival Guide for top tips on how to ensure you are living your very best life.
1. Stay Safe
Be Cab Wise
During Fresher’s Week, there will be lots of parties to choose from and a great chance to mingle and make new friends. Remember to stay safe while you’re out and about, get party-ready with your friends and arrive together. Avoid travelling around on your own late at night, cabs can be ordered at a click of a button so remember to charge up your phone before a big night out.
Watch Your Bag and Drink
You’re going out to have fun so the last thing on your mind is worrying about where your bag, jacket or drink is. Stay savvy, stay aware and use a bottle stopper if you ever get worried.
2. Be Sex Safe
If a hot guy or girl catches your eye, remember you don't have to make any hasty decisions! However, if one thing does lead to another and you decide to go home with someone - remember to practise safe sex. Carry around condoms to protect yourself from STIs and pregnancy.
There are many different methods to choose from when it comes to contraception, so if you’re unsure about which is best for you then speak to your local doctor or pharmacist or refer to our sexual health services.
3. Stay Hydrated
Yes, we may be starting to sound a lot like your mum, but staying hydrated isn't something which will naturally cross your mind when you're going from party to party during Fresher's Week. While you’re out, sip water between drinks and be aware of your limits.
Don't fancy drinking one night? That's fine! Do not feel pressured into drinking when you don't want to. However, this doesn't mean you have to stay in when everyone else is going out - bars and clubs will all offer soft drink and mocktails to ensure you're not greeted with a headache in the morning!
4. Don't Forget These Post-Party Essentials
Partying doesn't just take its toll on your head but it can play havoc with your skin too! If your skin is feeling dry and unhealthy, quench it regularly with a hydrating facial cream and treat yourself to a weekly face mask to replenish some of the lost moisture.
Oh, and invest in an eye mask and a good pair of ear plugs – you might be ready to end the party but if you’re living in shared accommodation and your flatmates are a noisy bunch these items will be essential to getting some rest.
5. Take Away's Are Not The Only Option
Living on a diet of takeaways, pizzas and pot noodles may seem like a tempting avenue to go down now that mum and dad are not around but believe us, it will not give you the energy you need to study all day and party all night!
It’s okay to treat yourself and order in foods like burgers and chips every now and again, but remember to maintain a healthy balance by getting your five-a-day. Snack on fresh fruit and vegetables such as apples, carrots and grapes – they’ll keep you full without making you feel bloated and sluggish.
Also, never underestimate how vital a good breakfast is to getting you set up for the day. Uni schedules can often be long, so before you head out take some time to fill up. Eggs, toast and fresh fruit are all quick, easy and purse friendly options to get you through Fresher’s Week feeling healthy and happy.
6. Be Aware of Your Mental Health
Aside from enjoying yourself and making new mates during Fresher's Week, ultimately you’ve signed up to study and learn something new.
Make sure you keep this in mind at all times and don’t leave your essays and coursework until the very last minute – this could lead to stress and worry (not to mention poor grades.) Your mental wellbeing is extremely important, so try to stay organised with your work and give yourself plenty of time to complete any assignments.
If you are starting to feel the pressure though, exercising is a fantastic stress-buster and can naturally boosts endorphins to improve your mood and help you stay focused. Take a long walk, go to the gym, do some gentle exercise at home, sign up to a dance class or consider getting involved with your uni sports teams.
7. Enjoy Yourself!
Most people will only ever experience Fresher's Week once, so make the most of it!
Go to your Freshers' Fair, make an effort with the people in your halls of residence, explore your new surroundings, sign up to a club or society and remember to attend your lectures (the first ones are always packed with essential information you will need all year!)