What I wish I had known as a Fresher

Find out what Elizabeth wishes she had known this time last year!

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Starting university is unlike anything you have done before. You leave home and all normalcy with it, be it friends, family or just your own bed. Don’t be fooled by the façade of fellow freshers Instagrams; starting university is a great experience but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a few challenges. To give you a heads up, here are 5 things I wish I’d known as a fresher…

1) You probably won’t feel at home straight away… (but that’s okay!!)

No amount of fairy lights can compensate for feeling slightly overwhelmed as a fresher. Decorating your room does help you to feel more comfortable but feeling homely won’t come overnight. Don’t force it and don’t feel pressured by others being seemingly more settled that you are. Maybe you’ll feel at home when you find that little café that no one seems to know about or that walk home with a new friend that you have loads in common with. It happens slowly but trust me, it will happen.

2) You won’t stay friends with everyone you meet during freshers…

Freshers is a time where a bunch of strangers cling to the first people they find to ease their discomfort of not knowing anyone. Try to find people you enjoy spending time with to make freshers more comfortable, but don’t put pressure on friendships. You are more likely to find your closer friends on your course or doing things you enjoy, not in the girl’s toilets at YOLO (although this will definitely give you the ego boost you need).

3) You don’t need to bring all that stuff…

I thought it was a good idea to take my whole wardrobe and the entire contents of my room when I moved into halls, only to realise that I wore the same dungaree and t-shirt combo’s most days and didn’t even unpack all of my photos. Yes, you need your essentials, but you will accumulate a lot of stuff too… I won 3 wooden spoons during freshers, and probably used one pen for my whole first year.

4) You will spend more than you expect…

If you’re like the majority of people I met this year, you will probably spend way too much money on Ubers and Domino’s. Of course, you should treat yourself occasionally but it’s easy to slip into bad habits. Try to create a budget for how much you want to spend each week and keep an eye on where you spend the most, online banking will be your best friend.

 5) The work will be challenging but you are not alone…

The transition between each year of your education so far will have been challenging but when you go to university, you are not only learning more challenging content but also learning to live independently. Don’t feel disheartened if the work doesn’t click straight away, in my experience, if you don’t understand something it is likely that everyone feels the same. Try to ask for help when you need it, that is what the lecturers are there for (and what you’re paying for).

I’m sure you will grow to love your freshers experience as much as I did, but if you need some extra help with your Wellbeing, get in touch with wellbeingandcounselling@cardiff.ac.uk

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