Starting university is daunting. No matter how many Netflix programs you watch about ‘starting out uni’ or how many open days you’ve been to, the first day is always going to be highly nerve-wracking and much-anticipated. Chances are, if you’ve grabbed the Gryphon’s freshers edition and reached this page, you’ve already had to fight that initial angst and face your fears. But fear no more – from here on, you have help! The Gryphon has reached out to recent University of Leeds graduates, to explore their top practical tips for making the most out of the freshers week and first year at university.
Here’s what Leeds University Class of 2018 deems as the most useful advice for Freshers 2018:
Camille – “Network, network, network – Make the most connections you can”
Branch out! The two words you need if you’re a fresher. Make the most connections you can, don’t be afraid to be yourself, follow your passions (or even something completely random). Do what you want to do. Clubs (Fruity, Backroom – two completely different vibes), gigs, arts and crafts, global cafe, Get out Get active, LS6 cafe (#Brunching) – try everything. Three months into your first year at Leeds, don’t stop and stick to your comfort zone. Attend the re-freshers week and give yourself a second chance at starting out university. Make sure you keep making connections, keep joining new societies, engage in your lectures with professors and peers as much as you can. It’s the one time in your life that you’re going to have so much free time before you get into the 9 to 5 life, so get out there and enhance your skills. Oh and above all, work hard, focus but also don’t feel too guilty for the midnight kitchen sesh’s or library procrastination you’re about to have with your friends at some point; those will be some of your best memories.
Mariana – “If ever there was a time to come out of your shell, it’s now!”
Talk to EVERYONE. The daunting (and great) thing about the first couple months of university is that more often than not you don’t know many people… and neither do they! It’s the perfect time to meet new people and make friends, even with people you wouldn’t normally have thought you could get along with. It’s scary but try to leave your comfort zone because you’ll soon find that almost everyone is open and sociable. They want to make friends and have fun just like you do. So if ever there was a time to come out of your shell, it’s now!
Anca – “Finish off the administrative part as soon as possible”
Make the most out of it – join societies, meet people, go to your first Fruity, and don’t forget about free Domino’s pizza! Make sure you get rid of the administrative part as soon as possible. Register and get your student card before all of the fun starts and then mingle in the crowd and have the best beginning. One of the first things I did during my freshers week was getting a cozy red jumper with University of Leeds on it – it’s the best memory you can have and it’ll be with you forever. So make sure you warm up during Freshers Week and tick every single thing you can, from clubs and societies to drinking at Terrace and meeting your future friends!
Antonia – “Don’t come to university with your life pre-planned, be open to all possibilities”
The best advice I have heard and would like to pass on is, don’t come with your life pre-planned as in ‘I will join A and B society, have these grades, go to this country on a year abroad’ etc. Be open to new things because university is probably the only place where you can try so many different things in such a short time. So, try different things and see where it takes you. Discover yourself on the journey. Learn about yourself and your interests, which will help reduce your potential final year life crisis of ‘I am not sure of what I want to do with my life anymore’.
Rachel – “It’s okay to feel homesick and overwhelmed – talk to someone”
I would like to tell my fresher self a couple of things: Firstly, join that society that does something you’ve always wanted to do, even if you’re shy at first! Secondly, don’t be afraid to do things alone – enjoy your own company. Thirdly, talk to as many people as you can, meet up, organise meals etc., even if you have to make the initiative. Don’t just wait around for people to approach you. Thirdly, if things get a bit much at times, don’t hide away in your room thinking everyone is having a better time than you. Talk to someone if you feel homesick/overwhelmed, it’s completely normal. You’ll find plenty of other people in the same boat. But above all, I’d like to tell my fresher self to make the most out of the free time you have – to find your passion and pursue it. Join that drama course or pick up your camera and enrol yourself onto that photography society. Use your free time wisely as you may not ever get that much free time ever again!
Salla – “Don’t forget to be yourself”
Remember to be yourself! In university, there are so many different activities, groups, societies and people all the time that you might feel pressured to attend everything and go everywhere, to avoid missing out. Don’t feel the need to attend events that aren’t exactly your thing, be it socially or personally. You should definitely try out new things and be adventurous but at the same time, it’s important to stay true to yourself. That’s when you will enjoy yourself the most and make the best memories!