Freshers' Week 2016: 8 University life hacks

You will almost certainly have too much free time - join a society and make the most of it

George Charalambou
Friday 23 September 2016 17:52
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Stock up on vitamin C to try if you want to survive this Freshers' Week
Stock up on vitamin C to try if you want to survive this Freshers' Week

The trouble with going to university is that your expectations can never meet the reality.

Students are frequently told that it will be the ‘best time of your life’, and for some it is. What they’re not told about however, are the pitfalls of unregulated near-adulthood.

Given the boozy lifestyle British students stereotypically enjoy, the most useful and immediate advice should be on how to get through the first few months of obligatory hedonism, so you can get on with your studies in the aftermath.

Here are some survival tips for your entrance into the heady world of undergraduate academia.

1) Avoid the ‘dodgy’ shop

Every university campus has one close by.

These are the sorts of shops that sell gas-mask bongs for the sorts of people that stall very quickly in conversations.

But it isn’t just the novelty rubbish you want to avoid - it’s the incredibly cheap alcohol that is guaranteed to give you a terrible headache the next day.

Then there are always the rumours of shops selling 'alcohol' disguised under different labels containing dangerous chemicals or even just water. Don't become paranoid, but do pay attention to what's in the drinks you're being handed.

2) Stock up on Vitamin C

Make sure you get lots of it during Freshers' Week.

You would think that a whole week of partying can only do good things for your constitution, but heavy drinking over several days can actually lead to you feeling like death. And if you’re a smoker, the effects are twice as bad.

Expect to wake up with a throat drier than cotton and with a remarkably similar texture.

Fresher's Flu is also a very real thing - so stock up on the vitamins and don’t be one of those people coughing over the lecturer's words.

3) Find a cheap supermarket

When following your horde of harem pant-clad freshers to the closest Sainsbury’s, bear in mind that the system of student loans is well understood by the higher-ups in retail.

£5 for chicken fillets may seem reasonable at first, but that’s only because of your near constant state of inebriation.

Find the nearest Aldi or Lidl and glory in their Germanic frugality.

4) Either commit to a gym or just do regular exercise

The number of students who join an unreasonably priced gym immediately after arriving at university, and then proceed to go only twice over the next year, is astounding.

If you’re not sure whether you can commit to regular gym sessions, just go running and/or do body weight exercises.

If you then find that you can keep it up, invest in a gym. Otherwise you’re at least twenty drinks down a month (drinks being the traditional student barometer for wealth).

5) Don’t line up empty bottles of alcohol on your shelf

It’s not clever, it’s not funny, it’s not ‘banter’. It’s a prelude to alcoholism.

6) Being a downer is OK

If you find yourself hating these opening months, don’t worry, you’re not weird.

University is often talked about as the most amazing period of one’s life, but when your expectations meet the reality of independence, you can quickly become disillusioned.

Getting sick of the constant drinking and relative loneliness of it all is perfectly normal, and to be honest, most of your peers probably think the same.

7) Actually join a society

No really, do.

Although most of the ‘cool kids’ eschew societies and clubs because they don’t want to come across as eager, believe me, you will have too much free time. Make use of it.

At the very least it will give you something constructive to do while recovering from hangovers, and being busy makes those hangovers more infrequent.

Take up a sport. Join a gaming club. If you’re interested in politics but don’t know of how this country is actually run, join one of numerous political societies and cure yourself of ignorance.

8) Expect the exodus of most of your ‘friends’

Most people going to university will feel anxious at first (‘what if nobody likes me and I make no friends?')

Because almost everyone feels like this, most people are at first entirely open to being your friend regardless of your character or background.

This will not last. After that first month of insecurity, the people you learned to hate in your past-life at school will materialise in the host bodies of your so-called pals.

You’ll be left with a core group of people you actually like, and then it’s your decision whether to continue making stilted conversation with your pseudo-mates or start an intense campaign of polite avoidance.

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