Oh freshers’ week, how we do love thee. Full of exciting activities, free food, and probably more collective hangovers than the rest of the year combined, it’s the event of the year for first-year students.
With so many things going on, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on something, so to help you out we’ve listed the top five ways to get the most out of your freshers’ week.
1. Pace Yourself
Freshers’ week is often seen as a trial by fire or an endurance race for your liver. For most students it’s the first time living away from parents, with free rein over finances and drinking, which can often have mixed results. With the much-dreaded freshers’ flu guaranteed to make the most unwelcome guest appearance of the week, pacing yourself is a pretty good idea for your body and your bank account.
The week is known for being the messiest drinking session of the year, but to really make the most of it, make sure that you’re going out because you want to, and not just because everyone else is. If you’d rather stay in one night, then just do so. After all, college is about being responsible for yourself, and if you’d prefer to stay in and binge-watch your favourite show, no-one is going to call you out for it.
2. Make the Most of the Freshers’ Fair
Say what you will, but the freshers’ fair is arguably the highlight of freshers’ week, with an abundance of free stuff – which you may or may not resign to the corner of your room for all eternity – and enough vouchers to wallpaper your room.
Free food: The idea of free food probably doesn’t excite you yet, seeing as you’re so fresh from home that you still remember what a real home cooked meal tastes like, but come November those instant noodles you picked up will be a lifesaver. You’ll be sure to find plenty of pizza, and be able to prove to your mum that there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Vouchers: Once you’ve amassed all the freebies that you can carry, don’t forget to stock up on all the vouchers being handed out, because local shops, bars, and pubs are usually present at these fairs with plenty of offers. If you sort through the piles of goodie-bags that you’ve gathered from the various stalls, you’ll also find plenty of discount cards and vouchers (make sure to keep them in a safe place, because you never know when they’ll come in handy!).
Societies: The freshers’ fair is the best place to scope out all of the societies that your college has to offer, and even though you’ll probably only commit to one or two, it’s likely that you’ll sign up to everything from Quidditch to Extreme Ironing.
Useful stuff: The unsung heroes of the freshers’ fair are the “sensible” stalls that are usually there. From local transport to the police, they’re there to provide useful information that you might find particularly important if you’re studying in a new city.
3. Don’t Skip Out on Orientation
Freshers’ week is all about letting loose and having fun, so it can be easy to forget about the important things you have to do before the start of your course. To make the most of the week, don’t miss out on the campus orientation, because it always covers key information relating to the different areas. Sure, knowing how to get around the library isn’t important now, but when you’re frantically trying to find the nearest printer you’ll be kicking yourself for not knowing beforehand.
Orientation week also covers registration and student ID collection – all the more reason for you to make sure that you attend.
Although they will vary from college to college, here are the dates for some of the Dublin colleges to give you an idea:
- Trinity College Dublin: 19th-22nd September
- University College Dublin: 5th-8th September
- Dublin Institute of Technology: Not specified, but term begins 11th September, so orientation will likely take place the week before that
- Dublin City University: 11th-15th September (registration takes place online 4th-8th September)
4. Speak to Everyone
We get it: you’re away from friends, probably living away from home, feeling quite nervous, but the thing is, so is everyone else. The best way to settle into college life is to jump in with both feet and strike up conversations with people. Everyone is eager to make a good first impression, so you’ll find plenty of people to talk to, and you never know who might end up becoming part of your friendship group.
5. Get the Lay of the Land
If you’re moving to a new city, it’s useful to get your bearings as soon as you can. Freshers’ week is the perfect time for this because you’ll be out and about a lot, so you can familiarise yourself with public transport and key places such as your closest supermarket, local GP, and most importantly the nearest pub.
Thankfully, you can do nearly everything on your phone these days, including downloading all the local bus routes and timetables you’ll need. Another way of finding your way around quickly is by taking a different route whenever you’re wandering into town, and you never know what hidden treasures you’ll discover.