Freshers Week is the annual period of college student orientation, where first-year students are welcomed with a variety of events, parties, and networking opportunities. Freshers week usually takes place just before the start of term, designed to give new students a chance to get to know their classmates and their new city before college properly starts. Fresher’s week is an exciting time. There are societies to join, welcome events and a lot of opportunity for socialising. It can also be a tiring experience, with large crowds of people and high noise levels.
There are several things you need to do when you first get to campus to ensure the start of classes goes smoothly. Completing orientation, getting your student card, and getting a locker are easier done sooner rather than later. There are often long lines for each of these so it’s a good idea to check with your college’s webpage to figure out the best time for each of these. That way, you can spend the rest of fresher’s week without having to worry about catching up.
One of the main features of fresher’s week is the college clubs and societies looking for members. These groups can be a great way to make friends, pursue special interests and even further your academic knowledge. For more information about societies, check our page here (link to college societies page)
Most societies charge money for the joining fee. It’s rarely going to be more than €2 but this can add up if you join enough societies. Not to mention you may end up going on fresher’s weeknights out hosted by the SU or other societies. However, there are ways of working around this. Society cards and welcome packs you will receive upon joining include discounts to nearby cafés, shops, and restaurants. Try taking an inventory of what you get at the end of the day and see how you can use it to help save during the rest of the week.
Between the Student Union and college societies, there are numerous events which take place during fresher’s week. While it is understandable to be worried about missing out on the fun, remember that no one goes to every single event in fresher’s week. That would make for a very exhausting (not to mention expensive) first college experience. Also remember that this event stretches over an entire week, so there’s no need to exhaust yourself on the Monday when there are plenty of opportunities to take part in activities later in the week. ‘Fresher’s Flu,’ or sickness in the aftermath is a common occurrence. To avoid this, try to eat something other than the pizza and sweets offered by societies, and listen to when your body needs a break.
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink and enjoying yourself on campus in moderation. Despite colleges thinking more critically about their drinking culture, you may hear feel pressured into excessive drinking through phrases like ‘down it, Fresher.’ Try to keep the following things in mind. Firstly, you should only ever enjoy yourself at your own pace, not that of the people around. Also remember that alcohol is a chemical depressant, and misuse of it can have an adverse effect on your mental health. If you are a non-drinker, don’t be worried about fitting in. Universities and colleges are taking a greater interest in alcohol-free events such as film-screenings and gaming nights.
When discussing accommodation above, we mentioned Fresher’s Week events can be a good way to bond with classmates and flatmates. This does not mean you should stay with one person or group for the entirety of events. It’s likely you’ll meet new people through society of events and activities during fresher’s week, and sometimes this might mean going to events on your own. This can be scary but remember most first years will be in the same boat as you.
While we recommend you visit your campus during the summer before term start, it’s possible you won’t have the time or the transport to make it to your college of choice before fresher’s week. There’s no need to worry if this is the case. Between Orientation and welcome activities, there are plenty of opportunities to be shown around the campus, and even the city outside. This is especially relevant if you are coming from a different county. Look for the buildings your lectures will be taking place and facilities such as student bars and restaurants. For more information, check our campus orientation guide. (link here)
You will have your first week at college once, so try commemorating it. Take a few selfies on your first day, or a picture with a new friend (just make sure to check with them first.) It is common for people to put their experience of fresher’s week on Instagram or other social media pages. Alternatively, you can print some of these pictures out and use them as a nice decoration for your accommodation.