Frosh Survival Kit

Frosh (or Freshers as we call it in the UK) is a lot of fun. It marks the beginning of a new part of your life; one that will be the backdrop to your growth and learning in all aspects, academic and otherwise. For some, it will be the first step away from home. For others, it may feel like a bigger, cooler version of high school. For all, it will a great time- take it from a girl who’s already been through it once! I moved into halls (residence) in Cardiff last year at the beginning of one of the craziest weeks of my life. Here are some of the things I learned the hard way, some of the advice from my wonderful and wise friends, and some thoughts in retrospect.

Moving into residence:

1. Before you do anything else, make your bed. Even if you leave the rest of your unpacking for later, at the very least make sure that making your bed gets done ASAP. That way, after a tiring and overwhelming first day of saying goodbye to your family and meeting your new neighbours, you can curl up in a bed that feels familiar.

2. Bring something you can share! One of my flatmates last year rocked up with a massive chocolate cake and it was a great icebreaker.

3. If you can, prop open your door so people can wander in and hang out. Get in the habit of doing this from the get-go. If, like me, you need to have your own space sometimes, you can always close it again.

4. Be proactive in getting to know people. Knock on doors, introduce yourself to people passing by, offer to help people move their stuff in. You’ll meet a lot of great people this way- once last year, I noticed a girl struggling to get her laundry card to work, so I let her use mine. We ended up chatting for an hour and she’s a good friend- and we have a pretty unusual “how we met” story!

5. Most residences can’t allow candles or incense for safety reasons, so invest in some room spray in a scent you love to make your room feel more like yours.

Frosh:

1. Go. GO. I can’t emphasise this enough. Not only is it a great opportunity to meet people, but it will help you get the lay of the land so that you’ll be less likely to get lost on your way to actual classes. Plus, with all the studying not too far off into the future, it’s a good way to let off some steam.

2. Join societies and clubs! I didn’t do this last year and really regretted it. Even if you’re not 100% sure that it’ll be your cup of tea, try it out. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to go back, but you could end up with an awesome new hobby and like-minded friends.

3. Live in the present, not the future. This could just be me, but there seems to be an idea presented that you will meet your lifelong friends- the ones that will cry at your wedding and name their children after you- on the first day of university. And who knows? Maybe you will, but there’s no way of telling for sure, so don’t sweat it if you don’t stay close with every single pal you make during Frosh. Enjoy the week, enjoy the people, and most of all, enjoy the moment!

4. Sleep. I know, I know, the old (almost-21-year-old) lady telling you to get some rest. Seriously though, it’s so important to make sure you get some rest during Frosh week! The worst thing to happen would be hitting day 3 and having to miss out on a whole day to recharge. Welcome to being a student: you’re going to take a lot of naps. It’s just a fact, so you may as well embrace it!

5. Frosh is awesome, so enjoy it. Try not to worry or overthink anything because every. Single. Person. Is in the same boat. We all came from different walks of life: straight out of high school, gap year students, mature students, transfers or internationals, but we’re all newcomers. The odds are that if you’re feeling a bit nervous or a bit shy, other people are too. Be safe, be yourselves, and take a lot of photos. You’ll love looking back at them!

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