It’s not long until your official Freshers Week starts at Cardiff University, and the whole experience can be a bit daunting, especially if you’ve never experienced clubbing like it before, or have no idea what to expect both for the day events and otherwise. But here are my top tips on what to check out – and the do’s and don’ts…
1. DON’T BELIEVE FACEBOOK SCAMS – I’m sure by now you will have received a ton of events requests claiming that they are selling the “official Fresher’s week wristbands”, but in fact, they are local clubs in Cardiff trying to get you to pay to go to their venues instead. Although fun, trust me, you have three plus years to experience those clubs, but you’ll never be able to properly experience the SU Fresher’s Week again. The only wristbands you should buy are from this Cardiff Students website page. There are both all-inclusive, and budget friendly wristband options for all the SU events throughout the week.
2. LOOK AT WHAT’S HAPPENING BEFORE YOU GO – You have a UV rave, heroes and villains, where’s Wally, Alphabet and beach themed parties, as well as the Fresher’s ball – so prepare in advance what fancy dress you want to take.
3. TAKE PART IN THE DAY EVENTS – I know it’s really easy to lie in bed all day with a hangover, but it’s a great chance to bond with your new housemates/friends. So drag them all with you to some of the events the SU have put on, including a Castle Coch trip, a Big Red Bus tour, Cardiff Bay trip, St. Fagans trip and even a Barry Island tour!
4. GO AND CHECK OUT THE AU FAIR – Regardless of whether you’re planning on joining a team or not, it’s always cool to go and check out the Athletic’s Union fair which is on Wednesday 23rd September (12pm-6pm). There are over 60 sports clubs at Cardiff University, and it’s a chance to meet the team members if you know exactly what you’re going to do, or see what other sports there are to try out (my housemate was a rugby player but decided to try out American Football instead).
5. JOIN A SOCIETY – I may be bias because I was a Society President for two years, but I think this is the most important thing you can do at university. The Societies Fair is across two days, on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd September between 12pm and 6pm. You should go on both days because each day has a different set of societies. There are hundreds of societies to choose from, from course based, to performance, to student media, to political, to charity work, to languages and so on… some are free, but most have a small fee. I met by best, and closest friends through my society so I urge you to join one.
6. IF YOU WANT A BOOZE FREE EVENING, DON’T WORRY – Don’t be panicked if you don’t drink, it’s a friendly place and you shouldn’t let not drinking alcohol ruin your evening. You can join in the clubbing nights just as much as everyone else. In fact, you’ll be surprised by how many others don’t actually drink either. However, if the whole clubbing scene is just not for you, there are loads of other things to do too – including a pizza and film night in the SU. If you need a night off, I’m sure there will be other housemates and friends who are feeling that too, so suggest you go out together for some food instead?
7. MEDICS AND HEALTHCARE STUDENTS LISTEN UP – You have your own Freshers’ Fair on Monday 21st September between 3pm – 6pm at the Heath Park Campus which is a great chance to meet people on your campus, and see what services and clubs there are for you!
8. BOOK SOME BANDS – We are really lucky to have such an amazing music venue at our university and from 1st October, live music events kick off. But book your tickets in advance, because it’s open to the public too. You can see a full-listing at the Cardiff SU Box Office.
9. THERE’S STUFF JUST FOR YOU POSTGRADS! Postgraduates’ have a whole Fresher’s Week lined up for them too, including indoor mini golf, a quiz night, a cafe crawl and a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ evening (sounds intriguing). Check out the full list here.
10. GO TO THE BRIC-A-BRAC SALE. If you have forgotten something (you should have read my moving in checklist) you can always grab something at the student Bric-A-Brac sale held by the university on either Friday 18th September in The Great Hall (9.30am – 2pm), or at the Talybont Social at the Talybont student accommodation site on Monday 21st September (10am – 4pm).
11. LEARN A LANGUAGE. Cardiff University has the amazing Languages for All programme which is set up alongside your degree so you can learning a language as well as your studies. Levels range from beginners to advances, and they currently offer six languages. Now this is something I wish was available whilst I was there… so go and find out more info on Tuesday 22nd September at 3pm in the Sir Donald Walters Boardroom, on the 3rd floor of the Students’ Union.
12. VOLUNTEER. Cardiff Volunteering have a ton of projects for you to get involved in around your University schedule. So what you can get up to on Thursday 24th September between 12-6pm at the Volunteering Fair in the Great Hall and Y Plas.
13. HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE. This is going to be the craziest, and most fun fortnight of your life so enjoy it! But me being a goldie oldie now, I want to pass on one last nugget of wisdom – look after each other. Although you’re all still strangers, it’s important to look out for one another. Make sure you walk home in pairs or more, if someone’s had a bit too much to drink check up on them, and to just make sure you have your new friends and housemate’s back. As you probably will be doing the same for years to come…