Wellbeing Practitioner Amy talks about surviving freshers’ week…
It’s been months of nail-biting anticipation, preparation and fantasizing about the student life ahead of you – and now you’re finally here! So step one – take a deep breath and don’t panic.
University can be an amazing opportunity to meet people, have fun and learn. We know that lots of people will be really excited about their studies in Cardiff and making the most of being in a big city whilst some students will feel a little more nervous about it! Both are completely normal reactions to the transition from home to university life.
Take comfort in the fact that everyone is in the same boat – almost every student will be living somewhere new, in a new city and meeting people they have never met before! I think most students have a fantasy of how they want they want their freshers’ to be – but sometimes it doesn’t pan out that way, and that’s okay.
Anyone tried this yet?
- Google Search “Surviving Fresher’s”
- Become overloaded by the mass of tips that flood the search results page
- Click on every link possible and hope to absorb as much information as you can
Stop and look no further… here’s our guidance.
Whilst there are a million and one hints and tips for surviving Fresher’s, most of the time it boils down to giving yourself the best opportunity to settle in, whilst not getting completely washed out by all the information that will be thrown your way.
Most students will experience some nerves about coming to Uni. The novelty, lack of friends and disorientation is universal. Some will love it and some will find it a real struggle. Either way, there are things that all students can try to make the transition easier.
Getting to know people is not always as easy as it seems. Cardiff University is fortunate to have a huge number of students enrol every year, so if you are not keen on the people you have met so far, don’t lose hope!
Your flatmates and course mates are not the only students here and if you’re not sure about them, don’t let this define your uni experience. There are so many opportunities to meet new people, and there’s no need to limit your search early. The Student Life Fun Run is a great opportunity to meet new people from a variety of courses and years. Don’t forget to register online.
The first few weeks here are not your only chance to find those friends that you expected to meet straight away – so don’t be disheartened. You have a whole three years to meet people who may end up your lifelong friends! Join societies, get to know students in other halls, take part in new events and don’t hold back on being yourself. There are students with all kinds of different interests, hobbies and values who are itching to get to know people…and most of the time all it starts with is ‘hi.’
Despite the chaos and confusion, Fresher’s Fairs are well worth attending. They are a chance to learn about what’s going and for you to get involved in something new. Universities are renowned for their offers of unusual and exciting sports or music opportunities at a significantly lower price than they would normally be – make use of this! Even if nothing else appeals to you, no fresher can really resist the lure of the freebies. I hear there’s free pizza. That’s a temptation you cannot deny…
If you are not sure about what you will be interested in and don’t want to sign up to something straight away, why not try a taster session? Check out the Give it a Go Programme, which has hundreds of events to go along to.
Be Open Minded
Your first year of Uni is a unique experience and can be an opportunity to form memories that will last a life time- or for some, memories that might be a little hazy! Either way, try to keep an open mind about what you might enjoy and about the people you come across.
When we are struggling to fit in to a new situation we often look for familiarity as a way of seeking comfort- don’t let staying in your comfort zone prevent you from making the most of an opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds, experiences and lifestyles.
It is easy to get caught up in the crowd and focus on having fun. After all, it is the first time away from home for many. Being independent, eating and drinking what you want and going out as much as you can might be tempting. We of course would encourage all Fresher’s to make the most of this year, however, Student Safety, is our top priority. Remember:
- Safety in numbers – stick with a group
- Be Drink aware – read our blog for tips on how to stay safe whilst drinking, and to recognise when to cut down.
- Drug use is not condoned by the University or South Wales Police. Please be aware that University Residences, Security and South Wales Police work together to address drug use on campus (read our blog on drug use for more information on staying safe and university policy).
- Familiarise yourself with the city
- Use our Dragon Safe Taxi Scheme, and avoid walking home alone
- Never leave your drinks unattended on a night out.
- Ask yourself… is that really safe?
‘What is the best piece of advice you received?’ answered by current students. Find out what they said below…
Other interesting guides to surviving freshers’ week
Contacting Counselling Health & Wellbeing
If you are struggling to settle in to your Studies and Student Life, please know Cardiff University Support Services are here for you – there is no problem too big or too small and we would be happy to provide you with some support. We offer a range of flexible support options including:
- Counselling and Wellbeing Appointments
- Face to Face, Online or Telephone
- Wellbeing Walk-in: Drop-in Service running Monday to Friday
- Wellbeing Workshops
- Therapeutic Groups
- Wellbeing Champion Support
- Self-help resources
Bookable appointments are available via our online referral questionnaire. We also offer a Wellbeing Walk-In Service, Monday to Friday, 3pm to 3.45pm and Wednesday mornings, 9.30am to 10.15am, at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place. We also hold a walk-in service at our Student Support Centre in Cardigan House at the Heath, on Wednesday afternoons 3pm to 3.45pm.
Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space.
If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support, offer you a peer ear and give you basic health and wellbeing advice. If you would like to see our Champions in action, check out their video.
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice – Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.
Your feedback and help please
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Amy, Wellbeing Practitioner,
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including:Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.