Advice for living in Cardiff and the UK, Health and Wellbeing, New Students

Tips on surviving Freshers’ week

Amy from our Wellbeing team shares her tips on getting through your first few weeks at uni…

I imagine, like many other new students, that you’ve had months of nail-biting anticipation and preparation for the student life ahead of you. Well now you’re finally here – welcome!

If you’ve done a Google Search “Surviving Fresher’s” you’ll have seen the mass of tips that flood the search results page and gone onto click every link possible in the hope that you will absorb as much information as you can. Well stop searching, look no further… here’s some quick and easy guidance from me and my colleagues here at Cardiff University.

1. 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 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 their own idea of how they want they want their freshers’ to be – but sometimes it doesn’t pan out that way, and that’s okay.

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 their transition easier.

Take a look at our advice and support for social anxiety, homesickness and other student wellbeing topics.

2. Get to know your fellow students

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. 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.’

Find out more about the Residence Life team in university accommodation. The team are encouraging a supportive, fun and friendly community to with an exciting calendar of social events, drop-in sessions and helpful workshops throughout the year.


3. Find out more about the university and Students’ Union by attending events

Despite the chaos and confusion, Fresher’s Fairs are well worth attending. They are a chance to learn about what’s going on in the university 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. 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?

Take a look at what’s on at Students’ Union.

Take a look at what’s on at university.


4. 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. 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.

Take a look at the many different activities, clubs and societies you can get involved in.

5. Stay Safe

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 this really safe?







6. If you are struggling to settle in talk to us!

The Student Support and Wellbeing teams are here for you. There is no problem too big or too small so please contact us and we can advise you, in confidence, on the most appropriate help for you.

Find out more about our Counselling, Health and Wellbeing services.

Find out more about the Residence Life team in university accommodation. 


7. Look after yourself!

Take a look at the new student web pages and log in to the intranet for even more advice on settling in and making the most of your student life.


For your convenience and easy access to information and support download the student app.


Your feedback and help please

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Best wishes,
Amy, Wellbeing Practitioner,
Counselling, Health and 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 and MoneyCareers and EmployabilityCounselling, Health and WellbeingDisability and Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.




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