Written by Mackenzie Brook. BA Art

Here’s a lowdown on everything you need to know about Fresher’s week – what to get involved with, where to go if you need help, and also all the things you can do if you don’t drink!

Moving in and meeting people

Moving away from home to university can be a very daunting experience, but it will also leave you with the best memories. When moving in remember to step out of your comfort zone. Start by leaving your door open while you’re unpacking, allowing flat mates to introduce themselves when they walk past your room. Also, when you find your first flat mate, go round knocking on your other flat mates’ doors to see if they have moved in yet. Another good way to get settled in is by eating your meals in the kitchen and not in your room – as this is where you will be able to get to know your flat mates most.

The important stuff

Fresher’s isn’t just about making new friends and getting drunk. There are also a few things you’ll need to do to make sure your university experience and course runs smoothly.

  1. Firstly when you are moving into halls you will get your campus ID card which will give you access to buildings on campus, your halls and can also be used to pay for food and printing.
  2. Visit RISIS, which will give you all your University login details
  3. Then log into Me@Reading where you will be able to check your emails and timetable
  4. Confirm your course modules and attend all sessions in your department during fresher’s week, so you know what is involved in your course.

Fresher’s Fair

Your first 2 weeks will be full of talks and course meetings but also optional Fresher’s, sports and society fairs. These fairs are a way of signing up to new things. When signing up you’re not fully committing; you’re just saying you’re interested in knowing more. So why not sign up to something you never thought you would do? You can also go along to free taster sessions, where you can try new things and make new friends. The fairs are also full of free things like pens, USBs, key rings and most of the time PIZZA. So make sure to check them out!

Nightlife

The majority of students will say that the nightlife is the best part of Fresher’s Week. This is probably because of the abundance of drink deals and a club to match everyone’s music taste. This is were most people will make the friends they’ll spend the majority of their time at University with. You’ll find friends for life!

But, as fun as Fresher’s Week is and how great it feels to have more freedom away from your family, remember to stay safe:

  • Swap numbers with your flat mates
  • Always stay in a group
  • Only use licensed taxis
  • Know who the members of your halls JCR are – they’re are there to help you if you need them
  • Finally, NEVER leave your drink unattended

Non-Drinkers

Teetotal students may feel like they are in the minority, but there will be more than you first think and there is also so much you can get involved with. During Fresher’s it will be hard to escape the drinking culture, as your flat mates will be discussing the nights out and pre drinks, whilst campus will be covered with posters promoting the best drink deals. However, you can still join in and not drink. Join in with drinking games with energy drinks, juice or even water and go out and dance as a group. Just think, you’ll be hangover free the next day and will save so much money.

If going out isn’t for you, and if you don’t drink for religious, health or even personal reasons, then why not get involved in societies and sports. Reading even has a society for non-drinkers. This will help you make friends and find others with the same interests as you.

Finally, why not arrange your own society and find people who are also interested. Or if you want to hang out with your flat mates and not drink, why not have a movie and food day while they are hungover or arrange a themed food evening like Mexican. It’s fun getting to know people over food!

Help and support

Some people will find Fresher’s week easier than others, and you’ll all experience good and bad days, as this is probably the longest you have been away from home. But remember, you are all in the same boat, so if you’re feeling down or stressed talk to someone. Your flat mates will understand and may also be having a hard time. If you don’t want to talk to your flat mates, there are plenty of help points round university, with people who will be happy to sit down with you, with a cup of tea, and have a chat.

Finally, remember to GET INVOLVED!