Freshers’ week is the most anticipated week of the year for university students, whether you’re a fresher yourself or a returning student. It’s a week filled with alcohol, card games and meeting so many new people you’ll forget most of their names. If you’re one of those unfortunate students with lectures during freshers’ week; good luck, you’re going to need it. Along with all the fun, you’ll also encounter hangovers, sleep deprivation and a declining bank balance, so here are a few tips on surviving your first week as a university student.

1. No matter how many people tell you to do something, you don’t have to if you don’t want to:

Fresher’s week can be a pretty scary occasion for those who aren’t big drinkers. If this applies to you, don’t worry, if you don’t want to drink a dirty pint, don’t. People who force you into something you don’t want to do are the type of people you’ll want to avoid during your university life. They may egg you on, but if you tell them you simply don’t want another drink or you don’t want to go out that night, then eventually they’ll stop harassing you.

Pouring alcohol into someone's mouth

2. You’ll probably encounter things you didn’t expect to:

This is especially true if you’ve moved into university accommodation. You might not be expecting to see or hear some of the things you do. There are a huge variety of different people at university, and some of them may be into some, shall we say, recreational activities. Drugs and social smoking are a lot more common than you might’ve thought and you may even be inclined to try one or the other. Just remember: they won’t benefit you in anyway whatsoever in the long run. Another university favourite is the drinking game ’Never Have I Ever’ (or ‘I Have Never’)where you might hear some extremely weird things. If you’re not familiar with this, you basically gather round in a circle and say something you’ve never done, then everyone who has done that particular thing would have to take a drink. Your new flatmates may use this game to gain some inside knowledge on you, but if you don’t want to share anything personal with people you barely know, you don’t have to. Simple. Similarly, if you’re with a group of people who have done some pretty crazy stuff in their lives, but you haven’t quite experienced that stuff yet, don’t lie to gain brownie points. Stay true to yourself.

3. You’ll probably underestimate the amount of money you’ll spend:

Student loans are a marvellous thing (when you’re a student, not so much when you’ve graduated and are wondering how the hell you’re gonna pay it all back). However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll have plenty of money to get you through fresher’s week, you still have another 9 months (ish) to worry about. Try and budget during fresher’s week – do you really need those new shoes? You’re a student remember. (Also, that night out might sound good at the time, but all you’ll end up with is a huge hangover and a dent in your bank balance.) If your student loan doesn’t cover the cost of your accommodation then you’re in a completely different boat. Your parents may be able to help you out a little, but try and save money where you can, especially when stocking up the fridge. Invest in a student cookbook and freeze any leftovers. Student bank accounts are also a good choice as most of them come with 0% overdrafts, and other perks such as a free 4 year railcard (Santander), Amazon vouchers (HSBC) and huge overdraft limits (Halifax  and the Co-op).

4. You’re 100% likely to contract Freshers’ flu:

You hypochondriacs out there might want to read up on the symptoms of the common cold before jumping to the conclusion that you’ve definitely got pneumonia. Just like when you start primary school, you’re exposed to lots of new people, which makes spreading bugs a lot easier. Stock up on the tissues, paracetamol (which you might also want to use for the hangovers) and cough medicine as you might end up bed bound with a bin (or floor) full of snotty hankies by your side. However, make sure you’re signed up to the local medical practice in case something does become worse. Your university will most likely have information about the different options on their website.

Pile of tissues on floor

5. Enjoy it!

University will be the best three years of your life. You’ll meet so many new people, some of which will become life long friends. Have as much fun as possible in fresher’s week, as the rest of the year is likely to be filled with deadlines and 9am lectures that you really could do without. Make lifelong memories (ones you’ll remember are better), and remember: having your parents as friends on Facebook isn’t a great idea for a student.