Euan Walker / Guide / 3 minute read

As we’ve reached another September, many of you will be arriving at uni for the first time. There’s a good chance you’re feeling pretty anxious with such big changes coming up (especially if you have never been to this city or even this country), so we thought we would give you a short list of do’s and don’ts for your first few weeks that we probably wanted to hear when we were Freshers ourselves. Take these with a pinch of salt as uni is a different experience for everyone, in what will most likely be the craziest months of your life.



It’s worth remembering that everyone is in the same situation as you, moving to a new city where you know only a few or absolutely no people at all. Everybody should be open to talk to you in some way or another, it may just take a painfully cringey icebreaker to start it. If you are in halls, spend time in the kitchen or common room, this is your only real communal space so make the most of it. Ask your flatmates about themselves and conversations should hopefully spring up as you find out more about each other. In no time you will be chatting about anything from Taylor Swift to who will make this season’s top four.


Break your comfort zone. Say yes to everything (within reason). This is your chance to experience new things at a rate like never before. Make the most of your new home by exploring our huge unique city and nearby areas. Music wise - from house to heavy metal there is something for everyone, while fashionistas and foodies will find a wealth of options throughout the city centre (Afflecks and This and That are personal favourites). There is a decent chance that Manchester is different to wherever you are from so try something new! If you are invited to Hidden but you don’t think garage is your thing, at least give it a go, you will make memories either way and you may end up finding a new interest.


It’s easy to spend every day of Freshers week with a crippling hangover but if possible do try to visit your Freshers’ fair for the freebies and discounts alone if you don’t find something more useful.Try the societies’ fair too and talk to as many as possible. All groups will happily take on complete beginners and this might be your chance to find a hidden passion that will change your life…or at least meet a friend! They also don’t expect everyone they speak with to sign up, so have no fear at all in having a chat with them.


As tempting as it is to only eat fast food now you are away from home (Chester’s or Al-Zayn on the Curry Mile are my go-to’s), this will empty your bank account scarily quickly while ruining your physical and mental health. Cooking your own food is a satisfying, money-saving alternative. A quick Google or TikTok search can give easy inspo if you have never tried cooking before, maybe try recreating family recipes if you’re feeling homesick.


Controversial, but here you will meet your coursemates for the next three or more years. I promise you won’t be the only hungover person there so don’t let that put you off as it’s definitely worth making friends early doors.There will also most likely be a social of some sort on your course which is also worth attending, even if you know nobody there because many others will feel the exact same.



Do bear in mind that you are in a completely new setting with new people. Don’t overdo it, and be safe. If it is your first time doing something make sure you are in a safe, calm environment and monitor your limits and how you’re feeling. Don’t leave drinks unattended and remember that you do not need to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Don’t leave the ‘safe’ part of safe sex to the other person as STIs can unfortunately be a problem at uni. Have fun, but take care.


Expectations for your first couple of weeks can be high and there’s nothing wrong with feeling underwhelmed or homesick in your first few weeks - different people take different amounts of time to get used to their new home. Chat about how you are feeling with flatmates or coursemates and you may well find that you are not alone in feeling like this. Ring your parents/siblings/friends from home and check in on them, they will miss you! Look out for your new friends and those around you, just a simple “how are you?” could be all someone needs to hear before properly opening up for the first time.


Your first year at uni should be one of the most enjoyable periods of your life so try not to stress too much about everything, doing what you are comfortable with. Spend a week or two not worrying about academic work and getting used to your new surroundings and the people in them. It will be over before you know it, and you’ll wish you could do it all again.