Graduate News

Freshers Week Woes - Common Problems And How To Deal With Them!

Anna Pitts

Wednesday 18th September 2013
university, tips and advice, freshers

"Welcome to freshers week! We're sure by now you are already feeling the effects of the big nights out and crazy campus vibe but sometimes this special week can throw up some issues. Don't worry GRB can help..."

Freshers Week Woes - Common Problems And How To Deal With Them!


It's Freshers' week; the most exciting, nerve-wracking, hectic week of your life so far. There's a new home to move into, people to meet and bond with, activities to do and places to find. In amongst all this fun, unfortunately some things can go wrong. It isn't always plain sailing, but the good news is most issues that crop up can be easily rectified! Take a look?

1. You're having second thoughts on your choice of course
During Freshers' week there will be an opportunity for you to meet your tutors, course mates and school faculty. There will also be events for you to attend and probably an introductory seminar or lecture to give you all the important information about your course. If after you have got all the information and met all the key people you start to question if it is the right course for you, there are some things you can do. First of all, to make sure you are certain you want to switch courses, arrange a meeting with your academic advisor to talk through your options. They will be able to tell you what the standard procedure is for the situation. Once you have met with them, speak to the department you want to move to, to see if a switch is possible. Swapping courses is extremely common at the beginning of term, and most universities have a three week window for it, allowing you to attend some actual seminars and lectures before making your decision.

2. You're not getting on well with your housemates
One of the blessings and drawbacks of university is that you get a million different personalities all squidged in to one small space. It makes for some interesting conversations, however, it also means that clashes can occur. If you find that you aren't gelling particularly well with your housemates for whatever reason then there are some decisions to be made. First of all, identify why it's not working- is it just a personality or culture clash or is there a deeper rooted issue? Is bullying taking place, or just civil indifference towards each other? Try and make an effort to get on with your housemates, but, if it just isn't working then contact your housing office. They will be able to tell you if and when any other rooms become available and also put you on a room swap list for other university accommodation. Room hopping is common at first when everyone is finding their feet, so don't worry if it takes a while for you to feel at home.

3. You're homesick
Sometimes, even if you love your course, your housemates and university life, something just doesn't click. Feeling homesick is a natural part of going to university and everyone will be in the same boat (even if they keep it to themselves!) Remember that your family and friends are always on the end of the phone if you need them and try to cheer yourself up by scheduling something to look forward to- a weekend visit home or trip to a friend's uni? Keep yourself busy and you'll find as time and term goes on that you'll be much more comfortable in your new surroundings. If you want someone to talk to then student support services will be able to help.

4. You're finding it hard to make friends and meet people
Being thrown out of your comfort zone and forced to mingle can be a daunting thought and an even scarier reality. If you are quite a shy person, or find it hard to strike up conversation with a total stranger, you won't be alone. It takes some people a while to find a group they gel well with, whilst others find their new besties within 5 minutes of strolling on to campus. The best thing to do is to go to as many events as possible and try to chat with lots of people. You'll find people come up to you too, so you won't always have to make the first step. To meet like-minded people, go to events such as society and sport tasters, so at least you'll have some common ground for a conversation! Everyone is ridiculously friendly in Freshers' week, but there will be loads more opportunities to meet new people all the time, so don't panic if you don't have some close friends straight away.

5. Your loan hasn't come through
Rather out of your control which is a pity, but nevertheless this mishap does happen. If everyone else is enjoying their new found wealth and you are still struggling through with a pitiful bank balance then it's probably time you investigated what's going on. Your university finance office can help, but the best thing to do is contact student finance and ask them directly. It's probably nothing and just a delay. Once they know about it the money should be with you in no time, but just in case be sure to get an overdraft before you get to university (it'll come in handy anyway!)

6. You've forgotten to enrol/register
Enrolment is possibly the most important part of Freshers' week. You'll probably get loads of emails about it, giving you a time and place you need to be to register, confirm your place and receive your university student card. If you miss this then it can cause problems- from the university missing you off registers to not receiving your student finance. Basically, the best advice is to not miss enrolment (!) but if you do contact your school office immediately.

7. Freshers' flu!
Even if you don't contract this vile cold during the week itself, rest assured it will be on its way soon! So, stock up on lemsip, soothers and tissues!

Have you got any Freshers' horror stories or great advice to share? We'd love to hear it in the comments!