This week thousands of nervous freshers will be getting dropped off, by even more nervous parents, at university halls across the country.
They will be given new pans (probably a wok which will be used to cook literally everything for the next three years, some bedding (that will be washed about twice over the next year), a brand new alarm clock (which will not be plugged in until exam week) and freedom for the very first time.
If you are one of those people being unshackled from your parents’ watchful eyes for the very first time: fuck you, I’m jealous. You are undoubtedly embarking on the most debauched and frivolous years of your life. But every year people make the same mistakes. You probably will too, as many of them are practically a rite of passage, but here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to guide you through your first year of uni.
Don’t Fuck Your Flatmate
This is a classic that happens every year, it’s almost inevitable. It can go one of two ways: you continue to sleep with them and sack off meeting any other people totally or you realise it was a mistake and live saturated in awkwardness for the rest of the tenancy.
Do Report Any Damage To Your Room/Shared House, And Take Photos Of It The Day You Move In
When you arrive you will be given a chance to report any marks on the walls or holes in chairs etc. regardless of how small they are. This is really boring, there are 101 things you’d rather being doing on your first day at uni, but if you don’t you can guarantee you will be charged for each and every blemish.
Don’t Make A Really Bad Impression On The First Day
Remember that, for good or ill, you have to live with these people for the next academic year. So you don’t want to be drunkenly kicking someone’s bedroom door at six in the morning demanding a kingsize rizla. You may not remember it the next day but they sure will – not the best way to make new friends.
Don’t Document It, Live It
Put the #selfies to one side for a minute and cherish the existence of the long-term memory. You will remember these years, so enjoy them now, rather than spending the whole time documenting it with videos, pictures and status updates. I went to watch The Libertines recently and at one point 40 per cent of the crowd were filming the performance on their phones. That’s sad as fuck.
Don’t Be The Person Who Gets The Flat Robbed
I once had some friends who brought a homeless person back to their halls and let him sleep in the kitchen, where all the laptops and food lived. Yeah… I’m sure you can guess how this anecdote ends. It all got nicked.
I’m not saying don’t bring people back – this is your chance to have as many one-night stands as you can before you get bored of fucking strangers and want more – but be wary who you leave alone in your flat and make sure you lock the doors/windows when you’re out. Student accommodation/areas are burglary hotspots.
Do Get Clued Up About Sexual Consent
According to the National Union of Students, many freshers come to uni with limited knowledge of sexual consent. Has the object of your desires had one too many shots? Then don’t even go there. Not only would you be breaking the law, and could potentially wind up with a prison sentence, but you will end up with an unshakable reputation. Word spreads quickly around uni campuses.
Take this quiz to make sure you’re in the know.
Don’t Waste All Your Money On Sandwiches And Coffee
It’s so easy to not bother doing a big food shop and rely on the never ending supply of Greggs (when did they take over every single high street anyway?) and Costa to get you through the day. Delicious? Yes. Waste of money? Yes. But you can save a fortune by taking a flask and sarnies into uni with you. Plus the pasties aren’t even warm anymore.
Don’t Get An STI
There is no excuse for this since your students’ union welfare officer will be ramming condoms down your throat pretty much from the second you are released from your parents’ custody. Condoms are good, super-gonorrhea is not.
Do Check Your Bank Balance
I’m the worst at managing money; it goes through my hands like water and I rarely have anything to show for it. Why? I hate checking my balance. I just go through my life withdrawing away until I hit the dreaded ‘insufficient funds’.
Do as I say and not as I do: check your account balance and learn how to manage your money. One trick I’ve had to resort to in the past is getting the bank to text me my balance. I opted to receive this on Friday afternoons as I always went on the session the night before.
Don’t Lock Yourself Away
When you first move into halls, and there are hordes of strange new people around, it can be a daunting experience.
For some people the notion of dragging your stuff into your room and locking yourself away from it all can be an attractive one. But remember that everyone is in the same position as you are. The moving in period is a perfect time to bond over getting lost everywhere and learning to adapt to living independently.
Do Learn Where You Can Get Support If You Feel Down Or Lonely
Mental health issues are as common among the student population as they are anywhere else. So if you feel persistently unhappy, don’t keep it a secret. Universities usually have great support networks for their students. Tell someone how you feel, whether it’s a friend, university counsellor, lecturer or halls welfare officer. You’ll often feel much better just for having got things off your chest.
Do Keep Your Boxes
This is really simple. You needed the boxes to move your stuff in, but how are you going to get it all out at the end of the year? You won’t be able to go to your local supermarket and ask for a box on move-out day because you will be the 400th person to try that. Keep the boxes under your bed.
Don’t Start Selling Drugs
If you’ve rinsed your entire loan in the first couple of weeks (you’d be astonished how many people do that), and don’t fancy slaving away at a local bar for minimum wage, you could start selling weed to your mates.
Once you realise it’s also a way of rapidly accumulating friends you might wonder why you would ever stop. Every year loads of students do it and, trust me, it never ends well. You might get away with it in halls with all the security guards, big gates and passive customers, but beyond that you’re likely to get in serious trouble one way or another.
Do Make The Most Of It And Wring Out Every Last Drop Of Hedonism
Meet new people and have new experiences at every opportunity. If someone asks if you want to go on a night out your default answer should be ‘yes’. As life goes on it becomes less and less socially acceptable to get hammered on a weeknight and sleep the whole next day, so make the most of it. It’s the oldest cliché in the book but these will be the best years of your life so don’t waste them.
Alternatively, you can make most of the mistakes above and one day write a smug, know-it-all article; that’s what I’d do!