Dear Freshers

Hey there, Freshers.

First of all, I’d like to say congratulations on getting into university and welcome to Aberystwyth. I know you’re going to love it here. To help you settle in, I’d like to give you some advice. By now, I’m sure you’ve all seen some variation of ‘Dear Freshers’ posts, either on Facebook or some other social media site. While these are mostly fun and games, designed to make you laugh, older students see the truth in them: as a second year, I thought I might give you some tips. Think of it as a guide to university life.

Now, one of the most prominent jokes you’ll see about university is Freshers Flu. Before going to uni, most people believe this to be a myth. Perhaps it’s something an older student/sibling has made up to scare you, because they’re funny. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Freshers Flu is very real, and unless you are prepared to lock yourself away in your room until classes start, it will get you. It is for this reason that I suggest you stock up on cold and flu medicine when you get here, maybe some pain killers for those headaches. Even if by some stroke of luck you don’t get Freshers Flu, chances are your flatmates will, and if you’re stocked up on stuff that can help them that is one sure fire way to make friends.

Sticking with Freshers Week, let’s move on to what you’re really interested in, shall we? Alcohol. Now, most people get absolutely trashed in Freshers Week, with their Student Finance coming in and their new friends. However, I’d recommend you do not spend an obscene amount of money on alcohol and food, or whatever else you feel like impulse buying. There are always those who spend far too much money early on and then have no money left for what they really need, which results in panic and stress before course even starts. I’m not saying don’t go out with friends and have a good time. I’m not telling you not to drink, because, that’s no fun. I’m just telling you to be careful, and not just with money. For most of you, this is a new place and you have little idea where anything is. So if you’re drunk and lost, you’ll probably end up getting a taxi to your accommodation, where you’ll have to wake up one of your new flatmates to let you in; that will not curry favour with the people you have to live with until May. Speaking from experience, being woken up at 4:30am by a drunk flatmate banging on the door isn’t fun.


Speaking of your flatmates, you’ll want to try and make friends with a few of them. Nothing would suck more than having to live with people you hate. One way to do this, I’ve discovered, is to make tea. Yes, I know, how quaint of me, but it really does help. After moving into your new home, you need to try and get to know your roommates. After everyone has moved in, try and get them all into the kitchen/communal area, offer them tea or coffee, maybe some biscuits, and offer up conversation. This also works when you meet the families of your flatmates. If you offer tea and coffee to the families helping their ‘baby’ move in to this strange, new place they’ll be more at ease. At least there’s one nice person in the flat, right? Besides, if you offer free biscuits, you’re friends for life.

You want to make friends at uni, especially with your flatmates. However, you don’t want to be a pushover. If someone isn’t cleaning up after themselves in the flat, call them out on it. If someone is trying to force you to go somewhere or do something you don’t want to do, just say no. Obviously making friends is important, but not more important than your own comfort and wellbeing. You don’t want to fail an inspection and get fined because someone else left their dirty dishes in the sink. Admittedly, there is a flip side to this. Don’t be that person either. If you’re the type of flatmate that doesn’t clean up after themselves and never takes the bins out, you’re going to be the unpopular one. It doesn’t take much effort, and you’ll be in with a much better chance of getting along.

It’s not all doom and gloom, I promise. Once you’ve settled in and got the hang of things, university is one of the best experiences of your life. You’ll make friends that will stick with you until your old and grey, then you die and become ghost friends. As many of us know, one of the perks of having friends, is having jokes made at your expense (when it’s all teasing and in good nature). What you’ll find in uni, is that it’s your accent and mannerisms that become material for endless teasing. People in university aren’t usually local. They come from all over the world and everyone is different. If you’re like me and you come from the Valleys, you’ll probably be asked to quote Gavin and Stacey. Don’t try and fight it, it doesn’t help. While it may get annoying getting asked to say “what’s occurrin’?”, don’t forget that you can do the same to them, and it really does bring people closer. While we’re on the subject of accents and where we come from, here’s something else you need to know. As far as university students are concerned, the North and South rivalry is of utmost importance. The midlands do not exist, you have to pick a side and be prepared to stick with it.

There are many other things that I could tell you about being a Fresher, but not here and now. Learning is all part of the fun, isn’t it? It’s part of the experience. So, it’s just good luck.

Aberystwyth University logo and Seafront Photography:

Leonardo Dicaprio image: ‘The Great Gatsby’, as found at:

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