How to Get the Best of Freshers’ Week When You’re Not 18

Freya Hugheson 3 September 2019
How to Get the Best of Freshers’ Week When You’re Not 18

For the mature students heading to university this September, we ask you: ‘how are you going to spend freshers’ week?’

Drinking every night. Sleeping most of the day. Trashing your immediate surroundings and falling out with mates. No? Well, love it or loathe it, there’s a hell of a lot going on that will suit whatever you’re into. Even if you have to look a little harder than others.

Sure, mature students might have more commitments than your younger counterparts, so not all of these suggestions will be a good fit for you. Even so, try and get the most out of your university experience.

Campuses across the country are opening their doors to a huge range of ages, so what’s out there for the non-18 year old fresher?

Freshers fair

Fun for all the students! There will be stalls. There will be free food. There will be overzealous society members trying to grab your attention. You’ll have your pick of activities that span so many different interests, you’ll need a sit down after. And remember, these organisations are set up by and for students. You are a student, therefore you are welcome.

This rite of passage can open up a lot of doors, especially if you’re living off campus. It’s a great way to get to know people, get experience in things you may not have thought to try before, and even see if you can boost your CV alongside studying.

Try-it sessions

Once you’ve signed up for the societies/sports clubs that have taken your fancy, be sure to attend a try-it session. The people in charge of running societies usually have an open event for you to try your hand at what you think you’ll enjoy. For example, you might find you have a free yoga taster session with the campus Yogis, followed by a nice cuppa with the Tea Society. You could make quite the day of it!

Remember though, try to just sign up to the activities you’re interested in. So many people sign up and ditch, which can prevent others with genuine interest from getting a place.

Exploring campus

One of the best things about joining a campus uni is there is always a lot to be discovered. Whether you’ve chosen to live on or off campus, make some time to do some real exploring. You’ll get a good idea of what’s where, who’s where and where you need to be when classes start. It’ll be a bit much to turn up and try and find your first class with only a couple of minutes to spare, after all. 

Quite a few campus unis have something that makes them stand out. Some unis have beautiful lakes, cinemas, theatres and more. But you won’t know that until you get out there and find them.

Food, food, food 

This is one for everyone. Because no matter your age or experience in life, who doesn’t like food? There’s a good chance you’ll find an absolute corker of a cafe. Or, if you’re unlucky, a rank restaurant. Spend a little time whittling down the finalists and you’ll have a headstart on every hungover fresher that knows no better once term starts. 

Most of the bars on or near campus will be cheap. But often so is the quality. Round up some mates and inflict the ‘uni experience’ on yourselves. If it’s seriously bad, you have a good story. If it’s seriously good, you’ve got a local.

Bars and pubs... and clubs?

There seems to be a stereotype of mature students avoiding going out on campus at all costs. But it can be a really good laugh. Everyone in the bars is in a similar boat. Nobody knows anyone, not properly anyway, and everyone’s keen to have a great time. So at least once, take yourself for a drink in freshers’ week. It could be an afternoon coffee in one of the bars. It could be anything – there’s no rule that says you have to get hammered. 

If you’re so inclined, you can check out the campus club… But don’t say we didn’t warn you – it’s exactly how you imagine it.

Find course allies

There might be a chance for you to learn more about your course before the semester actually begins. A meet and greet, of sorts, for professors and students. If you get the chance, definitely go to this. Everyone will be a little freaked out. And the chances are, you’ll be a little more confident than a lot of your coursemates as you have more life experience.

Use this opportunity to introduce yourself and see what’s what with people. Maybe you could grab a drink with people afterwards and get to know them better. There’s so much to be said about hearing different experiences and perspectives on things, especially if it could give you an edge in your degree.

Start a revolution

If you’re keen to get a cool social thing going but there simply isn’t anything that takes your fancy, why not start your own? Every society and club available started somewhere. You’re certainly not going to be the only mature student at your uni. And you’re not going to be the only person with your interests. 

Be it a bakery club, a water fight society, a kite surfing team… whatever you’re into, your university is likely to accommodate your brand new society. Make your university experience what you want it to be. 

Freya Hugheson 3 September 2019