If reports are to be believed the new generation of students are turning their backs on the age old tradition for alcohol fuelled freshers' events and universities across the country are making changes as a result.
Hull University has replaced Freshers’ Week with Welcome Fest, which features a range of alcohol free events and reduced opening hours in their nightclubs due to lack of demand. Others are offering quizzes and meditation classes.
There is, however, a way to go I feel before this epidemic for healthy living completely takes over the excess for which Fresher’s Week is historically renowned.
Whichever bracket your teen may fall into, Freshers' Week is a rite of passage and here are a few top tips to help them survive.
- University facebook communities are where it all starts. Once the results are in and their university offer has been confirmed, they can join their university's facebook community to get vital information on what is happening and order a Freshers' Week wristband to guarantee reduced price entry to the main events. As well as the general university facebook community, there are also communities for their halls of residence, the societies and their course, to enable students to get to know each other virtually before they arrive.
- Freshers' flu is still very much alive and kicking. With thousands of strangers coming together in a new environment, university is by its very nature a breeding ground for bacteria. Add to this the inevitable high octane socialising and it is not surprising that many new undergraduates are left nursing more than a heavy head at the end of the week. A freshers' first aid kit is vital to help them survive. Include some high dosage Vitamin C or Berocca to boost their immune system as well as a few fail-safe flu remedies.
- A big threat to our young teens nowadays is Meningitis. Don't let them wait until they arrive to get the jab - it maybe too late, organise it before they head off.
- HPV is present in every sexually active person. It's normal and not an STD but can in some rare instances develop into cervical cancer in girls and there is evidence that there is now a rise in throat and neck cancers among young men as a result of it too. Girls are currently offered the vaccine free between the ages of 12-18 and it is, in my opinion as a mother to a teen girl and a woman affected by this cancer herself, as vital as any other vaccine offered to our teenagers. As for the boys, it was confirmed in July this year that those between the age of 12-13 will also be offered the HPV vaccine. For those boys who have already passed this milestone, it is definitely worth looking into how they can get this jab with your local GP.
- It's not easy adjusting to a completely new environment and meeting new people is always nerve-racking but it is not a time to be shy. They can make it easier for themselves by propping their room door open so that people moving in on their corridor can pop their head in and say hello.
- There are a few essential accessories to Freshers' Week and one of them is fancy dress, so if they don't want to feel left out it's definitely worth packing a few accessories to help them look the part at whatever events they go to should they need to.
- It's not all about the parties. Freshers' Week generally concludes with the Fresher's Fair and is the time for students to sign up to a range of clubs and societies that interest them. It is easy, however, to get carried away in the first week and sign up to more than is physically possible or affordable. There are some, such as the sports ones, that are more popular than others and they need to be quick to join these if it is a passion, otherwise they can easily sign up to others once the week is over.
- University is the first time away from home for many teenagers and there are some admin tasks that can't be avoided. They need to make sure they have the necessary ID and documents for registering when they arrive as well as organising a TV license and insurance for their belongings.
- Student discounts are offered by most retailers nowadays and to ignore them is foolish, all they need is proof they are a student and if they a student discount isn't offered it is always worth asking.
- Last but not least, amidst all the madness they need to buy their books and attend their course introductory social evenings. It is important for them to make sure they are ready to study on the first day of term. After all, that's why they're there!
Have you been through this process in the past or recently? I would love to hear from you and if you have some more top tips please add them in the comments.
Editors' Note : This post was first published last year and has been updated with new information.