Top Tips For Surviving Freshers’ Week

Top Tips For Surviving Freshers’ Week

This weekend we drove our eldest to university. Whilst he has spent the last week saying fond farewells to school friends, I have been doing what mothers do best – preparing.

His inbox has been full to bursting since results day with instructive and helpful emails from his university and UCAS on what he needs to do before he arrives and advice on what to bring.  A cursory glance and typical teenage comments of “stop fussing” is all it has provoked from him, whereas I have been religiously double-checking that nothing is overlooked.

Day to day essentials aside, the first hurdle, however, is surviving Freshers’ Week so with my usual attention to detail here are some top tips for parents and their teenagers on making sure they don’t miss out.

  • Even my social media savvy teen overlooked this initially, but 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 during that first all important week.  With hundreds of organised events to make that transition from home to away easier, including a Freshers’ Week wristband to guarantee reduced price entry to the main events, this is where the party starts.  Wristbands are limited and whilst they can buy individual tickets for events when in situ, these make their life a whole lot easier and cheaper.
  • As well as the general university facebook community, there are also communities for their halls of residence and the key societies. Casting my mind back to my university days I didn’t know a soul, a sharp contrast to our son who had copious information at his fingertips about every undergraduate in the university, his halls of residence, his corridor even and his course. Take heart, it is so much easier nowadays.
  • Freshers’ flu was a thing 30 years ago when I was a student and it is still very much alive and kicking.  With thousands of strangers coming together in a new environment, university is by its a 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. Compile a freshers’ first aid kit in a bid to battle the germs, include some high dosage Vitamin C or Berocca to boost their immune system and the all important 21st century accessory hand sanitizer.  In the event that a cure is needed include those fail-safe remedies, Lemsip and Neurofen.
  • Perhaps a bigger 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.
  • It’s not easy adjusting to a completely new environment and meeting new people is always nerve-racking.  It can be made easier by leaving their room door open so that people moving in on their corridor can pop their head in and say hello.  Invest in a door stop.  An open door, like a smile, is inviting.
  • Freshers’ week is all about socialising and getting to know people in a relaxed environment before the hard work starts.  But they can take it too far.  Encourage them to strike a balance and not overload on the club nights.  Sometimes it is a lot easier to get to know people over a quiet drink in the bar than doing it large every night.  
  • Like it or not fancy dress is a big part of Freshers’ Week and if they don’t want to be left out or look like a party pooper, pack a few bits and bobs to see them through the week.
  • It’s not all about the parties. Freshers’ Week gives students the chance to sign up to a range of club 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, but there are also others that they can sign up to after the week is over.  It is important that they pace themselves.
  • 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!

As we said our fond farewells to our son and wished him luck for the week ahead he was understandably nervous about others’ first impressions of him.  I reminded him that the first step is to smile.  Everyone is in the same boat and a smile goes a long way to making the whole process easier.


Have you been through this process in the past or recently? I would love to hear from you and if you have some more survival tips please add them in the comments.



  1. September 27, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    my teen isn’t off to Uni but is venturing into the world on his own in the next few weeks and a lot of the advice/concerns apply to him/me also #tweensteensbeyond

  2. September 24, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    I am bookmarking all you guys Brill uni posts !!! So I can come back to them when the time comes !! There’s so much info here , thank you so much! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 7:40 pm

      Yah I am so glad you find it useful Kelly. You can never be too over prepared and at least you will know where to come for advice. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. September 22, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Brilliant post Jo, loved all the advice. I have one extra tip – which was actually given to me by a police officer at my daughter’s halls of residence. It’s a good idea for students to write down their term time address on a card and keep it in a pocket. Apparently, it’s very common for first year students to have a ‘few’ too many and then completely forget where their student flat is! They also have a habit of losing their phones so there’s no point keeping it on there! The card cuts down on a lot of police time as they can take them straight back to the flat. #TweensTeensBeyond xx

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 7:42 pm

      Oh that is so pertinent and judging by my eldest’s first few days that would have been a handy tip for uber at least. Thanks Sharon. #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. September 21, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    Oh my word, yours and Sharons posts this week have totally added several grey hairs to my head – my eldest is only 14 but now I’m totally fretting the decisions needing to be made re Uni! I never went myself, I took and apprentiship and experienced none of the above so this is all a totaly eye opener to me. You have thought of things that would never have crossed my mind. Excellent post and thank you! I hope your son has fun this week! #TTB

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      We are here to help Alex. It’s a learning curve for us all and the great thing about blogging is that you can access so much real life advice and information. In the meantime just chill, you have a few years to go yet. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. September 21, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    Our daughter left for uni last weekend and I think this is a really good list. My daughter is pretty independent so I left a lot of it up to her and it seems to have gone ok. I think the meningitis jab is absolutely essential – the only reason I was aware of it was through reading a BBC news article in August. She rang the GP and went down for the jab by herself the week before she left as I was working.

    My daughter is in self catering accomodation – at the beginning of the summer she started cooking meals for the family so that she could learn how to cook her favourite ones! She turned out to be a pretty goof cook which is now going down well with her flatmates.


    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Lynne I love that we can all share top tips in this forum. There is nothing like hands on advice and it is so easy to think you know it all and then someone else comes up with a tip you have never heard of before.

  6. September 20, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    After the course was sorted, paperwork done, and jabs jabbed, my main attitude to Freshers’ Week was ‘don’t tell me’. What happens during Freshers’ Week, stays on Freshers’ week and mum, of all people, doesn’t need to know! It’s maybe worth warning new students about newspapers and photographers though. It’s not as if students are normally targets for the paparazzi, but the year my youngest went to uni some papers decided to run articles on freshers having TOO good a time – preferably with photos of them drunk in the street, or off to parties dressed ‘weirdly’. My daughter wasn’t caught by the press but I know someone on Twitter whose son was! He managed to explain away the photos, saying he’d been caught unawares by a cameraman, and to some extent the photos looked rigged, but I still guess he wasn’t best pleased by it, and neither was his mum!

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 8:39 pm

      Mary it’s like the motto re a sports tour…what happens on tour stays on tour. The sad thing is everyone expects Freshers Week to be a nightmare and there is a group that is feeds off everyone’s misfortune. Thanks for sharing that horrific story, it is a harsh reminder of the negative parts of Fresher’s. #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. September 20, 2017 / 3:10 pm

    This will be us this time next year. There is some really helpful info in here, so I have saved it to my favourites along with Sharon’s from the other week. Thank you ladies for sharing your experiences and advice 🙂 TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 9:38 pm

      You have a year to prepare and you know where to come for the best advice! #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. September 19, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    I think the meningitis tip is a big one!

    As an American, we don’t have Freshers week and the same type of University/College experience. That said, I studied abroad in Sydney for a year when I was a junior. The kids in the College I lived in totally wanted me to go through Freshers week because I was new, even though I was third year, but as I was older (and taller) than most of them I put my foot down, LOL.

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      I have a few friends who decided to leave the jab until their teens were in situ, I bit my tongue but I couldn’t really understand why as the first week is a bacteria breeding ground or at least it seems to be. #TweensTeensBeyond

  9. September 19, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Hi Jo! Freshers week! URGH! Well, my Uni Boy is going back to year 3 and I must admit, he still lives by the work hard, play even harder rule that he adopted from his freshers week. Though he really has to buckle down big time this year as it’s so important! I agree re the meningitis jab – essential and also, whether it’s more of a placebo or not, I gave my boy some multivitamins as was sure his cooking skills were definitely going to leave him depleted of essential vitamins and minerals! For those whose kids are going beyond halls into their own rented digs with friends, can I also just put it out there that so many of my son’s friends (and him) came down with awful chesty coughs at one point or another and I believe the damp in some of their accommodation was a contributing factor. So, be aware and check that any damp is dealt with by the landlord before they move in. Good luck to all of us whose kids are flying the nest for exciting adventures beyond the family home 🙂 Hope it all goes well Jo! #TweensTeensBeyond Lisa xx

  10. September 19, 2017 / 1:18 pm

    This is a really useful post and one that I shall dig out next year. Good luck to your son (and you!). Xx #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 9:40 pm

      Glad you found it useful. He seems to have taken to it a like a duck to water but I feel a repercussion post in the making! #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. September 19, 2017 / 12:37 pm

    A little way off for us as you know but I’ve been hearing a lot about this. Forewarned and all that!! I shall pop on to my Facebook page as this will be of interest to others doing the same thing.

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 9:41 pm

      Thanks for the share Nicky. Greatly appreciated. x

  12. September 19, 2017 / 11:03 am

    This takes me back, although it seems a lot more full on than I remember. Connection online is a big step forward and a great way to give information, but did he find all the information a bit of an overload? Great advice about smiling, and I like the idea of taking a door stop too. I hope he is having a great time and settling in. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 9:43 pm

      Cheryl I think he is having a too good a time settling in. That is good I think and actually bizarrely rather than worrying about the cleanliness of his room, his eating habits etc it’s more a case of out of sight out of mind – after all I don’t have to deal with it! #TweensTeensBeyond

  13. September 19, 2017 / 10:59 am

    Good luck to your son. Must be a big leap of faith leaving them at uni for the first time to totally fend for themselves. Hope he has a great time. Sad thing is, it doesn’t seem that long ago I had my own freshers week, but it really is! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      September 24, 2017 / 9:46 pm

      If you can remember your freshers’ week that is a result. I can remember drop off and the first night and lots of cheap, warm wine but nothing else more than that. I think it’s a bit more advanced now – that will be the 21st century then! #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. NR
    September 19, 2017 / 7:49 am

    You mention Freshers Flu but it’s also vital new students get their Meningitis vaccination before they go. One boy in my son’s Hall contracted Meningitis during Freshers last year- happily recovered- but possibly preventable.

    • Jo
      September 19, 2017 / 10:23 am

      Yes you are absolutely right. Thank you so much for adding that. I made sure my teen had his before he went but many I know didn’t. It is a dreadful threat to our teens. I will amend my post. Thanks again.

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