Etiquette for Freshers
Follow these golden rules to ensure that you start your university course as you mean to go on.
- Operate an open door policy when you move into your residence hall. People will inevitably drop by and they may even become real friends.
- Have tea, coffee, some cans of beer or a bottle of wine available (remember to bring a kettle, mugs, glasses etc. when you pack), and greet everyone with a friendly hello.
- Use the communal areas, frequent the bars (even if you don't drink). Get out of your room and socialise.
- Drop the nickname that your friends at school used - it will probably just sound silly in a new environment
- Accept that - at first - conversational gambits are going to centre on your A level results, the school you went to, the course you've chosen, what you did in your gap year. These are ice-breakers, and may lead on to more interesting things.
- Listen to what other people tell you, and ask questions. Don't bang on about yourself all the time, or your new friends will soon be making for the door.
- Introduce yourself to strangers at Freshers' Week parties. Everyone is in the same boat, so don't worry about making the first move. If you like the look of someone, go up to them, tell them your name, ask them a few questions, and listen carefully. Keep smiling.
- Swap email addresses or phone numbers if you want to see them again. Don't tell complete strangers where you live or you may find yourself besieged by unwanted visitors. If you use email or mobiles to vet your new acquaintances you can always have second thoughts.
- Avoid getting very drunk, swearing excessively, being too flirtatious or too easy - first impressions count even at uni and you'll find it hard to live down a bad reputation gained in the first week.
- You may not stick with the friends you make during Freshers' week. If you realise that they're boring, fanatical, mean-spirited geeky etc., you can always move on. So approach the whole social maelstrom in a spirit of adventure and discovery.
- Be a joiner. Freshers' fairs lay out a tempting array of societies and clubs, but don't go mad. Sign up for things you're actually interested in (liking the look of the student manning the stall isn't a good enough reason!) and you might actually stay the course.
- Be open to new experiences, but exercise a little caution. Don't blow all your money on a flat-screen tv, or fall in love with the first person you meet, or become best friends with the uni freak. You may end up regretting your freshers' week antics for the next three years…
- Above all, be friendly. Keep smiling, and accept invitations whenever possible. You'll only be a fresher once!