The best things to do when you start university as a fresher

UniversitySometimes you might wonder what the best things to do are in the week before your lectures start, well here are a few things I would consider as important:

  • Join a sports club or society; this is a wonderful way to meet different people that aren’t in your living halls or on your course; likewise the likely hood is that they are similar people to you if they have an interest in the same hobby.
  • Find out what your uni can offer. My uni gives free off peak gym membership for all students for the local gym in the city. This is a wonderful way to keep busy and have things to do, as well as it being good exercise for the mind and for the body. However if a gym is not your thing then your university may offer other things such as discounted sports team tickets like football, or just being a student gives you the opportunity for discount cards such as NUS and UNIDAYS.
  • One of the most important things to do is to get to know where your local shops are, don’t get caught out with doing big shops in your local ‘Sainsbury’s local’ or ‘Tesco metro’ these smaller shops tend to put their prices up, or only offer the most expensive brands just because of their close convenience. Walk that little bit further and you will end up saving a good amount of money; another really good habit to get into is shopping for the best deals, don’t always go to a specific one because for example ALDI offers its ‘super six’ which might mean you can choose your fruit and veg for the week around this offer, but you may want to get other items from another shop such as Tesco.
  • Make sure you’re planned for your first week, if you’re starting soon you should have found out by now when your induction week is and when your first day of lectures will be. Most people will have gone for an open day or an applicant day before the start of uni, however if you haven’t then don’t worry you aren’t at a disadvantage. Google maps and street view are a life saver when you’re trying to find a specific building, go on a virtual tour and on your first day you’ll know exactly where you are going!
  • Another good thing to do before you arrive at uni is to look on your university’s official social media accounts; around this time of the year there will be lots of nervous freshers looking for their flatmates or other people on their course. This is a really good tool to use, you don’t have to post every day but if you keep your eye out you might find some people to help you during your first few days, I met some of my course mates outside of halls and we all walked to our first lecture together!
  • A really useful tip is to collect the best equipment for starting uni, I’m sure your family will be going round the shops and looking out for the best deals to buy you with all the stuff you need for uni, however there are some things you may find really useful like lunch boxes and flasks, these also help to save lots of money!
  • Make sure you have the equipment for your course, certain degrees may need specific equipment for day to day use, and you should have been told about these before you arrive. However unless you are told you HAVE to buy certain books then refrain until you have started your course. Of course it is useful to do background reading constantly, however it is not essential to buy such books straight away. University libraries are really useful and will have lots of different books for your use, if you find you are getting one specific book out constantly then of course by all means buy that book looking for the best online deals to save some money.
  • A really good tip is to make an effort with the people you hit it off with straight away. These people can develop into friends so making an effort in terms of arranging nights out or games/movie nights will show these people you want to get to know them and the effort won’t go unnoticed. But remember these nights you arrange don’t have to involve spending money or buying alcohol, there is plenty of cheap or free things to do.
  • Get to know your university’s facilities, for example most unis have a wellbeing centre, advice centre or a careers department. These are really useful facilities and are there to be used especially for first year students who may have the most questions of all, so make sure you investigate where these are and how to access them if and when you need them.
  • Set up a student bank account, or move your current account across. This is a free service offered by all banks and they all offer different incentives to go with them, so look for the best option for you. The main drawing point for a student account is the fact they offer interest free overdrafts. It’s never advisable to ever use an overdraft however to have one there in case of emergency or in case of a mix up with your student loan is useful, but remember they need paying back sooner rather than later, otherwise the bank will claim the whole amount back at any time that suits them not you!
  • Lastly don’t worry! University will seem strange and weird when your first there, it’s a big step and you will have never have done anything like it, however you will get used to it and as soon as you’re settled in and feel comfortable with your area you will soon enjoy yourself.

Work experience for students


Three months off is a long time – a very very long time! Plenty of time to see friends, family, have a good catch up and even earn some money. However, it is also plenty of time to gain some valuable work experience in an industry your degree potentially leads to or perhaps one that interests you.

You don’t need to commit yourself 24/7 to your placement, as they will offer various lengths of placements ranging from as little as a few days to full time (4-5 days a week) for a couple of weeks. So don’t worry, it won’t take over your summer completely!

Work experience is especially important for graduates seeking employment. The job market nowadays is becoming more competitive by the day, with more and more students graduating with degrees and more applicants per job. Employees now aren’t only just looking for that 1st/2nd class degree in a potential candidate, but also work experience in industry. Both are just as valuable as each other – yet both will teach you different sets of skills, therefore a combination of the two is the best chance you can give yourself in the job market…

So – why are these placements so valuable to students?

  • They will add that extra string to your bow (or CV) and increase your employability.
  • Placements are a great way of sampling various careers and industries, which can help you to determine the right career path for you!
  • They show off your passion and interest in an industry, both of which are favourable traits in an employee. You are also giving up your own time for the placement, an environment in which you have never experienced before, with no financial incentive at the end of the day it shows dedication and willingness to learn.
  • Introduces you to a working environment, which you can apply to multiple careers.
  • You will be able to identify your strengths and skills in the workplace, not to mention your weaknesses – you might have graduated with a first class degree, but you don’t know all the tricks of the trade!
  • Some placements (usually only if they are successful!) could even lead to job offers to full time work, paid work experience or graduate schemes, further placements or links to other opportunities. That is providing you make a good impression within the business you are working in and stay out of trouble!

Where can I find a work experience placement?

  • Sometimes it’s a case of who you know – so ask around friends, family, friends of friends and family friends for an in to a business. It’s worth a shot!
  • Go into businesses and try to talk to management (or whoever is in charge) face to face, equipped with your CV and a big smile, and offer up yourself for some voluntary work!
  • Your university may have a department that helps students seek suitable work placements, so look into what they can do for you.
  • There are various websites including and that will help university students seek placements/internships in their chosen industry in locations all over the UK.

I am lucky enough to have a mandatory work placement built into the 3rd year of my degree, and as I’ve started to look around for various opportunities, I’ve realised how important and useful it’s going to be when I graduate next year. So if work experience isn’t a part of your degree, perhaps it’s time to get searching for a placement and get the ball rolling!

Good luck! If you’ve got any great websites for work experience placements or tips for starting on your placement, share with fellow students in the comments section below!