What are 6 pitfalls to avoid in week one of uni?
This is the third and final lesson about Fresher’s Week. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Review the concept of having a ‘fresher’s week at university
– Explore six common mistakes that students make in the first week of their undergraduate degree
– Use activities to improve academic English ability and to check progress and understanding
In Lessons 1 and 2 of this short course, we introduced the concept of a university fresher’s week and provided students with five key guidelines for guaranteeing a positive experience. While many undergraduate students may obsess over the things they should be doing during this week, it’s also important that you think about the pitfalls to avoid and how best to balance expectations and reality. The final lesson of this short course therefore describes 6 pitfalls worth considering before beginning this exciting – if a little daunting – week of activities and information.
Pitfall 1: Expecting Quick Friendships
Firstly, students should try not to worry too much about forming lifelong friendships with any quickness. There are many stories of freshmen spending their first week or two with their new ‘best’ friend or lover, which later turns into a long-forgotten relationship. Making lasting friendships will take time. It may not be until a few weeks into a bachelor’s degree before a student sits next to someone in a seminar or lecture, or chats with an individual in a newly discovered club or society, that they meet a potentially lifelong companion.
Pitfall 2: Being Someone You’re Not
Avoid trying to be a person that you really aren’t, in the first week and throughout your time at university. While fresher’s week may be seen as an opportunity to reinvent oneself, what is probably best is to simply spend time discovering who you really are and what you really like – with little concern for what others think. Try not to go into that first week determined to be an extrovert, for example, and behave in ways you cannot maintain. Take the time to try out new interests and get to know people in environments that you’re comfortable with and you’ll surely meet likeminded people given time.
Pitfall 3: Spending Too Much
While it might be tempting, don’t spend the semester’s allowance in the first week or two! Although the student loan or overdraft may be encouraging you to spend spend spend, surviving the first semester of university can be a real financial struggle for some. It’s true that many students might be better supported by a wealthier or more concerned family, but try not to compare or add pressure to your peers or yourself. Be practical, instead. Have a monthly budget to help your keep finances on track and look into getting some part-time work to subsidise your loans.
Pitfall 4: Forgetting the Degree
Don’t forget why you’re really at university– to get a degree! While fresher’s week might be designed to support the transition into university in fun ways, there are also study-related sessions on offer that will keep a student focused on the main goal. A library induction session, for example, may sound a little dull, but this is one part of campus that should become every student’s best friend– and with advances in technology, libraries offer far more than simply checking out old books. Miss out on these important administrative tasks early on because you partied too hard and you may find yourself having to work harder later.
Pitfall 5: Expecting 100% Fun
Don’t worry if you’re not always having fun – who does? The first week can be enjoyable, but it isn’t all about parties, making friends and enjoying new-found freedoms. It’s common for students to feel tired with the excitement and nerves of the first few days and for their energy levels to drop mid-week. It’s also normal to feel homesick and to experience feelings of doubt about your choice of major or even the university you’ve moved to. The main thing to remember is that it takes time to settle into new routines and surroundings and to make likeminded friends.
Pitfall 6: Signing Up to Everything
Finally, try not too sign up to too much during the fresher’s week fair. Many students end up joining too many club and societies and later regret doing so. Whatever opportunities you think you may have missed during that first week, you can be assured that they’ll come back around again given time. Signing up for something once you’ve found your footing and have made a group of friends should make you better placed to judge whether or not you can handle the extra commitment on top of your social life and studies. We’re not saying don’t sign up, but just be careful of how much work your present self is placing on your future self!
Ultimately, students will recount memories from their fresher’s week (both good and bad) for years to come. Regardless of personality type, major of study or hobby of choice, there really is something for everyone. To complete this three lesson course, you can test your knowledge by unlocking, downloading and completing our worksheets. After that, good luck in your journey into academia :).
There are currently no PowerPoint activities, additional teacher resources or audio and video recordings created for this topic. Please come back again next semester.
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