University of South Wales freshers week is always fun but it’s easy to get swept away in its madness (I should know, I did it twice). It’s daunting to start such a new chapter in your life, but realise that everyone is in the same position. You will make mistakes; but I hope these tips are helpful enough to give you a quick head start. Here are 20 mistakes every University of South Wales fresher makes.
1. Forgetting to bring the essentials.
If it’s your first time moving, you can bet that you will forget something. Living with your family ensures that at least one of you will remember the little things. It’s surprising how you can forget something as vital as a blanket, bin or cleaning supplies. Take your time when creating your shopping list, think outside the box! Also, I suggest trainers…the hills will break you.
2. Not taking enough toilet roll.
One of the essentials I urge you to remember is toilet roll. It’s surprising how quickly it runs out and how fast you’ll suddenly be on the toilet with only a cardboard roll next to you.
3. Buying your books new.
Don’t worry about how they look. Don’t waste your money on new textbooks, there are cheaper preowned ones that you will be so grateful for. They might even have some helpful notes inside too!
4. Not visiting the campus beforehand.
I know this could be difficult for international students, but I suggest getting there early enough to have one or two days to get used to the campus. It puts your mind at ease and allows you to get your bearings. It is also a great way to explore the area outside the campus. Cardiff campus is right next to the city centre with lots of vintage shops and unique cafes to explore. Whilst the Treforest campus is next to a few cute, local pubs that are incredibly student-friendly with games nights and karaoke. Go for it, see what you can find.
5. Never leaving your room.
It’s tempting to stay hidden once you settle into your dorm. But do not isolate yourself; go out, visit people staying in your building. It’ll help you feel comfortable, giving you friends you can relate and moan to on the days it feels too difficult. Don’t let the giant hill stop you from exploring.
6. Or perhaps, going out too much.
Yes, you want to make friends. But don’t overdo it, you’re still there to get a degree after all. Don’t burn yourself out by joining too many societies or going to too many events.
7. Getting too excited when your student loan arrives.
Be very careful! Budgeting is key. With all the fresher’s events available, it’s easy to get carried away until it seems like nothing is left. Have fun but remember to adult…if you can.
8. Not signing up to your local GP.
One of the crucial things everyone forgets is signing up to your local doctor. Make this a priority as soon as you arrive. The University Health Service is based at the Treforest campus, but it is still important to sign up to your local surgery, no matter where you are.
9. Trying to use the car park during the first few months.
This is mainly for the Treforest and Glyntaff campuses. These car parks fill up almost instantly. Until you start finding the secret lanes and spaces to park, I would suggest using public transport, if possible, during the first term. Even the lecturers warned me about this during my first week, so it’s definitely something to plan for.
10. Comparing university experiences with friends.
Do yourself a favour and do not compare your experiences with others, at least not until the second term. Sometimes it can work in your favour, other times you start wondering why you haven’t made friends yet, or why you’re struggling with the work. Everyone’s experience is different, enjoy it your way!
11. Not wearing sensible shoes.
Most of the universities in Wales are built on hills. University of South Wales is no exception (as I’ve continuously stated). Wear flats, trust me!
12. Not taking enough photos.
Make memories and have something to look back on. This is such an exciting time, document it!
13. Latching onto certain friends.
Everyone is scared of being alone when they first arrive at university, but don’t let this fear stop you from interacting with everyone. You’ll most likely have a different friendship group in second year, so why not talk to as many people as possible? If you already know someone there, don’t get too comfortable: talk, talk, talk! Every fresher at University of South Wales makes this mistake.
14. Ignoring the non-alcoholic events.
There will be more to university than drinking. Visit the fresher’s fair and other events, they’re more useful than you think! But obviously, still allow yourself a night out every so often, the campus night-clubs are amazing.
15. Thinking fresher’s flu is just a myth.
It is not! You will get sick, be prepared, find the local chemist immediately.
16. Hiding at the back of the lecture halls.
They’re big halls, don’t hide otherwise you’ll be squinting at every screen. If you’re on a smaller course, you’ll only be moved to the front anyway. Classes in small rooms end up with everyone being asked to sit further forward, so save yourself the hassle. The amount of tables and chairs we had to move were ridiculous.
17. Forgetting to back-up your work.
The save button will be your new best friend. That is all.
18. Not utilising the library.
You’ll soon learn that the library is where you’ll be living. Before lectures start, have a look around. It’s good to understand the system and there’s more in there than just books. Scan the social boards and look at the local leaflets, always useful information in a library…who knew?!
19. Forgetting there is life after university.
This isn’t just for freshers but for students in general. There is life after university and you need to consider where you’d like to see yourself in a few years. It’s not something to stress about because university is difficult enough as it is, but give it a thought. In University of South Wales, you can get in contact with Go Wales who will work with you to improve your CV and find work experience. Little things like this will benefit you greatly. Think about your CV, social clubs you’d like to join, jobs you’d be interested in and the experience needed. It’s all helpful.
20. Forgetting to just be yourself.
Probably the most important point. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s the best way to ensure you’re relaxed and enjoying the experience. Don’t lose confidence in who you are and the passion you have. You can do this!