Graduate Blog

Making the most of Freshers


Freshers Week has always been the highlight of first year for pretty much every student. Each university and each Union hosts an array of activities, nights out, ice-breakers and opportunities to dive into. From RAG to the Union magazine, volunteer stands, societies and sport clubs – it’s all going on during Freshers!

When I first arrived, the idea of going out every night was something new and exciting as I live on the outskirts of Birmingham, where there are only a few pubs and the cost of a taxi was often more than the overall night out. It was an excitement short lived as I found myself feeling homesick.

Whilst I am a confident person, I find that my ideal ‘time-out’ from my studies did not include student nights and clubs. I also found that with being homesick, I often went home very early and I was always conscious about my lectures the next day.

Homesickness stayed with me pretty much throughout the whole of my first year. I was travelling home every weekend and missing the special people in my life too much that it distracted me from enjoying university as much as I wanted to. It took several months for me to start finding my feet and in the end, I decided to join a number of societies instead, particularly the History Society.

My confidence was massively improved by the History Society as I not only found some friends for life, but I also found a niche where I thoroughly enjoyed the activities which gave me a recreational distraction from my studies but provided me with a network to develop and begin to enjoy university life just that little bit more.

I eventually became the Social Secretary for the History Society, and so it was then my responsibility in my second year to act as a paternal role model for the new Freshers. I shared my own experiences with them and talked through my own struggles for those who were in the same boat I was only twelve months before.

Freshers is a great opportunity to get to know the university, the Union and the city you’re going to be living and studying in for the next three years, and it will throw challenges your way. Homesickness is a massive part of Freshers (along with Freshers Flu!) and it’s important to recognise that it should not affect your experience. If you find fitting in a struggle, have a look around at the societies and sport clubs available to you, and I can guarantee that you will feel much better for being proactive and meeting new people.

University is all about your professional and social development, and it is important to find the right balance and be proactive about your own future. Besides, future employers love to see what else you have to offer which is not solely based on your studies!

About the Author

Samantha F Samantha F

My name is Samantha and I am a 2nd year BA History student at the University of Derby. I have a passion for writing which I hope to develop through various projects and I aspire to become a Public Relations Officer or writer once I have graduated. In my free time I volunteer as my year's Programme Rep as well as the Social Secretary for the History Society, and I have participated in many other roles such as RAG Promotions and Publicity Officer, Marketing and PR Assistant at a college and maintaining my blog, which you can find on my site.

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