For many, university can be hugely overwhelming with you rushing all over the place in that first week, trying to get everything sorted out, while at the same time, trying to appear normal to the complete strangers that you now have to live with. So, here (in reverse order) is a 10 step guide to a perfect freshers week. Follow these simple steps and you will be the king of university. Maybe.
Number 10: Set a budget and stick to it
Sorry to be boring but at least I am getting it out of the way. This has to be done. During that first week, once your student loan has come in and your accommodation is paid, see how much money you have left, divide it by the 10 weeks of term (or 14 if you can't borrow off the parents during the Christmas holidays) and then stick to that number as much as you can. Otherwise, by the end of the term, you will be living off toast!
Number 9: Locate the laundry room
My other boring rule but please do this too. No one will like you if you smell. You might not need it straight away but finding it is always useful for future reference. And then use it.
Number 8: Find a job
My final boring rule...if you're going to do it, do it now before everyone else realises they are going to run out of money soon and gets the same idea. Weekend jobs are absolutely perfect to keep a little bit of income coming in, but at the same time, still allowing you lots of free time to enjoy university life. Even better is if you find one on campus in the shop or the union for example, which is a great way to meet other students.
Number 7: Get a feel for your campus
Do this during fresher's week before lectures actually start. It is a pain if you wake up 10 minutes before a 9am then find its a mile away on the other side of campus. Just wander round, get lost a bit and visit all the buildings you wouldn't normally go into. Nobody asks any questions during fresher's (unless you walk into a staff only bit - that was embarrassing)
Number 6: Move rooms if necessary
Obviously this only applies if you don't like the people you are put with. But if this is the case do it sooner rather than later, because it is quite unlikely that these people who you have nothing in common with, 'will grow on you.' Save yourself the hassle of trekking over to your actual friends' halls and move.
Number 5: Buy an NUS card
Most universities offer these now - buy one. It is only £12 and the return is huge through the number of discounts that they offer. On top of this, most student nights at clubs now demand this as an extra ID if you want to get into it.
Number 4: Go to collect your campus card in the afternoon NOT the morning
I don't know if this is the same for every university, but when we at Reading went to collect our campus cards, they had to fill in our details, take our pictures and actually make the cards there and then in front of us. I made the mistake of going to do this early in the morning, resulting in a hideously hungover photo that is stuck not only on my campus card for the next four years but on my file as well. Learn from my mistakes. And then, once you have it, don't lose it. It's a pain trying to desperately claw your way into the building.
Number 3: Be yourself
Or to put it another way, don't try to be someone your not. You won't be able to keep it up and it's absolutely exhausting. Just relax, smile and be friendly and you will be absolutely fine. People are a lot more forgiving of weirdness at university than at school, take it from me. They appreciate the honesty =]
Number 2: Only drink if you want to
and if you can handle it...however much you want to 'fit in' no one appreciates cleaning up someone else's vomit, especially if you have only just met them. So if you are a bit of a lightweight, just say so, laugh/joke about it and then everyone moves on. Nobody cares.
Number 1: Join societies
I can not stress this enough. I didn't do this in my first year but did in my second and hugely regret that I hadn't beforehand. For subject societies, it is perfect to get to know older years on your course and a great way to meet loads of new people, who you clearly have something in common with as you must share a similar interest to join that particular society. They are social and have plenty of nights out to meet people in a drunk setting where you don't mind turning up alone. If you ignore everything else in this post, follow this rule! And then you will have a fab time :D