22 Top Tips for Freshers

22 Top Tips, Advice and Opportunities for Derby Freshers

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22 Top Tips, Advice and Opportunities for Derby Freshers:

Being a fresher can be a scary prospect, new city, surrounded by new people and most importantly a newfound freedom. However, it’s also a time to embrace these changes and kickstart your university life in style (or at least with attempted style). That being said, and with moving day growing ever closer, here’s a list of 22 top tips, advice and opportunities for you guys as Derby’s newest Freshers:

A photograph of the University building
Top Tip #1

Become familiar with your university and new city prior to moving - Whilst there will be so much time to explore once you arrive, having an initial idea of the local attractions including the best food, drink, and coffee places, places to go for a walk, what the nightlife is like and how you can get around will minimise that daunting feeling of being in a new environment. This can be easily done by looking through the welcome emails, attending open days, connecting with people via social media and just a good old-fashioned Google.

A piggy bank
Top Tip #2

Save some money (easier said than done I know) prior to Freshers Week - This is often the most expensive time of the university year as opportunities, nights out and events are thrown at you left, right and centre. Therefore, having a budget or making sure you’ve saved enough money prior to Freshers Week is a great way to ensure you can have the best time and avoid any money worries.

A phone showing a discount website
Top Tip #3

To save even more money, have a look at any deals that are being offered during Freshers Week - This year Derby’s Union of Students is offering a Freshers Wristband which gets you access to the biggest and best Freshers events of the year in town. If you attend all events on the wristband, you’ll save yourself £50 in tickets so make sure you don’t miss out! There are also deals coming up on stationary, food and drink clothing at our outlets so always keep an eye out.

Clipart showing budgeting and finance buzzwords
Top Tip #4

Be careful with your money - Although Freshers is exciting and it’s often hard to say no to tapping your bank card on that little machine for a round of drinks, spare a thought for your future self. You don’t want to splash all your cash and then be living off 39p super noodles from Aldi come November. If you’re worried about budgeting, the University has plenty of support, advice and top tips to help you out. Head to the Uni's website to see how they can help.

Staff member Dan holding a branded tshirt
Top Tip #5

Don’t worry too much about having all the gear before starting uni - Although it’s always good to be prepared with the essentials, there is plenty opportunity once arriving to go shopping and get all the newest kit at a great price. For example, the on-campus shops are offering some great deals during Freshers Week and first semester including 3 for 2 on all stationary, click and collect on all art supplies with 20% off orders on the first few months, and hoodies for only £20.

Students gathered around a phone laughing
Top Tip #6

Be open to getting to know people - This is an important one as being by yourself in a new environment can get quite lonely. Knowing how to start a conversation or if you’re shy, being engaging when people approach you, is a great way to make new friends. Whether it’s in the queue at the coffee shop, when trying to find your way around campus or simply when sat by yourself, some of the best friendships happen when you least expect it!

Students talking in a shared kitchen
Top Tip #7

Try to make a positive impression on your flatmates - Shared living can be extremely challenging and so getting off to a good start is always helpful. Make sure you tidy up after yourself, keep things clean and be respectful of other people’s privacy.

A crowd of people at Freshers Fair in the Atrium
Top Tip #8

Attend your Freshers Fair - This year, Derby University are hosting a two week on-campus Freshers Village inclusive of a two-day Freshers Fair. This will be a great opportunity to get to know all the local businesses, sign up to any events or sport and societies that interest you and have lots of delicious food and drink. P.S. don’t forget to take as may freebies as possible!

A screenshot of the derbyfresh website showing the Freshers event programme
Top Tip #9

Remember to keep checking our website and social channels for any new and interesting events - All Derby Freshers information is on our Freshers page of the website. Make sure you regularly keep an eye out for all the events happening and don’t forget to get your tickets before they run out. We’ve got some great things lined up already, from Brunches to Rock n Roll bingo!

Students playing Netball
Top Tip #10

Join a Sport, Society or SLS – Joining a sport, society or student led service is a great way to meet new people, pursue a passion or find a new one! The Union currently has over 150 sports clubs and societies for you to get involved in so visit the website to find yours. If you have a hobby that isn’t represented in our current societies, or have an idea for a new society, then you can start a new one!

A person looking out of a window appearing lonely
Top Tip #11

It’s okay to be homesick – For many freshers, university is the first time you’ll be living away from home and family and friends. It’s completely normal to be homesick and it’s not something you should feel embarrassed or scared about. If you are feeling homesick, lonely or unsettled in any way then make sure you regularly talk to the people back home and be open with them. If you’re still struggling, then get in touch with the Union’s advice team and they’ll be able to support you further.

A student at a volunteering stand talking to people
Top Tip #12

Get involved in volunteering – Just like signing up for a club or society, signing up to volunteering is a great way to get involved in both the local community and the university environment. It’s also a great way to build up your personal and professional skill set to take into future roles. For current volunteering opportunities and further information head to our website.

The cover of the 'Student Cookbook for Dummies' book
Top Tip #13

Learn to cook your favourite meals – It’s always tempting to sit in bed and order a takeaway straight to your front door as a new student, especially if it was a late night, however learning to cook your favourite meals is not only a more nutritious option but will also save you a lot of money. There are plenty of student cookbooks out there which offer delicious and easy recipes for you try so check them out. It’s also always a good idea to try batch cooking so you’re covered for a few days. Things like chilli, spag bol, pasta bake and curries are a great start.

Students in a lecture theatre
Top Tip #14

Go to your lectures – I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard ‘first year doesn’t count anyway, you don’t need to go to those lectures’. Going to your lectures, especially within the first couple of weeks, is essential to getting to know your course mates and academic staff. No one wants to be that person who strolls in a few months down the line and sits by themselves at the back of class because they don’t know anyone. So, my advice is, go to your lectures and settle into your course and get to know your new peers and trust me, it’ll help later down the line.

A group of students wearing UV clothing and UV paint at a clubnight
Top Tip #15

Don’t always wear brand new clothes to Freshers events – There’s really no need to go crazy with brand new clothes for each Freshers event because in between the UV and foam parties, they won’t come out the same colour as they went in. So whilst I know you’re all wanting to dress to impress all the new people you’ll be meeting, no one’s going to recognise a brand new £50 dress in amongst all the madness. Depending on the event, be smart and wear clothes you maybe don’t mind throwing away or recycling after Freshers is over. Top tip: Freshers specific trainers are very a sensible decision.

A taxi sign on top of a car
Top Tip #16

Stay safe and be sensible – Whilst Freshers is a time to let loose, it’s important that you’re always being as safe and sensible as possible. There are multiple taxi companies within the city so make sure you familiarise yourself with these and it’s a good idea to keep their numbers in your phone. If you’re heading anywhere during or after a night out, take a friend or ensure there’s someone you can turn to if ever needed.

TOTUM discount advert
Top Tip #17

Make use of student discounts – Perhaps one of the biggest benefits to being a student is the amount of money you can save through student discount schemes. Specifically, the NUS Extra Totum card is the #1 student discount card and app giving you access to exclusive student deals on food and fashion, tech and travel, and everything in between. There’s a completely free app version from which you can access discounts from the ease of pressing a button. Alternatively, ordering a physical card gets you access to exclusive discounts including Boots and the Co-op. For more great student discount organisations, check out Unidays and Student Beans for the largest range of offers.

A crowd of students watching a film outside of the University
Top Tip #18

Don’t feel pressured to drink and go out partying – For everyone who doesn’t like to party of drink, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. The Union of Students has a range of events where you can go and have a great time including a comedy night, brunch events, quiz night, outdoor cinema and many more. Make sure you stick to what you’re comfortable with and don’t feel pressured into get involved in something you won’t enjoy.

A student in a lecture theatre talking into a microphone
Top Tip #19

Think about becoming a student rep – There is plenty opportunity for you to get involved and if you like being heard and getting things done, consider becoming a student rep. The Union of Students are here to represent your academic interests and we do this by electing over 500 Student Reps each year to represent you. Not only is this a great chance to build early relationships with your lecturers and fellow students, but it is also a fantastic opportunity develop new skills and deliver real, lasting changes across the University. Plus, it looks great on the CV. If this is something you’re interested in.

A student working at a desk on a laptop
Top Tip #20

Familiarise yourself with your course and online learning environment – If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that online learning is becoming the new normal. For many courses, lectures will be going ahead in person, however for those that are still online, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the course and its online materials. Look and see if you can access Blackboard yet and spend some time getting used to where information is stored, any books or external equipment that might be required and if there’s a reading lists or activities you can do to ease yourself into the first term.

A coffee with attractive latte art
Top Tip #21

Take a break – It’s no secret that Freshers is exhausting. So make sure you take a break from all the madness and take time to recharge wherever possible. You can take a trip to the university gym and let off some steam or go and grab a coffee at our Blends coffee outlets and read a book or listen to some music. Whatever is it that helps you relax, spend time doing it.

A student making a coffee
Top Tip #22

Check out our student jobs – We're always recruiting for student staff which is a great opportunity to earn some money alongside your studies. There are different positions available including Baristas in Blends, Retail Assistants in the on-site shops. There are also opportunities with more ad-hoc hours like being a part of our Street Team which invlolves promoting and representing the Union at events! Keep your eye on our jobs webpage for vacancies!


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