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Top 5 rules for surviving freshers' week as a student nurse

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Looking for some advice on how to make the most of the up-coming Freshers’ Week? Our new mental health student editor, Heather Phelan, has some tricks up her sleeve that are well-worth knowing… 

Fresher’s week. You’re still finding your way around campus, getting your head around your finances, and deciding which of your local takeaways does the best Hawaiian pizza (just kidding – no one likes Hawaiian). Luckily for you, I’ve been through it already, and can give you a few tips to make the most of all freshers week has to offer (and what to avoid to make it easier)…


1) Get as much free stuff as possible.
That’s what the freshers fayre is for! It’s not just keyrings and Haribo that you can get a hold of, but local businesses like Dominos hand out free products and vouchers for future discounts. Who can say no to free food? There’ll also be handy things like memory sticks, mugs and stationery, which save you buying those things for yourself.

2) Careful what you sign up for.
The downside of the freshers fayre is that all the university clubs and organisations sometimes only give you these free things if you sign up for their mailing list. This is great if you actually want to join a club, but if you’re not careful, you’ll kick yourself when it’s three years later and you’re still getting daily emails from the a capella group you joined because you watched Pitch Perfect last week and thought you might have an undiscovered talent. So watch out. That free pack of Starburst is not worth it.

3) Beware of Freshers Friends
The great thing about freshers week is that it’s super easy to make new friends. You’ll meet fun people straight away, and swear you’ll be friends forever. But be wary. Uni is a time of change. You’ll change, and the people around you will change. And sometimes, first impressions lie, and the girl who lives across the hall from you who seemed so friendly actually ends up stealing your expensive organic almond milk out of the fridge (don’t think I didn’t notice, Caroline).

So don’t force yourself to stay friends with the first people you meet. If you have nothing in common with your freshers friends, don’t feel guilty – just move on.

4) Don’t buy every textbook on your “recommended reading” list.
Here’s the thing: you start uni, you download your module handbooks, and you get really excited about all the new things you’re going to learn. You vow to be the best student ever, and can just picture yourself turning up on your first day of lectures, all ready to recite the standard procedure for inserting a nasogastric tube.

But there’s no need to be Hermione Granger just yet. Wait until you start lectures, and it’ll become clear which textbooks are necessary to buy and which ones you can get in the library. Nursing textbooks can be pricey, so save yourself the cash.

5) Don’t worry
You know all those worries that are keeping you up at night? All your worst fears about starting your nursing degree? None of them are going to happen. I can pretty much promise you – that’s right, I’m that confident.

You’re worried that you won’t make any friends (you will) and that you’ll fail all your exams (you won’t) and that you’ll struggle living on your own (within a month you’ll be loving your new found independence). But if you do find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take advantage of your university’s counselling and wellness services.

There’s lots of support out there, whether you’re struggling financially or just need someone to talk to.

Ultimately, just don’t put so much pressure on yourself. The next three years of your life are going to be an adventure. This is the beginning, and you’re going to be okay.


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