freshers week manchesterFreshers of 2014, you’re looking mighty fine!

Firstly, congratulations! Manchester has one of the biggest, if not the biggest, concentration of students in Europe. And we know how to party!

But whilst being incredibly exciting, this can make Freshers’ week (or ‘Welcome week’) a bit daunting for any new student as there is so much to take in during Manchester Freshers’ week.

Whether you are attending the University of Manchester, Manchester Met or Salford Freshers’ week, the students here at Student Map have come up with a seriously top guide for making the most of it.

Things you DON’T want to forget to bring!

suitcase red
To save you any disappointment or hassle when you arrive at university, please don’t forget to bring these essentials (you can always buy a pillow):

  • 2 forms of photo I.D. (preferably driving licence and passport)
  • University and course acceptance letter for registration
  • and some passport photos incase you want to join any societies etc.
  • For other essentials, see this awesome “What to take to university” guide.

A few other things worth arranging before leaving home:

  • Check for student discounts before buying anything!
  • Student possessions insurance – Endsleigh still the best for covering students or Protect Your Bubble for dirt cheap gadget insurance.
    (recent police stats show 1 in 3 Manchester students are a victim of crime during university).
  • Sign up to Save the Student! They’ll keep you in the loop all year round and make sure you have the best time ever at university in Manchester!

So, when is Manchester Freshers’ week?

Most students in Manchester will be arriving around the third weekend of September. Freshers week will take place on the following week, for 2014 that is 15th-18th September. The fairs themselves typically start in earnest on the Wednesday through to the weekend.

To get the most out of it and avoid getting too lost, pick up one of our free student map posters and have a flick through our student travel guide.

Making new friends

This is probably the thing that most new students worry about when coming to University and we know it’s a cliche but everyone is in the same boat here.

As a first year in Manchester you will probably be living in either university halls (like Cambridge halls, Owens Park, Whitworth Park) or private halls (such as Wilmslow Park). Here’s a few ideas of settling in with your fellow flatmates:

  • Approach people – Most people will be looking to make friends and meet new people too so don’t be afraid to approach them.
  • Leave your door open – If you are living in student halls then the likelihood is that your room’s door opens onto a communal hallway. If you leave it open then others are more likely to pop in or say hi as they walk past. A good tip is to look out for the new people moving in and make them feel welcome.
  • Be the Oracle – Use and the weekly email to know what’s on and where.. you’ll be surprised how far a little local knowledge can go with a new group of mates!
  • Build a strong relationship with your flatmates – Whether you like it or not you will be living with your flatmates for the whole of your first year! In somewhere like Oak house you may live in a small flat with 7 other people. Suggest going out for a bite to eat or drinks as a ‘welcome to Manchester’ party. Make sure you use Student Map so that you know the best places to go :)
  • Be yourself – A wise student once told me that “the friends you make in the first week will most likely not be your friends forever.”  Although this isn’t always true, I know for many it is. So just be yourself and you will find your long-term group of mates.
  • Relax – The more homesick and stressed you get the less you are likely to open up and relax. It’s easy to say, but try and be easy going and laid back. You’re at university, enjoy!

Make your room your Palace

bedroomdecorThere are lots of things you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable in your first week at uni. Making your room feel a little like home is one of them. It could also mean that your room becomes a nice place for people to sit and have a chat.

  • Lay your bed – This may sound obvious but it’s a great way to make your room feel tidy and also make yourself look “presentable” to flatmates. I suppose keeping your room clean would be under the same category. You never know when you might have a guest..
  • It’s all about the decor – Cover up those breeze blocks with posters, clocks, beermats etc. Add your own personal touch to your room (even if that means putting up a poster of Britney Spears and your name’s Jim).
  • Have your speakers set up – Get your music set up ASAP and start banging out some popular tunes.. we like anything Bob Marley. This gets the atmosphere going and gives you something to chat about.

Be the King or Queen of the Kitchen

Cooking is going to be something that you will have to learn at university. Unless cooking’s been your thing for years, it’s a tricky transition for most students to sort out our own meals now the parents have let us loose.

But you will soon get into the swing of it (or discover a nice little takeaway in Manchester). Either way, here are some tips to help you on your way to becoming the Naked Chef of your halls.

  • Have the right equipment –You at least need to have the basics. I won’t bore you with the finer details, but a few things that you will need that students often forget are a decent can opener, a cheese grater, some tongs, oven gloves and a peeler. Between you and your flatmates you should have enough (if everyone is willing to share). And no stealing the odd piece of cutlery from neighbours!
  • Use cookery books – It is not cheating. You can get some great recipes and cook them for cheap. There are a lot of student recipe books out there and I’m sure one (or 5) may have been handed to you as a present.
  • Buy in bulk and share food – Even if it doesn’t last, make an effort to make meals a group occasion during Freshers’ week. If you offer to cook a meal for the flat on one night during Freshers’ week then everyone will not only love you forever, but feel compelled to do their bit another night. Aside from good bonding, it’s always cheaper cooking together!
  • Mix it up – You don’t really want to become known as the “bolognese guy” or the “microwave meal girl”. Try to keep a varied diet (like mummy always told you).
  • BE CAREFUL! – For example, do not make chips in a frying pan full of boiling oil (you will burn the place down)

Preparing for student nights out

The clubs and bars of Manchester will be absolutely packed during Freshers’ week. This is because the nightlife during the week is a major part of getting used to your new surroundings and making friends.

  • Buy tickets in advance – Most of the places will be extremely busy and getting in on the door to most major events will be almost impossible. You need to buy your tickets in advance either online or from local places such as Gaff’s in Fallowfield.
  • Get your cash out early – Just like the clubs, cash machines all over Manchester will have a huge queue in the evening during Freshers’ week. To save yourself from queuing all night simply get out the correct amount of money in the day.
  • Budget your dough – Student nights may be cheap but from previous student experiences you always appear to spend what you take with you. In Manchester £20-30 can last you for a whole night out if you are careful. That’s enough for a lot of drinks a nice meal and bus travel.student crossing
  • Pre-drinking – This is one of the easiest ways to save money on a night out. Get to know your new mates by having a few drinks and playing a few drinking games at your pad (where you can actually talk). You’re going to want to be heading out by 11pm though to make the most of the night out.
  • Beware of the Freshers’ Wristband – There are a lot of Freshers’ week bands sold in Manchester. Unless all your mates are already going, we’d probably say to keep clear of them.. lots of students in the past have been disappointed due to the sheer number of people and the expense of just getting into standard bars. If you don’t get one then you have the freedom to go where you want.
  • Go to lots of events – You will probably want to go out most nights anyway but it’s a great tip for meeting new people in the city and sampling the whole list of student clubs in Manchester on offer.
  • Stay safe! – We’re not here to be your nagging parents, but remember Manchester is a large city and unfortuantly can have a darker side. Stay in a group, book at taxi in advance and do not walk alone at night (ladies especially). Put the Greater Manchester Police local number in your mobile – 0161 872 5050 – in case you ever need their help. Aside from that, don’t forget your “protection” if that’s your game..

The Freshers’ fair

The Freshers fairs for the various Manchester universities will be from the middle of the third week of September. Make sure you go on at least one day to not only bag a few freebies but get a good idea of the things available to you as a student throughout the year.

freshers week manchester

There will be a mix of local businesses and university societies at the fairs, either after your money or membership. Make sure you make them work for either!

Watch this video to get an idea of what to expect:

The Student Map team will be along Oxford Road doing lots to get you the best freebies and discounts as well as handing out our amazing student maps (which are free).

Look out for us in our cool red hoodies and red branding.

What to do during the day

Believe it or not, Freshers’ week is not all about getting drunk and going to nightclubs ;). Bar the hangovers, hopefully you’ll want to explore Manchester during the day (and there may be uni things that you have to attend). So, what to do?

Manchester skyline

  • Do free things – Check out our page on free things to do in Manchester for lots of  free things to do at any time of year. If you’re parents are hanging around, find out the best ways to keep them busy.
  • Attend starting lectures – Look out for your induction lectures during the first week. Some would say they’re quite important.
  • Make a day of it – Our ‘things to do‘ section has a good selection of places worth going to.
  • Go for a walk or cycle – There are lots of walking tours, some are even quite interesting like the Manchester underground walk or music walking tour. Or just grab a free MP3 podcast and set off yourself.
  • Don’t forget your umbrella – It will rain!
  • Otherwise, best of luck with the hangover! After a hangover cure?

Sorry, but the dreaded Freshers’ Flu is coming

flu-bugFreshers’ flu is something to watch out for, but I’m afraid you’re probably going to get it at some point. Still, you can help yourself to avoid catching it by following a few simple steps:

  • Take vitamins – Vitamin C tablets are great for keeping yourself healthy. Get a load of orange juice and drink it after you get home from a night out
  • Eat well – If you eat healthy food then you will feel more healthy. Get some fruit and veg in when you go shopping.
  • Don’t share drinks – Don’t share drinks with people in clubs or go “minesweeping.”
  • Sleep – If you can’t get enough sleep at night then make sure you nap in the afternoon. You will thank yourself for it when you go out that night. Sleep is the healer!
  • Exercise – It can make you feel a lot better during the first week of university, especially with all the food and drink you will be consuming.
  • No kissing! – Ha, as if.. you can always ‘buy now and pay later’.

By the way, these tips will also help you to avoid serious hangovers during the week.

And finally…

Freshers week is all about settling into uni life, making friends and being sociable. Just remember to be safe and be yourself. It may seem a bit nerve-wracking and scary at the start but you will ease into it! Have an amazing time!!

Oh, and if you have any questions, give us a Tweet or head to our Facebook Page! We love to help :)

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