Freshers is an vital initiation to uni life that will leave you with blurred memories, an empty wallet and a cracker of a hangover.
Mixing with new people, drinking more than ever and eating greasy takeaways will leave your immune system battered and with the classic ‘freshers flu’ that is bloody miserable, especially when you don’t have your family to make a fuss of you.
You’ll hear the phrase ‘watch out for freshers’ 13’ thrown around a lot because over the first few months of uni most freshers gain about 13 pounds (almost a stone). It’s so much more important to get involved and enjoy than obsess about your weight but sudden weight gain can effect your self esteem, energy levels and mental health so it’s worth being aware of.
Here I have put together a few bits of realistic and down to earth advice to help you survive freshers in one, relatively healthy piece:
Might sound obvious, but its so important that you drink plenty of water, especially as alcohol dehydrates you (and so do the hungover cups of tea). Buy a water bottle and keep it with you all the time, in your bag or on your bedside table. I find that way I’m way more likely to drink the 2 litres you should be having a day.
Water helps with concentration, energy, alertness and prevent headaches as well as being helping your body get rid of toxins from alcohol. It makes your skin clearer and softer, and your hair and nails shinier. Really, water is key and it’s FREE.
Before going to bed after a night out try and drink a pint of water. Might seem boring but you will thank me in the morning when you practically don’t have a hangover! Also, if you are feeling a little too sloshed in the club ask for a glass of water and wait 30 mins before your next drink. It is so worth it instead of having to bail out early and miss the rest of the night out when you vomit on the dance floor.
You will probably be drunk for most of freshers. It’s part of uni, and I am certainly not one to judge after my first year! Some tips: for pre-drinks, when you are playing drinking games don’t make your drinks too strong. If you are drinking spirits and you play with a shot of alcohol and the rest mixer, you will still be drunk by the time you go out and enjoy. But trust me, me and many of my friends have got dressed up for pre-drinks, started playing games and then ended up tucked in to bed at 11 with a sick bucket. Take it easy and you will last the night.
Don’t mix!!! Lying on my bedroom floor in second year with only my house mates hamster for company I felt so sick that I genuinely cried (and missed the whole house party). I got so excited it was my birthday that I started with prosecco, had a couple g and ts, accepted some shots from well meaning friends, had a cheeky can of beer in the garden. If you mix alcohol I promise you will feel rubbish. It makes you nauseous and will hurt your tummy, so you can’t actually enjoy yourself. So, choose a drink and stick to it. (Maybe don’t start with prosecco cos you’ll be skint by the end of the night)
Takeaways are expensive and absolutely packed with grease, additives and chemicals that will make you feel bloated, tired and cranky. I promise it’s worth cooking a simple meal in 30 minutes, as you have to wait for just that long for it to arrive. You will save money and you will feel 10 times better.
To save time you can get boil in the bag rice. Boil it for a few minutes then chuck it into a frying pan with frozen peas and sweetcorn, maybe an egg (just crack it in a mix) and you’ve got egg fried rice (a splash of soy sauce will finish it off). Frozen vege won’t go off and you can keep it in the freezer for emergencies, cooking in a few minutes and a life saver for your tum.
I also think smoothies are a god send. You can get a smoothie maker for 20 quid. Then for breaky shove some almond milk (much healthier than cow milk as doesn’t have hormones and contains more nutrients) into the blender with 2 fruits of your choice and some spinach (you cant taste it and it gives you a huge health boost.) If you like you can add a tablespoon of coconut oil and chia seeds or flax seeds. You have breakfast in 5 minutes and you’ve already had 3 of your 5 a day. You can even cut up fruit ready for the smoothie and freeze in portions so it doesn’t go off and it’ll give you an extra refreshing cold drink. My fav fruits for smoothies are berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries).
NB: when you digest white pasta it essentially has the same chemical properties as white sugar. It really doesn’t do anything for you. So, have it a couple times a week if you like but pasta and pesto every day (the classic student diet) will leave you feeling drained and won’t provide any nutrients to help you avoid freshers flu.
I’m not going to tell you not to take drugs. That is your decision. But I just want to give you a couple of words of advice if you are set on taking them.
Firstly, never ever accept drugs from people on a night out that you don’t know, whether you are paying or they offer for free. In the lighter case they are selling you a paracetamol for 10 quid, don’t be a mug. More seriously, that lovely guy or gal could be offering you something more horrible and you could be robbed or worse.
If you are sure you want to take drugs ask a trusted friend if they know of a reliable source. Let a friend know that you are taking drugs that night so they can keep an eye on you and don’t go straight in taking a lot. If you really want to, take a very small amount to see how it affects you before proceeding.
Case study: my house mates in first year made hash brownies. They ate one. Didn’t really feel anything, so that had another. Still nothing! So, one chap ate a third.
When he finally felt the effects he was on the bus and started sweating profusely absolutely certain that there was a terrorist on the bus that wanted to blow them up, and he had to get escorted home and put into bed as he wailed, certain he was under attack. This is an unusual example and weed is usually a chill out drug that actually has various health benefits (it’s not perfect but I would say it’s less harmful than smoking a cigarette) But seriously, take it slow.
If you haven’t done much exercise before I know it can seem intimidating. But if you can push yourself to do a little exercise it is fantastic for your mental health, reducing anxiety and depression (really important if you are going through your first time away from friends and family).
It is also a really good way to meet new people and can be really fun. When I went to uni I wasn’t sporty at ALL. I joined the uni boxing society and ended up training various times a week. I had been so nervous to try it out, sure people would laugh at me but some of my closest friends ended up being boxers, we’d socialise together and I felt my body become stronger that I thought possible! Amazing for self-esteem.
Check out the different sports available with your uni. If not you could join a gym and work out a few times a week. If that’s really not your thing even choosing to walk 30 mins to uni instead of getting the bus could genuinely improve your quality of life so much (and you can save some money on the fare!)
I hope you found this article helpful, good luck with everything!
If you are interested you can check out my article that gives you advice if you are feeling unhappy when you start uni, and what you can do to change things. Check it out here.