A Fresher’s guide to moving-in day
Editor-in-Chief Clémence Smith shares advice she wishes she had heard as a Fresher before moving in.
As a Fresher, I remember hearing the phrase “don’t worry, everyone is in the same boat” more times than I can count. The pressure to make a good first impression means that many people will put up a facade to seem confident and carefree. But you’ll often find that those who seemed to cruise through Freshers’ Week were, actually, just as nervous as you!
However, there are definitely some things you can do to make your moving-in day as smooth-running as possible. Here is what I wish I knew as a Fresher!
Social media is your friend
Social media is a great way to familiarise yourself with university life before moving in. Find and join your cohort’s Freshers Facebook page – events will be publicised there and it can also be useful for finding people in your accommodation. But whatever you do, don’t buy those wristbands!
Don’t forget to research societies that might interest you and follow them on social media! This is the easiest way to stay up to date with Freshers’ events and make sure that you’re not missing out on any fun opportunities.
Finally, join the Overheard at Uni of Exeter Facebook page. From selling overpriced nightclub tickets to posting about the latest news that has tongues wagging on campus, almost anything goes on Overheard.
Make a group chat with your flatmates
If you manage to find your flatmates through social media, I highly recommend you start a group chat with them. Knowing a few names and faces will undoubtedly make moving in a lot less daunting!
Don’t forget to ask them what’s on their packing list, particularly if you’re sharing a kitchen or bathroom – no one needs seven toasters in one flat!
If you can’t find your flatmates or don’t feel comfortable chatting with them over text, don’t worry! You’ll have plenty of time to get to know people as you settle in.
This one is easier said than done. Remember that you can always buy extra bits and pieces after you’ve moved in – you’re not trying to survive on a desert island! Besides, you most likely won’t have a lot of storage space, so it’s best to pack light. Here are some things you definitely shouldn’t pack:
- Posters. There will be multiple poster sales on campus throughout Freshers’ Week, so no need to bring any from home.
- Surplus kitchen utensils. You just don’t need that ten pack of cooking spoons!
- Summer clothes. Halls are cold for the majority of the year, so stock up on some cosy jumpers and leave out the lightweight t-shirts and dresses.
- An iron. No matter how good your intentions may be, you simply won’t use it.
- Course books. Buy them on campus or in a local second-hand bookshop to save yourself from having to lug them around!
Put your essential belongings in a separate bag
Make your first night as stress-free as possible by putting all of your essentials in the same bag. This might include your laptop, phone and chargers, basic toiletries, pyjamas and a change of clothes. Save yourself the hassle of having to turn all of your boxes inside out to find a pair of contact lenses!
Make a plan
This might seem like an obvious one, but plan out your itinerary before you leave! Make sure you know when your slot is and have any necessary documents and information at hand.
Another tip I have is to know what you’re going to have for dinner. Bear in mind that you’ll be tired, so have something quick and easy to prepare. This is especially important if you’ll be drinking alcohol: don’t risk going out on an empty stomach!
Bring along a couple of ready meals – trust me, no one will be judging your cooking skills on the first night!
Prioritise unpacking certain things when you arrive to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Here is what I recommend:
- Give your room a quick clean – it’s easier to do this at the beginning rather than halfway through the unpacking process! Wipe down your desk and freshen up the bathroom if you have an en-suite
- Make your bed! You’ll thank yourself later.
- Secure your kitchen storage space – no one wants that awkwardly shaped cupboard, so make sure you get in there early.
Anything else, such as setting up a printer or organising trinkets, can wait!
Go say hello!
First of all, let me set the record straight – the ‘leave your door open’ tip is a myth! A lot of halls will have fireproof doors, so keeping them open is often very difficult.
The best way to get to know your flatmates is to sit in the kitchen and chat as people drift in and out. You can also send a message into your flat’s group chat to ask what people’s plans are for the night. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, even if it might feel awkward at first. You will thank yourself later.
Look after yourself
Moving-in day is certainly exciting, but it can also be very overwhelming. It’s absolutely okay and completely normal to feel lost! One minute, your family will be bustling around you and helping you unpack, and the next you’ll be on your own.
I found that getting to know my flatmates helped keep me distracted and stopped me from overthinking too much. But if you would rather unwind in your room, that’s fine too!
Remember, your university experience doesn’t have to resemble what social media depicts. Stay true to yourself, but also remain open to trying new things. University is a fresh start, so make the most of it!