Things you should know during your first few weeks at the University of Bristol

Welcome to the University of Bristol and a huge congrats for getting to this point. Whether you’ve been sitting on an unconditional offer for months or found your way here through the tumult of clearing/ adjustment, I can tell you that the journey has been worth it. You’ve just embarked on 3+ exciting years in the best city in the world (ok, maybe we’re biased…).

You probably think that you’ve heard it all from older siblings, parents, uni guidance, teachers, YouTube etc. but, as you’ve probably already worked out, nothing can really prepare you for the reality of being a fresher.

Chances are that this is the first time in your life that you have been completely liberated from the watchful eye of family members or teachers and, if you really wanted to, there would be no one to stop you from blowing your maintenance loan on endless Red Stripe, Dominos and Ubers.

Just because the pure hedonism (and exhaustion)of Welcome Week has passed, doesn’t mean that all the good stuff has been and gone. Your first year at uni is all about finding your feet, making friends and having fun; there are still lots of things you can be doing to make sure that the fun extends beyond the first couple of weeks. Here are our top tips for making the most of your first year:

1. Stay open minded

Your new flatmates may feel very different to your usual crowd but at this early stage it’s hard to know who you’ll end up becoming best friends with. Don’t be too quick to judge and make the effort to get to know people before you decide they’re not for you.

Finding your crowd in first year can take time — step out of your comfort zone and keep an open mind.

2. Get out of halls and meet new people

Sometimes people become best buddies with their next door neighbours, but it’s really not a big deal if this doesn’t happen for you. You’ll get to meet new people in your course and through any extra-curricular activities that you may do. There are thousands of students — plenty of people to meet beyond the handful in your flat. Societies are always hoping for more freshers so never feel like you’ve missed the boat with joining up.

3. Look out for the people around you

Uni can be a lonely old place at times, and people around you may be struggling with their mental health. Check in with your flatmates and how they’re doing every now and then. A friendly smile can make a world of difference to someone.If you’re worried about someone, or perhaps think you might be in need of some help, here are some places you can find support: www.bristol.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/ www.facebook.com/BristolWellbeingSU/ & www.otrbristol.org.uk/

4. Remember that it’s not all sunshine and roses

Being a fresher can be over-hyped, so don’t feel like you’ve failed if you aren’t loving every single minute. It can be exhausting and overwhelming, and you’re definitely not alone in feeling this. If you need a night off, take one and give yourself some self-care. And don’t believe what you see on social media — uni isn’t one long amazing party, despite what your friends’ insta stories might suggest. If you’re feeling a bit down and feel like you need to talk to someone, it might be a good idea to think about contacting Nightline. For more information, take a look at their website: http://bristol.nightline.ac.uk/

5. Get beyond the uni bubble

Bristol is a huge city and there’s lots to do, beyond freshers’ events, sports nights and clubs on the Triangle. Climb Cabot Tower, walk to the Suspension Bridge, paint some pottery at Flying Saucer Cafe, explore the pretty shops in Clifton Village or check out the awesome independent stores on Gloucester Road. There’s so much to do and exploring will definitely make you feel more at home in Bristol.Check out our local living guide for some inspiration: http://bit.ly/locallivingguide

6. Embrace the Bristol community!!

If you haven’t thought about volunteering before, uni is a great time to try it out! There are loads of charities and local initiatives to choose from. Volunteering is a fab way to meet like-minded people, give back to the community and feel good about yourself. And it looks good on your CV too! At Bristol Hub we’ve got a whole range of volunteering projects from which to choose — have a look and see if there are any that spark your interest: https://www.bristolhub.org/

That’s all from us for now!

Love the Bristol Hub team xx

Words by Anna Trafford, Bristol Hub Communications Coordinator and student at the University of Bristol