by Freya Hanley
A new place to live, a new place to work and entirely new people. Freshers Week can be a challenge — especially for those with social anxiety — but you don’t have to go through it alone. Even though sometimes it feels as if everyone already knows their way around Oxford, everyone feels the Freshers jitters. Here are some very frank tips that I wish I knew before Freshers Week
1. Freshers Week doesn’t determine the rest of your year
Everyone wants to make a good first impression, but don’t sweat it too hard if you feel overwhelmed at first. You’ll be spending a lot of time with the people at your college and your course, and so you will slowly start to get to know everyone better throughout the year.
2. It’s always okay to say ‘time out’
It’s always ok to take a break for a while if you need it — take some quality time to yourself if you need a few hours or a morning to adjust. If you also feel physical problems coming on (panic attacks/ IBS symptoms etc.) don’t be afraid to tell a Fresher’s helper if you’re on a night out. It’s their job to help you out and get you back to college.
3. Feel free to stick to the night-in activities at college
The nights in at college are really chilled and often is a more social atmosphere than the inside of a club
Go for your first jog around the city or around the university parks — it’s a really cool place to run early in the morning. Or go for a rowing taster session down on the river — being on the river is a great escape from the city.
5. Be prepared for some work
Tutors sometimes set you work during Freshers Week — so be prepared that your Freshers Week might not look like your mates’ first weeks at other unis. But don’t stress it too hard — you will definitely have your evenings free.
6. Get to know your welfare rep
It’s really great to have a chat to the people in the year above because they’re qualified Freshers week veterans. Plus, welfare reps are here to support you through your time at Oxford. Don’t forget about Junior Deans who are a great welfare support resource as well.
Most importantly, be open to new experiences. Oxford is a great city to live in, and Freshers week has a super friendly atmosphere. Oh, and try not to be too freaked out by formal dinners in the hall! Soon, they will feel normal (and eventually, so will the gown).