A Crash Course in Being an Oxford Fresher

Freshers’ Week is nearly upon us, and floods of students will soon be making their ways up to Oxford for the new academic year. This year I won’t be one of them, but with four years of Oxford studenting under my belt, I’ve got some pretty good tips for how to make the most of Freshers’ Week, and your time here in general.

And you know what? These five handy hints make pretty good sense for most other people too.

5) Get enough sleep

Both before you get to Oxford, and once you’re here, make sure you’re getting at least some sleep each night. As someone with a deep love of a warm duvet, I can’t overstate how important those few hours are to keep you smiling through Freshers’ Week. More importantly, good sleep is your first defence against the dreaded Freshers’ Flu. Trust me.

4) Don’t get too much sleep.

Come on, I’m not saying be tucked up in bed before 9 like a granny! So much great stuff happens in Freshers’ Week after dark – some organised stuff, like bops, and fancy dinners, and so on, and also those wonderful nights where parties in someone’s room trail off into painting each others’ faces while discussing the historical accuracy of Disney films. Oxford is at its most whimsical after dark – just see where the night takes you.

3) Say hi – to everyone.

When I was at school, my mum always told me it was important to have three people on side – the school nurse, the secretary, and the dinner lady. These three people look after you more than anyone else. As a fresher, I’d argue that there are four important people to win over – the college nurse, the hall staff, the librarian, and the porters. But there’re more – the chaplain, your tutors, the maintenance staff… What I’m saying is, say hi to everyone. Be nice to everyone. It’s not just your fellow freshers you need to charm – colleges are a big old support network, so make friends with everyone you can! It might make things a lot easier for you.

2) Say yes – to everything.

Freshers’ Week can be overwhelming, especially once you hit the Freshers’ Fair and experience about 40,000 societies vying for your attention. Say yes to everything (within reason). So you didn’t plan on joining the kickboxing society, learning to dance the tango, performing pantomimes or enjoying Greek cooking? So what? Try everything once, and you’ll be surprised what you end up loving. You can decide later what you want to keep in your life.

1) Don’t stress.

Okay, this one’s cheesy, I know. But Freshers’ Week is supposed to be fun. As long as you’re going to the compulsory stuff, and learning your way around Oxford and its weirdnesses, you’re doing okay. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, you’re doing okay. It’s one of the best and most exciting bits of Oxford life – I wish I could do it all over again. So go have fun, and don’t stress.

And of course, a bonus tip – make sure you have a look at our amazing upcoming events. Blackwell’s is a treasure of Oxford, and where else will you get the opportunity to meet your favourite author, listen to bands, learn new things and grab some guilty pleasure novels to go along with your tutor’s recommended reading list?

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