Freshers’ Week Etiquette: Here’s What You Need to Know

By Sarah O’Brien

With Freshers’ week just around the corner, you’re bound to be experiencing a heady rush of excitement and nerves…

For many orientation week marks the first time students will have lived away from home and with that comes a sense of new-found freedom. Between parties, budgeting and making new friends it can all get a bit much. So, with that in mind, here are the 4 most important things to ensure you get the most out of your Fresher’s week.

Balance that budget:

One of the biggest mistakes students make during Freshers’ Week is forgetting to budget for all the costly jelly shots and takeaways they’ll likely be consuming. So to ensure you keep on having a good time, figure out a budget, set aside money for groceries, bills, rent and transport before deciding how many fresher’s week events you can realistically afford to attend.

A helpful way of saving and managing your money during the first few weeks of college, is by opening a student bank account. Shop around and you’ll find many banks offer handy little perks. AIB’s Student Plus Account for example, offers students 20% off for the college year, as well as interest free student overdrafts. Handy for when you’re waiting on the next student grant instalment and you’re short on cash for little essentials like toilet paper and pizza!

Pace yourself:

Freshers’ Week is often a baptism of fire in terms of how alcohol-fueled and messy it can get, so it’s important you learn how to pace yourself. Aside from the financial risk of running yourself ragged before you even register for classes, a week of non-stop partying can take a real toll on your physical and mental health.

Nobody wants to wake up with the ‘fear’ the morning after a night out or have to live down a mortifying incident for rest of their college days, so drink responsibly. If you do decide to pre-drink before heading out on the town, swap out every second beverage with a mineral water or a soft-drink and NEVER… I repeat never leave your drink unattended.

Additionally, take advantage of all the free goodie bags you’ll be bombarded with. Inside you’ll invariably find condoms, more condoms and some kind of instant Hot Pot noodles that someday, somehow you’ll get desperate enough to eat (we are poor starving students after all).

Pleased to make your acquaintance:

TV lies to us, of that we can be sure and American films about preppy college kids and pep rallies (fill in the stereotype here), are no exception. It’s certainly rare to see an accurate depiction of university life in Ireland on the telly. The expectation that students will meet their ‘tribe’ or friends for life during their first few weeks at uni puts an inordinate amount of pressure on everyone involved.

Maybe you will and if you do that’s great, but if you don’t, don’t worry. A lot of the best friendships are slow burners, borne out of copious amounts of caffeine-fuelled group work and a mutual appreciation of Netflix Originals shows. Start fresher’s week with an open mind and a warm and friendly attitude, and you’ll do just fine.

Remember one of the scariest things you’ll face during the first week of college is your own insecurities and everyone else is in the same boat. If you’re very shy, look out for your University’s fresher’s week Facebook page. This will help you figure out what’s going on around campus as well as giving you the opportunity to get to know your fellow freshers.

Get settled in:

Living out of home for the first time can, I think it goes without saying, be a bit of an adjustment. Home cooked dinners and freshly laundered sheets can swiftly become a thing of the past when you’re grappling with timetables, registration and how to work a washing machine (yes really).

All that stress coupled with sharing your new living space with strangers can be a recipe for disaster if you let it. First off, get your bedroom sorted and I don’t just mean the functional stuff. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in that space over the next year so make it feel like home with a few cheap and cheerful cushions, throws, candles, posters etc.

Like Netflix? Ask your housemates if they want to go splitsies on a monthly subscription and you can all look forward to cosy nights in catching up on Stranger Things while sipping on your umpteenth cup of tea. Arranging a cooking rota whereby one student cooks dinner for the entire house one night, another housemate does it the following night etc., is another great idea for anyone missing the comforts of home.

So make the most of your Freshers’ Week and don’t forget to use the time you have (before the madness of the semester descends upon you) to adjust to life at uni. And if all else fails? Just breath it’ll all come right in the end.

*This article first appeared on


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