Freshers can be a nervewracking experience for students stepping foot on campus for the first time. We questioned Kenneth – a 21-year-old student studying Computer Science in Newcastle – on his Freshers experience. Discover how he felt about embarking on a new chapter, how he prepared and when and where he began shopping for all the essentials.
Kenneth, 21 – Studies computer science in Newcastle
What were you excited about when starting uni?
I was really excited about being away from home and being completely independent. I was moving to a whole new city that I hadn’t actually been to before. It was exciting to start the next phase of my life somewhere else.
What were you nervous about?
I was nervous about meeting a lot of new people because I was going to a university that no-one else I knew had gone to. I was on my own with lots of people around me, but it worked out really well. I was also questioning how I would manage to survive living on my own without my family, and if I’d manage to cook and all of this stuff.
What did you buy to prepare and when did you start shopping?
I did research on people’s experience going to uni and I had a whole massive list of things that I had to buy. It was around mid-August I started shopping. The first place I went to was Ikea, naturally, and I bought a lot of kitchen stuff, like pots and pans, plates, duvets, a pillow – so many things. After that I went to Topman and Primark and bought quite a few clothes, just to refresh my wardrobe. And then, some stationery from Amazon and a new computer and some screens to go with it. I had a lot of luggage going up to Newcastle! My family had to help me up on the train.
What did you wish you’d bought?
There are two things. Some more shoes, cos I lost quite a few shoes in the process of uni! And I wish I bought an iPad sooner, because that has been such a lifesaver for me, especially for taking notes.
What events did you attend during Freshers Week?
In Newcastle they had this thing called the Freshers Wristband, it was £90 and gave you access to 300+ events with different schedules for each day. I remember going to quite a few night-time events in the clubs, as well as this called Grub Crawl, which involved going to three different restaurants for starters, main and dessert. It was crazy, by the end I had a food coma! There was also mini golf, go-karting, axe throwing and archery.
What are your best memories of that week?
It was when I first went out on the first night. Before going to uni, I never actually drank a lot, so that was my first experience of getting to grips with that. It was such a great night because that’s where I met my best friend, who I’m still really good friends with now. If I hadn’t forced myself to go out and meet new people, I feel like uni would have been a very different experience for me. Also, I went to Bingo Revolution one night, and I went up to a group of people and just introduced myself – they’re my group of friends now.
What would you do differently?
I wish I would have gone to more events because there were some days where I was too tired to get up and go, or I didn’t have anyone else to go with at times.
Do you remember any brands promoting themselves on campus at the time?
Yeah, so many! There was this Freshers Crew bag with so many brands inside, like PG Tips, Durex, The Gym, Domino’s Pizza, Ryman, Wetherspoons, Starbucks, Amazon, quite a few local restaurants and fast food chains. The Students’ Union was advertised too.
What would you have liked to see from brands during Freshers?
To promote things that would be useful during the year. A lot of the offers during Freshers were very limited time offers. You had to use them by the end of the month, but by that time I hadn’t fully settled in. When I needed them, the offers weren’t available anymore. I think having a better long-term discount, that would last throughout the year, would be a lot more useful and beneficial to me as a student. And also a lot more free stuff, cos I like free stuff!