During Freshers, new students are making purchasing decisions in new brand categories for the very first time, along with stocking up on everything they need for their new home and lifestyle at University. One of our in-house student marketing experts spoke with Amanda – a 21-year-old student studying Bioengineering at Loughborough University – to get her take on Freshers. Find out how Amanda approached shopping for her time at Uni and discover if, looking back, she would do things differently.
Studies bioengineering in Loughborough
What were you excited about when starting uni?
I was excited about everything! Making new friends, learning new things. For some people they go to do a subject they’ve already done before, but for me, bioengineering was a whole new thing, so I was excited about that. It was also my first experience living away from home.
What were you nervous about?
I didn’t know anyone who was also going to Loughborough with me so I was nervous about meeting a whole bunch of new people and having to try and make friends with them. I was nervous about having to look after myself for the first time – cooking my own meals and doing my own washing, and stuff like that.
What did you buy to prepare and when did you start shopping?
I mostly bought stuff for my room and the kitchen. Fairy lights – always a classic! New sheets, things that I needed for cooking. I started shopping with my parents around June/July, just after A-levels. Something I didn’t actually buy at the time but I’m definitely glad that I brought is my dressing gown, cos it was so helpful to just be able to whip it on to go into the kitchen.
What did you wish you’d bought?
There are some things I didn’t realise I needed at the time, until I’d been there a week or so, but luckily my parents came up to visit only a month or so in because it was my birthday, so they took me shopping and we bought all the things I wish I’d bought originally. I had to go to Primark and buy tea towels because I’d only brought three and I didn’t want to wash them all. I also didn’t have any storage boxes to put under my bed.
What events did you attend during Freshers Week?
Pretty much everything I could! I was insanely busy for that first week. I went on nights out with my hall. I went to both of the Freshers’ Fairs, we had two – a society one and a sports one, which was great. I went to a bunch of different tasters for different societies and sports.
What would you do differently?
If I could go back and give myself some advice about getting through that first week, it would be that I didn’t need to focus on just making friends with the people in my hall and my flat. Really I should have just been focusing on making friends with whoever I could. I wish I’d focused more on societies, picked a couple of them and gone to all the events, and really committed to it.
Do you remember any brands promoting themselves on campus at the time?
There were a few brands that were at the Freshers Fair. Domino’s was a big one – they were giving out free pizzas, which was incredible. I’m pretty sure in that first week I lived off Domino’s pizza, I had it for at least six meals! Although I’m now gluten-free, and it’s a bit disappointing that they don’t do gluten-free pizza for free. I think Now TV were at the fair as well, advertising a special student deal.
What would you have liked to see from brands during Freshers?
Before Freshers, it would have been nice to see specific deals for things I needed at uni, like storage and kitchen tools. I didn’t get any of that with student discounts. There are special student packages but most students don’t go for that, unless they don’t have any idea what they want. They’ll buy everything individually, and it would have been nice if it was marketed towards students, for example ‘here’s a list of 10 things you need for uni, here’s a student discount on all of them.’ That would have been cool.