Lucy Taylor, 4th year French and Spanish with Management
First day of Freshers' Week!
When I accepted my offer to study French and Spanish with Management at Exeter, I was over the moon! I couldn’t wait to move to Exeter and start my university journey. But as the arrivals weekend drew closer, nerves started to kick in: will I like my course? Will I make some nice friends? How will I cook for myself? The reality of having to move away from home and take full responsibility for myself started to dawn on me. It is a big step to move away from home for what is the first time for many of us, so I have made a list of tips that will help you feel better prepared to start the first year:
Make a list of everything you want to take to university
Packing everything you need to take to university can be pretty daunting, and I was nervous that I would forget something important. I find making lists a super easy way of ensuring you remember everything, and I walked around my bedroom and the kitchen, making a note of everything that I wanted to take. This really helped as I could envisage where I wanted to put things in my new flat. I also recommend buying some coloured kitchen cutlery and plates: I bought all of my kitchen equipment in red from Wilko’s, which made finding my utensils in a flat of 11 people much easier! I would also advise adding a door wedge to your list: I always kept my door open in halls, which made it much easier for me to get to know my new flatmates!
On your marks, get set, bake!
Although I had taken Food Tech at GCSE, the thought of shopping and cooking for myself was a scary prospect and I didn’t want it to become an added stress at university. I invested in some cheap, student-friendly cookbooks with quick and easy recipes, and made sure to practice them at home before I left. Knowing that I could rustle up some simple and nutritious dishes on my own was a great confidence booster, and ensured I stuck to healthy eating habits once I moved in. I soon got into a good routine of batch making multiple portions of meals such as lasagne or fish pie on a Sunday night, ready for the week. After a busy day of lectures and meeting new people, I didn’t need to worry about what I was cooking and heating my meal up quickly in a microwave meant more time for socialising! Cooking with flatmates is also a great way to share new ideas and spend some quality time getting to know each other.
Exploring the Quay with my flatmate.
Get to know your surroundings
As well as familiarising myself with the university campus, I also made it my priority to get to know Exeter, so it felt like a home away from home. The city centre is only a 20-minute walk away from campus, and I loved exploring the quirky streets and sampling some of the many cafés it has to offer. It didn’t take long for me to know my way around and made me appreciate what a beautiful part of the world I had moved to. I loved walking to the Quay to watch the sunset with my flatmates or catching the train to Exmouth to get some fish and chips! Make the most of what Exeter and Devon has to offer, and you’ll feel settled in no time.
Back to basics
Before I moved to Exeter, it helped calm my nerves understanding how the washing machine worked, or how to connect my printer. I found that writing everything down really helped me to remember what to do, and I kept a folder of important information and documents in my room. Staying organised and on top of things really helped me to settle in to uni, and not feel overwhelmed. I would recommend investing in a wall planner and diary to help plan your work and social life, so you see what your weekly schedule looks like. You are in charge of your own time at university, so it’s up to you to make sure you submit your work on time or organise your fancy dress outfit for a social! University life is busy but fun and staying organised means you can enjoy all that Exeter has to offer.
Make the most of it!
Although Freshers’ Week and the university experience may be a little different in first term, you will still be able to meet new people, live in a beautiful city and study a course you are passionate about. It really is true when people say that first year flies by, so make the most of it! First year is the year to try anything and everything, without the added pressure of work counting towards your degree. So, make the effort to go to a taster session, head to the beach or get baking with your flatmates: you won’t regret it!