Surviving the first month at uni is exciting but can also be overwhelming. You’re in a new city, new home, on your own, with a host of new choices to make and experiences to try. As a matter of fact, it can actually get more overwhelming than exciting, really fast. Don’t fret! We sat down with second-year Lucy Fields (aka Clemmie) about settling in and her first month as a fresher. Get ready for some real-life advice and great insights into uni and fresher life! 

Q: What are your tips for making the most of your first month at uni?

A: Pace yourself; there’s so much going on, especially the first week. You can feel pressured to get out and socialise, but moving is exhausting, and you have ALL year. Not to mention, getting registered at uni, setting up your apartment, meeting new people, starting courses—it’s a lot. Don’t burn yourself out.. Make sure you have enough time and energy to attend your uni’s activity or sports fair to learn about different clubs. I found this super helpful and it’s crazy how much is on offer. Plus you can be a beginner which I really liked.   

With that said, do make sure you take advantage of Fresher’s Week or Welcome Week as Hallam call it. There’s loads of events and concerts. Once you’re settled in, take the opportunity to explore and meet your course mates. Some of my course mates have become my best friends! 

Q: What was the most surprising thing about Sheffield? 

A: How many students are in Sheffield! I really wanted an urban uni experience, and I was worried that it would feel like one giant uni and not the real-world. And while it’s crazy how many students there are (and also amazing, so.many.student.discounts.), it still feels like a bustling city—I loved it immediately! 

Q: Okay, we talked about the good, now let’s cover the ugly. What was the worst part of the first month? 

A: Fresher’s flu. It’s real, it’s a thing, and even when you’re relatively “healthy” it happens, and it sucks. I got a touch of cold about my second week, it wasn’t as bad as some, but it was still grim. Keep extra vitamin C on hand people! I missed my Mum’s home cooking at this time!

freshers flu causes

Image Credit: Save the Student

Q: What were some of the lessons you learned about coursework?

A: Respect the deadlines, don’t get into a habit of waiting until the last minute, it’s a slippery slope! It can be tempting to miss lectures when the slides are online, but it’s really not the same thing as going in person. (Also, remember you’re paying for those lectures, skipping is like throwing away money!) Halfway through term I started planning my week ahead, including essay prep and writing—super helpful to stay on track. 

Q: What did you find the most difficult?

A: Budgeting my expenses. LIV Student is all-inclusive, which is SO helpful, but I had trouble figuring out all my personal expenses and not spending too much on nights out or shopping. So many little things pop-up that you might not account for! It’s a real learning curve. Also Student Loans don’t last forever, so don’t be tempted to go crazy when it hits your account!

Q: Looking back, is there anything you’d change about your first month at uni?

A: Honestly, I feel like I did pretty well getting used to the change.  My brother is at Manchester Met so he gave me some solid pointers. If I were to give advice, I would say that everyone is WAY more willing to make friends, talk to strangers, etc. in the first few weeks. So don’t waste time being shy. The first month is the best time to meet people (especially those on your course), widen your social circle, and hopefully find a few good mates! Remember, everyone is in the same situation, so you’re never alone. 

Also, be up-front with your flatmates about things that bother you. Living with new people can be tough. Being honest from the get-go sets up a successful relationship. It’s amazing how small things like leaving dirty pots on the side can cause tension in the apartment.


Make the Most of Your First Month at Uni 

Thanks to Lucy for sharing her experience with us! Being a fresher is a scary and awesome time. Remember that everyone is just as nervous as you. See the transition as an adventure! Take advantage of all that Sheffield, your university, and LIV Student has to offer.

For more resources on student life, check out some of our other guides: