Go to the Freshers fair
No matter how rough the night before was, make sure you go to the Freshers’ Fair. The Freshers’ fair is a true paradise of information and free stuff. Everything you could ever dream of doing in Oxford is brought together under one roof, including the 200+ societies in Oxford ranging from the more traditional football and rugby to the Harry Potter Society. Sign up for anything you are vaguely interested in – you are not obliged to follow up on your interest if you later decide it’s not for you. I still receive emails from the orienteering group I’ve been meaning to join for three years. Just go wild and be enthusiastic! (See page 24 of the magazine, Keep off the Grass, to work out what sort of society you should join).
Talk to a variety of people
You might not end up best friends for life with the people you hang out with in Freshers’ Week, but it’s important to get to know some people in your college, especially those you’ll be living near for the coming year. A network of friends with different subjects, interests and personalities is a real help in navigating your first year happily, and being greeted around college with a friendly smile is always a welcome diversion. Also make sure to catch up with any friends you know from other colleges, and maybe even give your parents a call.
Go to the Oxford Union
The Oxford Union is a bit like marmite: people tend to love it or hate it. Union politics aside, however, some incredible figures have spoken at the union; personal highlights include Morgan Freeman, Stephen Fry and Ian Mckellen. During Freshers’ week new students are given the opportunity to attend a talk at the Union without paying the usual membership fee. Whether you intend to later pay the £248 for life membership or not, I would certainly recommend going to get a taste of the Union. (See pages 22 and 23 of the magazine for a thorough explanantion of the Union).
Don’t miss out on the clubs
Everyone has their favourite, so you should make sure you try them all out for yourself and discover the sweaty, loud rooms you’ll be frequenting yourself over the next few years. In a
similar vein, try to avoid drunken liaisons with people in your college, as this could lead to three years of extreme awkwardness. (See page 6 of the magazine to read the low-down on all the best clubs).
Don’t worry about essays
Freshers’ week is all about settling in and getting to know people; make sure you relax and have fun. Academic work will get sorted, and if you haven’t quite read enough on the reading list (you rarely have to read everything anyway!) then you can always improvise where needed. Improvisation will become a vital tool in your arsenal during your time at Oxford, and you need to start at some point…
Don’t get married too quickly
An error made by many. There might seem to be a lot of pressure in first week to find your college soulmate, but try to avoid committing too soon or you may find yourself coupled with someone you’ll never talk to again beyond the drunken blur of Freshers’ week. Don’t worry, I promise you won’t be ‘left on the shelf’. (See page 31 of the magazine for more on college marriages).
Don’t have any regrets!
Like they say, you can only regret what you didn’t do, so try to take up any invitation that comes your way, even if it isn’t something that you would normally do. Being open and enthusiastic is the best way to meet new people. Equally, think about committing to at least one society. Being part of a society can bond people for life (just ask the rowers) and also gives you access to my favourite part of Oxford social life- crew dates, which will be explained later (see page 10 of the magazine).