Survival guide

Uni 101: How to survive your first few weeks

September is almost here, which means one thing: Freshers week! Though once the excitement of Freshers is packed away for another year, it’s time to settle into university life.

University is a great place to meet new people and try out new things, but sometimes it can be hard settling into the experience. Read on to see some of our tips to help the first few weeks run smoothly.

1. Get involved with your Students’ Union

You automatically become a member of your Students’ Union from your very first day at the University of Portsmouth.

Come along to Freshers Fayre which showcases everything your Students’ Union has to offer. Make new friends with our wide range of student-led sports and societies while having some fun and learning a few new skills. Even get involved in shaping your university by letting your voice be heard as a student representative, all the while getting the right support when you need it.

2. Be yourself

Making new friends at university can seem daunting, but it becomes easier when you realise everyone is in the same situation. Being yourself is a powerful tool in making new friends as well as enjoying your time in Portsmouth. With everything there is to try out, especially at Freshers Fayre, you’re bound to find something that’s right for you.

3. Find your way around the city

Getting lost in a new city is never any fun. In the first few weeks of term get to know the local area, soon you’ll know how to get to and from lectures as well as to your favourite evening spot and home. Remember to learn your address or write it down somewhere easily accessible, it can be difficult to ask for directions if you don’t know where you’re going.

4. Start budgeting

Managing your money at university where possible is important and will stop you from having to use your student overdraft (which you’d have to eventually have to pay back). Split your money into types of spending and stick to your limits. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Leave your bank card at home on a night out. You’ll stick to your limit and you there’s no chance of losing it.
  • Try online food shopping, you’ll be able to see how much you’re spending as you go.
  • Take advantage of student discounts where possible.

5. Shared spaces etiquette

Living in student accommodation with new people for the first time can be difficult, but it’s important to be open minded from the start - everyone has different routines and expectations. Eventually you will all find your routine, but in the first few weeks remember basic shared spaces etiquette - clean up after yourself and don’t leave spaces a mess. It may be easiest to set up a cleaning rota for joint household chores and buy communal items together, like cleaning products and toilet roll.

6. Attend your inductions

Induction sessions are important to go to as they will contain important information on your course, including specific unit instructions and wider university structures. Often lecturers will also outline how to get support as well as instructions for the following weeks. These are also a helpful opportunity to meet people on your course.

7. Know your limits

With the excitement of Freshers week it’s a good idea to know your limits both in and out of the clubs.

On a night out make sure not to drink too much and have plenty of water throughout the evening to avoid a bad hangover the next morning.

But knowing your limits is also about knowing when to take a step back and look after yourself. Sometimes all you need is a night in with your new housemates. If you ever feel overwhelmed at university, visit our free and independent advice service for help.

8. Take advantage of student discounts

While you’re at university, take advantage of all of the student offers available, often they will save you money and offer great new opportunities. Purchase a Totum card powered by NUS at a 1, 2 or 3 year subscription for exclusive discounts at over 200 retailers nationwide, including 10% off at Cooperative stores.


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