Excited about going to university or perhaps finding it daunting? Having finished my first year at university, I can remember the worries about whether I would meet friends or be able to cope having to do ‘adult things’ like budgeting and cooking.

However, without a doubt this first year has been the best experience even if it meant moving from where I grew up in Thornton Heath, writes Sophie Borthwick, who is studying History and Modern World at Winchester.

Parents or others who give you advice may tell you to “join loads of societies, socialise and work hard” but this really is the case. The Fresher’s Fayres are a great way to speak to students and sign up to societies even if you don’t end up joining them. Personally, I signed up to about 10 but only ended up sticking with women’s rugby.

Having a different group of friends, especially from holder years, is helpful when needing advice and letting off steam whilst having fun. Freshers is also a time to talk to people and build friendship groups by going to student union events and hanging out.

My experience has made me grow up and enjoy becoming independent while learning a subject from specialised lecturers. Just having friends who understand the work load and enjoy the subject as much as you are great.

Going to university is a new experience and much more than I imagined it would be but has been more exciting than scary and everyone is in the same boat at the beginning. Just have fun and enjoy the experience and freedom!


-Clothes – Don’t take the whole wardrobe… take clothes for first semester only Stationary, notepads, folders

-Small first aid kit/ medicine – unfortunately freshers flu is real!

-Fancy dress outfits – the funnier the better

-Student cooking book full of hangover meals and basics! Home comforts such as pictures, posters and cards

-Storage unit – check with the universityfirst as they might have plenty of storage there

-Cooking equipment – just take the essentials and check what they have and what flat/housemates are taking – you don’t want eight toasters!

-Key documents

-Alarm clock without snooze button for those early morning lectures

-Bank of mum and dad!