• 22 August 2019
  • 15 min read

What to expect from your first week at university

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

If you're going to uni to study nursing, first of all - congratulations! Secondly, we know it can be a scary time, so Claire is here to share what you can expect during your first week!

Play video: Claire shares what you can expect during your first week of university!

Topics covered in this video

0.00 - what to expect on your first week of university

2.00 Moving in day

4.07 Getting to know people

5.26 Freshers Fair

8.10 Make friends with like-minded people

10.18 First week of nursing

Watch more by Claire

0.00 Introduction - what to expect on your first week of university

Hey my name is Claire, and today's video is going to be all about what the very first week of University will be like as a student nurse.

I understand this is a terrifying time for a lot of people and it was for me too, especially moving over from Ireland I really didn't know what to expect - none of my friends have moved away to university, in Ireland everyone stays at home and they go to what we call college but it's University, and everyone lives with their parents still, so it's very different to here.

So I feel like I can understand where you're coming from about being nervous and apprehensive about the first week of University, and I understand that the first week will be towards the end of August start of September but I think this video will help you now, so you know what to expect and when that time does come.

So, stay tuned to hear what my experience was like and then hopefully that will put you at ease with your upcoming experience of the first week of University.

So I feel like the best way to do this video is just to explain how I found and the first week of University and what I did, and obviously this is gonna be slightly different for everyone as every University is different but at least you'll get an understanding of what it's like and how I found it and stuff like that, because I can't really speak for anybody else apart from myself.

So this was um two years ago in September for me but it's still very fresh in my mind.

I think it was such a big deal for me, as I said, obviously I came from Dublin where nobody moves away and yeah it was a it was a really big culture shock coming over.

So I'm just gonna explain my first day and then try to fill the gaps for the first week.

2.00 Moving in day

So on the first day I arrived with my mum and we pulled up to my halls of residence and this seemed really, really empty, and I actually thought I was going to be late because my flight was delayed by three hours on my very first day of moving to England, which obviously kind of put me in added stress mode!

But when I arrived I thought I'd be the last one there and I thought everyone would be drinking and getting ready to go out and I would be the last one basically, but I turned up and the whole halls of residence car park was really empty so I didn't really know what was going on.

And then this really nice girl helped me with my bags and stuff and I said “where is everyone?” and she said “tomorrow's actually the move-in day” so I moved in the day before everyone else, all by myself, nobody else in my flat!

And yeah, so that was a good start...but no it was fine, I actually didn't stay in the halls of residence that night because it was a flat made for 10 people and I was the only one, so my mum said why don't you just come and stay in her accommodation with her she just got an Air BnB near the University so we had dinner and stayed there together, so that was actually really nice.

And then the next day on actual moving day I turned up again - that's when the whole I guess first week of uni started, so this is where I met all my flatmates and really got a feel for the university.

I turned up around the same time as everyone else and we were all getting our kitchen stuff unloaded and everything like that.

And then I remember we had to go and get our student cards which were kind of in the university halls of residence gardens, and there was a table set up and people were giving out your student card once you gave your student number in, and once you had ID, I think it was and then obviously you got the key for your room and the University flat as well.

But that was obviously before you moved in so that just gives a bit of a set the picture for what was going on.

4.07 Getting to know people

Then in the next few days it literally was just all about getting to know everybody in the flat, getting to know your neighbours either side of the flats and also just you have really just making an effort with all of them because I think throwing yourself fully into it really makes a big difference and I think that will set you off on the right foot and then hopefully from there you have an amazing experience.

If you don't put yourself in the start and you don't go headfirst in and give it your all I think it makes it very difficult to make friends and make connections and stuff like that.

So I would recommend literally the minute you get there just try and grab the whole grab the bull by the horns and just say you know what, this is only gonna happen once I'm gonna make the most of it.

I'm going to just, yeah, I'm just gonna make the most of it, I'm gonna talk to everyone I meet, I'm gonna be friendly, I'm not gonna be friends with everyone but the more people you talk to you the more you can find out what people you are attracted to, you as friends and what people you know, ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ as they say kind of thing.

Just yeah, just talk to as many people as possible and then obviously you can pick your friends.

5.26 Freshers Fair

Another thing that happened in the first week of university was going to a thing called freshers fair, and it's a bit overrated in my opinion but it basically is just a fair on the university grounds.

I don't know if every University does this but I think they do some sort of like welcoming event.

So it's basically a fair on the University grounds and this kind of has everything freshers need to know, from, like, how to sign up for clubs and societies and stuff like that and it is useful because otherwise you wouldn't really know what to do and it also means you get to go to campus.

And I would say, if you have something like this in your University, when you go there grab a few of your flatmates or whatever and say let's just go here together, because then that's all we did and we kind of all went as a group and just gotta figure things out together because you need to remember you're all in the same boat.

Nobody knows what to expect either at University.

You're all probably gonna be straight from school or straight from an access course and you're in the same boat, you have no idea what to expect.

This the first time you've probably lived away from home.

I know it's different for everyone and some people have done previous courses but the majority of people this will be the first time they have ever lived away from their parents or family that they lived with.

So it is a scary time but I think if you stick with a few people and just get to know them really well then that can be like a safety blanket.

And don't worry, it does take a while to make friends, like real friends, it really does take a while so don't worry if in the first few days you're like ‘oh I don't have friends, I don't have a best friend yet’ you can't expect to have a best friend in the first few days, so that obviously will take time to create friendships and connections.

But you’ve just gotta surround yourself with good people, I think that is probably one of the main pieces of advice I can give anybody who is starting - just surround yourself with good people that are like-minded and want the same things out of university.

So if you're really into partying and clubbing then good for you, so surround yourself with people like that. If you're more academic or a little bit quieter look for people like that because that will just make your experience so much easier and you won't have to feel like you're trying to fit in with people that you aren't really like.

So for instance, I don't go out much so I'm not gonna hang around with people all the time who go out every single night of the week because then I would feel left out and you know, so but obviously in freshers I did go out quite a lot that was a different time and obviously a lot of people do go out in freshers but don't feel pressured that you have to.

8.10 Make friends with like-minded people

And I do want to talk about nights out.

I think nights out can be amazing when you're surrounded by the right people in the right environment but never feel like you have to go out or you have to do things that you don't want to just because you're in a big group and everyone else is doing that.

I think freshers can be a time where people get sucked into things that might necessarily be what they would normally do, and it's very odd character for them but because it's such a new experience and everyone's trying to fit in and find their tribe as such, that people do really silly things and just be aware of that, but you'll see some ridiculous things.

But know that you don't have to get involved if you don't want it - I feel like such a mum; honey you don't have to do it if you don't want to do it!!

So going back to the freshers fair on things like that, the clubs and societies is also a really important aspect of university that gives you a complete different aspect of university life that in your studies and your friends obviously are a lot made up their clubs and societies so definitely figure out how you can sign up for them and go to them.

We, in the University of Southampton, have taster sessions which are basically free sessions then you can go to because normally for the clubs and societies you have to pay a small fee for the year or pay per session depending on how the club works, but in freshers they do taster sessions which basically means you can go to the club or Society for free and try out that club or sport and see if you like it, and if you do you can come back and I just think do as many taster sessions as possible if your university offers them because then you're not paying for things but you're also getting to try it out.

It also means you can meet more people as well if you're going to these taster sessions and it's just fun to get out in the evenings or during the day and do things, especially during freshers where it can feel like it's a lot about going out and stuff.

It's nice to just get into the fresh air and just play some sports or go to a society. 

10.18 First week of nursing

So I understand that I probably haven't talked so much about the nursing aspect of the university first week and obviously that's probably what you're going to study if you're watching this video I presume.

So in the first week, it's a little bit blurry to be honest but I remembered there was introductory lectures so this is basically where they go through what the module is gonna consist of.

So, for instance, one of our first modules, I think the first module was anatomy and physiology, so in the first week we had taster sessions to kind of get us ready for anatomy and physiology and what that was going to entail.

That's a really good way of just understanding what's gonna be coming up in the module on what you can expect and how you're going to be assessed and things like that.

So they are good and I would recommend going to them but it will be hard to fit everything in between going out, making friends, going to freshers, various things like that.

But I think the lectures are definitely a good way to meet people in a course and obviously find out what you will be doing in first year which is obviously really important in the first week of first year.

We also met our tutor group and I'm not sure every University has this but you'll probably have something like it.

So it's basically a tutor group I think there’s 10 to 15 people in our course and each person has one, and this is 10 to 15 people in each group and each group is assigned a tutor.

So we meet with a tutor if we have any problems about anything and then also your tutor group almost becomes kind of a close-knit group and they're kind of your first protocol or first like point of contact if you've any problems either.

And a lot of my closest friends actually, we met in the first week and are in my tutor group and we're still really good friends, so that's kind of nice to have and just a really good way to meet people is in that smaller group because I know especially in my course where I think there's about 300 of us on the course it is sometimes hard to make friends.

But if you have a smaller group of people at the tutor group it's really a lot more compact and obviously easier to make proper connections so that's definitely a plus if your university has that.

I'm sure they'll have something similar, just a smaller group and probably you'll be assigned a lecture or something like that, I'm sure I hope so.

I think this is the most I can remember of first year at university!

So it involves a lot of going out, a lot of making friends and finding people that are similar to you, a lot of trying out clubs and societies, introductory lectures and obviously meeting our tutor group, this is what my first week at university consisted of.

And it was a lot of fun and I have a really good time in my life so I look back on it with very fond memories. I just want to say one last thing - I know that obviously starting University is a very scary time for a lot of you and it really was for me too so I completely understand, but I think you can either choose to continue to be scared and terrified and really nervous for the first week at university or you can choose to make it a really really good, happy experience and take every opportunity that comes.

I know it's easier said than done but just try to put yourself out there and try and make the most of it because you'll only get to do it once.

So yeah, just definitely make the most of it! If you like this video please give it a like and if you're new here please subscribe I'd love to have you come back to the channel again and see more videos just like this one.

Thank you for watching, bye!

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About the author

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Claire is a student adult nurse from Ireland, but studies in the UK. She makes vlogs for her channel, Claire Quinn - Nursing Secrets, where she shares tips and advice from her own experience as a student nurse.

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  • Claire Quinn
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About the author

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Claire is a student adult nurse from Ireland, but studies in the UK. She makes vlogs for her channel, Claire Quinn - Nursing Secrets, where she shares tips and advice from her own experience as a student nurse.