Remember your undergraduate freshers’ week? Meeting new people, partying, lie-ins till gone noon, partying, junk food meals, and more partying. And when you did do some work, it was probably the least amount you got done the whole year.
But now you’re a postgraduate, and the work load is heavier; you’re older and may even be working another job, so spending every night partying with people four years younger than you might not seem feasible or even particularly fun. Coupled with the current pandemic, opportunities to socialise are significantly lower.
It’s still important to give yourself a break, though, so here’s how to do freshers’ week when you’re a postgraduate.
Even if you’re staying at the same university, it’s important to give yourself time to settle in again. Remember this is a new course, new workload, and maybe even a new way of studying that you aren’t used to. Whether it’s taking time to change your room around, explore the area where you live or just taking a sneak peek at what’s in store on your course, try not to rush your first week back.
The idea of joining a new society and attending socials when you’ve got an entire library of books to read might seem like a ridiculous idea, but go with us on this one. Whether you’re going to a completely different uni or staying in familiar territory, it’s still important to meet new people as a postgraduate.
Emma Brown, a postgraduate student at Swansea University, thinks it’s just as important for postgraduates to make the most out of freshers’ as it is for undergrads. “It's important to make new friends on your course and not just rely on the safety net of existing mates – you don't want to be seen as an outsider,” she says. “It's also likely that your workload will dramatically increase after freshers’ week, so you might as well make the most of your last week of fun!”
To avoid feeling like an oldie at a teen party, find out what your fellow postgraduate folks are doing – if you're not living with them, you can usually find out through your university if there are any postgraduate societies, mixers or meet-ups."
With the current pandemic, explore virtual options and enquire how societies are being run at this time.
Ever heard the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” We know you want to get cracking on with your work so you won’t have to do one of those dreaded all-nighters that you swore you’d never do again, but it’s important to not turn into a complete hermit.
Make sure you schedule time to see your friends; whether that's in person or virtually, it's important to have contact with your friends and peers and stay connected as we navigate what has been a very isolating time.
You remember what it was like being a fresher. You’re feeling a mixture of being homesick while celebrating total independence. It’s a confusing time but it’s also a time of binge eating/drinking/making friends with people you’ll spend the next few years trying to get rid of.
While hanging out and helping out freshers can be fun in small doses, remember you have a heavier work load than them and your year actually counts for something, so try not to get sucked in too much by those pesky 18-year-olds.
Okay, it’s a slightly boring one compared to the other pieces of advice, but the best time to get organised, get books and generally sort out the next few months of studying is to prep in the first few weeks.
Find out reading lists, essay deadlines, locations of any important lecturers who you might need help from during your postgrad and hunt out some good studying spots outside your house.
Sounds dull, but you’ll be thanking us when everyone else is running around like headless chickens trying to bribe the librarian to keep books aside for them, and you’re sat there smugly actually getting the work done.
- How to Make Friends as a Postgraduate Student
- 9 Thoughts All Postgraduate Students Are Guaranteed to Have at Some Point
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