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Hints and tips for your first week at York

Image: Jack Harvey
Image: Jack Harvey
Image: Jack Harvey

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably an incoming student of the University of York. Congratulations on your recent results and getting at place at our university!

The University of York provides guidance for new students and you can find plenty of general guides online, but sometimes a little insider knowledge goes a long way. Below are some tips not often found in most ‘Freshers’ Guides’…

Buy your kitchen utensils in York. Many Freshers take up a lot of room in their cars or parents’ cars with kitchen tools and utensils – frying pans, saucepans, bowls, pots, spatulas and the like. It can be a real squeeze to get everything into the boot! But here’s a trick to save room in the car: rather than buying utensils before your journey, buy them once you have arrived in York. It means you can save room and have brand new tools ready to use throughout your first year at university.

Don’t label your food at first. Food theft is a age-old problem in shared accommodation, so you’re probably already thinking of marking which pint of milk is yours. However, nothing sets a worse first impression to your new flatmates than labelling your food from the get go. It suggests that, before even meeting them, you presume that they will steal from you.

During your Freshers’ Week, there are two Freshers’ Fairs at York. The University of York is a collegiate university. As such, there is the traditional Freshers’ Fair, in which activities, clubs and sports coordinated by the colleges and Junior Common Room Committees are on show; there is also the Freshers’ Fair run by the students’ union, in which all union-run clubs and societies, the union’s campaign groups and networks, sports teams and other services are gathered. You college version might go by a similar name e.g. College Fair, Freshers’ Fayre.

Be wary of fake events. Every year, shady ‘entrepreneurs’ persuade new students to buy tickets at high prices for non-existent events. Often these events are advertised through phony “Official University of York Freshers” groups on Facebook. (In fact, a quick browse of Facebook at the time of writing reveals at least ten groups and five pages claiming to be official York groups.) This is a problem up and down the country – often it is the same trickster in charge of fake groups and events going on at more than one university. Don’t be conned by their insistence that they’re genuine – avoid them and go to events that you know to have been organised by your college or by the students’ union.

Make a note of local taxi companies before you go on your first night out. Better to have the number ready when you need it!

An extension socket works wonders. Everyone knows what it’s like when there’s only one plug socket in your hotel room. With an extension socket, you can make sure you have enough plugs to charge all of your devices. Remember to have it PAT-tested by your college.

Remember to have a back-up in case of computer failure. Computers can go wrong at the worst of times. Often it’s a mystery, but at other times, the cause is not so strange: a spilt coffee, a fall from a height, a nasty virus… When it comes to your degree assessments, computer failure is no excuse for late or half-finished work (and that’s not a Yorker editorial line, that’s a university standard!). In the event of your laptop ending its life prematurely, having your work saved elsewhere can save your skin in the face of a looming deadline. Bring an extension drive, a flash drive (USB) or a CD with you when you move in.

If you bring a bike, bring two locksYork is extraordinarily popular with cyclists. Many staff and students cycle to campus and there are many routes around the city intended for cycling; you can join a number of local cycling groups and shop at several cycling shops. Unfortunately this also means that York has a higher than average rate of bike theft. An essential asset for the cycling student, therefore, is not one but two locks, preferably of different make or design to catch out any potential thieves.

Meet your new flatmates online. There are usually Facebook groups created for individual blocks of accommodation, therefore making it possible to connect with your new flatmates in advance of arrival. If you are either nervous at the prospect of meeting an entirely new group of people, or simply too excited to begin your time away, this gives you the chance to break the ice before you arrive! But keep to the official groups listed by your colleges. As written above, there are plenty of phony groups out there…

Finally…Not to sound too cliché, but the most important thing to remember during your first week is to enjoy it. Freshers’ Week has something for everybody and it’s designed to allow you to meet new people, try new things and explore new places. Ensure that you make the most of it while you can!