Check out one psychologist’s 5-step guide to surviving freshers’ week as an introvert.
Freshers week is here, and while it can be a very exciting time, it can also be extremely nerve-wracking, especially for those students who are a little more introverted.
With this in mind, Northumbria University has surveyed current A-level students to ask how they feel about freshers’ week and the aspects they are the most nervous about. They have also spoken to psychotherapist Tasha Bailey who has advised on why freshers’ week can be challenging and has provided a 5-step guide for navigating freshers’ week as an introvert.
Over half (57%) of students say they are nervous about freshers’ week
The research has revealed that over half (57%) of students are nervous about freshers’ week. Interestingly, women (61%) are more likely to be nervous about the week than men (52%).
Almost one in five respondents (17%) said they haven’t researched the support services available at their university. However, 71% said they had attended an open day at their chosen university, which can help reduce those first-week nerves.
Speaking with other students about their university experiences can also ease any anxieties, and 60% of students said they have reached out to other students for advice ahead of freshers’ week.
Budgeting and money are the top worries ahead of freshers’ week, with 39% of students admitting they are concerned about costs
The biggest concerns new students have ahead of freshers’ week are around budgeting and money, with 39% of students worried about costs. A further 64% of students are concerned about managing their money at university in general.
Louise Browne, Wellbeing officer at Northumbria University shared her top tips for how to manage your finances as a fresher:
“We understand that coming to university, and for some of you, managing finances for the first time can be daunting. Preparation is key. Create a budget and try to stick to it.
“Don’t panic if at first the figures don’t balance well – there are many ways you can maximise your income, save money as a student and budget effectively. Here are some of our top tips:
- Have honest conversations with your parents/sponsors about how much they can afford to support you during your time at University so you can plan out your monthly budget
- Funding from the Student Loans Company is paid termly. Set this aside in a separate bank account so you don’t spend it all at once, then transfer your budget to your main account each month
- Attend a budgeting workshop or webinar. They can advise on where to find the best student bank accounts – consider getting one with an interest-free overdraft
- Save money with discount cards such as a TOTUM card, the Unidays app, and a student travel pass (many universities also offer free transportation to get to/from campuses).
- Remember, your University’s wellbeing team is there to support you throughout your student journey.”
Almost a third (31%) of students are worried about making new friends. Men in particular are worried about losing touch with their friends from school or college, with over a quarter (28%) citing this as a concern as they head off to university.
The third biggest worry for new students is whether or not they will enjoy their course, with 27% of those surveyed agreeing that this was a main concern for them.
Having to live with strangers (25%), keeping up with the workload (23%), and homesickness (22%) are all other big worries for new students ahead of freshers’ week. Women are more concerned about missing home than men though, with 25% of women agreeing this was a worry, compared with 18% of men.
|Percentage of participants who agreed
|Budgeting and money
|Making new friends
|Not enjoying their course
|Living with strangers
|Studying and keeping up with the workload
Therapist reveals top tips for navigating freshers’ week as an introvert:
Tasha Bailey says, “Freshers’ week can be especially tough for introverts because it involves putting yourself forward and shooting your shot at making new friendships. An introvert might find themselves wanting to avoid freshers’ week festivities altogether, but there are some simple ways in which they can overcome their nerves and make the most out of their first few weeks of university.”
- Define your personal space
If you’re an introvert, it’s likely that you really value your personal space, but if you’ve moved into dorms your room may feel a little blank and unfamiliar. Start by making your space as comfortable as possible and see it as a place where you can recharge your social battery whenever you need to.
- Get to know your flatmates
If you’re living in halls, it’s likely that you will have flatmates or neighbours, and this can be a great place to start socialising. Even if they don’t become lifelong friends, they might be someone that you’d feel comfortable venturing out with for events in that first week.
- Challenge yourself just a little
University can be a playground for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and since nobody knows you just yet, it can be a great time to experiment. Maybe try saying hello, giving a compliment to someone new, or even just eye contact and a smile.
- Go slow!
It can be tempting to want to attend every single fresher event in fear of FOMO. However, that is a sure road to social burnout. Be selective in who and what you give your time to.
- It’s not a friendship race
Remember, most people don’t make all of their university friendships in freshers’ week alone. From lectures to societies, you will have lots of time to meet your type of people over the next few years.
Press release by Northumbria University