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Nervy is normal: making the most of York as a Fresher

So, you’re coming to York in September! Massive, humongous, gigantic congratulations! A Levels are hard work and you’ve come out the other side with a great result, you should be very proud.

This is a generic picture of some people I don't know awkwardly jumping holding their results and hating every second of it. Because can you even write about A Levels without one?!

Whether York was your first option or not, you’re headed to a fantastic city to have some of the best three years of your life. The whole process of getting into university is seriously stressful, especially if you’ve come through clearing, adjustment or are international. Even when you’ve got your place, the idea of leaving home to a totally new city, or even country, can be very nerve-wracking. Some of our wonderful people (if we do say so ourselves) at the University of York Women’s Rugby Club have come together to share our experiences of getting to university, our tips for easing fresher’s anxiety, and what we’d do differently to make the most of first year.

It's me

Sasha (President, English/ History 3rd Year) (Me!) -

York was my first choice, so I was over the moon when I got my results and was accepted. I'm quite a home bod so the idea of going 3 hours away from my dog was scary, but I figured I would just throw myself into Uni to combat any nerves I was feeling. I headed straight to the rugby club at Fresher's fair and never looked back.

First and foremost, I would strongly recommend trying out loads of clubs in the first few weeks. Have a go at anything and everything. Even if you are great at one sport already, try something completely random, you might be surprised! Though of course you will ultimately end up at the best team on campus, Women’s Rugby! (I’m not kidding…Club of the Year 2017!)

Sport is a great way of getting into the university spirit, and if you’re worried about making friends, it offers the opportunity to join a ready made friendship group of people with common interests. You might be nervous about being a newbie to the sport, but don’t be, loads of us had never played our sports before Uni. Alternatively, look out for ‘Give it a Go’ sessions, designed specifically for students who have never tried an activity before. Plus, sports socials on a Wednesday are a good enough reason to join a club in themselves – you will quickly learn that Salvation is an institution.

Throw yourself in head first (not literally, no dangerous tackles please!), first year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do almost whatever you want, with very few responsibilities. You don’t have any real academic commitments (though the Uni might kill me for saying so), you have masses of time, and you’re away from your parents in a brand new place. York is an incredible city with so much to explore, and so many opportunities. Say ‘yes’ to everything you can – climb the Minster, join Art Soc and paint nudes, write for a student newspaper, go out four nights in a row and then spend the next three days watching Netflix, take up knitting, become an active member of a movement.

Remember, everyone's in the same boat - nervy, self-conscious and a slightly sick at the prospect of talking to loads of strangers. All Uni students have felt the way you do right now, so never worry about approaching a third year, as we remember the feeling like it was yesterday.

Gabby (Tour Sec, International Student, Politics & International Relations 3rd Year) –

“I didn't get the results I expected, so I didn't make the grade for my first choice, or my insurance which was York. But, I badgered admissions and got a place. I was nervous because a British university was a huge culture shock, having always lived in Hong Kong. I knew before coming that I'd find and join the rugby team, and the first taster session settled my nerves – I soon realised that I’d found my new home. Dive straight in! Don’t shut yourself away, especially if you're an international student. Immerse yourself in your course or society. Make lifelong friends and you'll forget about how much you miss home.”

Hema (Welfare Officer, English Lit 3rd Year) -

“I was very excited to get into Uni, so feeling anxious or missing home didn't immediately hit me. I always knew that I wanted to join societies because throwing myself into Uni life would help me do something productive with my time. The rugby club was immediately approachable and friendly, and considerate of players new to rugby, which was great for us freshers because it helped us gel with each other. Playing a sport in first year is energising, and a great stress relief from the challenges that first year presents. It's the first time a lot of people will have lived away from our parents with others their age, so you grow a lot in independence and learn so much about yourself and what you want. If you want to try something different don't feel held back. Look at other non-sports societies too - there is so much choice. Don’t worry about degree work because you won't get first year again and doing extracurricular activities at Uni is seriously valuable, alongside your degree.”

Abi (Social Sec, 3rd Year) –

"I didn't join any clubs or societies initially because I was really nervous. Next thing I know I'm halfway through second year and still hadn't gotten involved with anything. So, I decided to join UYWRUFC and it was one of the best decisions I've made. My advice to freshers is to try and join a club/society when you get here, it can really help with settling in. And even if you don't join a club right away, don't be afraid to get involved later on at Uni, you'll always be welcome."

Caitlin (Press & Publicity Sec, Postgrad, Early Modern Masters Student) -

I didn't get the results I wanted but still got into my Uni of choice, so although I was disappointed it was kind of irrelevant in the big scheme of things. My biggest regret at Uni was not joining rugby as a fresher. I have made the most and my best friends because of the sport, it definitely got me through the last two years of undergrad. I would recommend using Uni and fresher’s year in particular to explore anything and everything you can, especially the new or unusual - it's the best opportunity you'll ever have to do it!"

Hiya Fresher's come join our team (plz?)

The next few weeks will be so exciting, I wish you the best of luck and hope that you fall in love with York as much as I have. If you’d like to give rugby a go, get in touch via our email (womensrugby@yusu.org) or come down and see us at Fresher’s fair – where I hope you will be signing up to loads of cool sports clubs and societies. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media pages and our website for more info. I hope to meet you come the new academic year, but if not, I hope you throw yourself in to Uni and have the time of your life.

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