Starting University for many can be a daunting experience. If you’re living away from home for the first time, or even commuting in, there’s a lot to take in during your first few weeks.

Check out these five places to give yourself a flying start:

Fresher’s Fair

Although a great place to pick up a few freebies—make sure you take a carrier bag or two—this is also the place to be thinking how you can broaden your University experience. If you’re studying Politics for example you may wish to join the youth branch of one of the major political parties, or if you’re studying business you may want to join any society to do with enterprise or entrepreneurship.

You’re not under any pressure to join any society, or indeed any society which may complement your degree. Instead you might use the Fresher’s fair to seek out something you may enjoy doing in your leisure time, although contrary to the student stereotype, there isn’t much time for relaxing if you want to do well.

Students’ Union

A great place to meet—to discuss work of course—over a cheap drink, although remember the argument that alcohol stimulates the creative juices is far from proven! Keep an eye out for the happy hours and remember that not all Unions are as competitive as others.

This is also likely the place where you’ll be able to register with the National Union of Students, primarily to get yourself an NUS card – your passport to discounts online, on the high street… and in the bar!

University Library

If you need to, register yourself with the library and get to know where the books for your subject are located.  A separate article on using the University Library follows this one.

IT Resource Centres

Even if you have your own PC or laptop, visit the IT resource centres to familiarise yourself with their systems and procedures. You never know when your printer will run out of ink, or your internet connection will go down, but the Angel of Doom will likely ensure it’s on the day your assignment is due.

Some University IT resource centres open 24 hours a day, with many providing technical assistance during office hours.Resources Rooms within your DepartmentEach discipline usually has its own area which may have additional IT resources centres, study areas, in-trays for you and your lecturers and notice boards.

Increasingly lecturers will post bulletins online, but some lecturers still use notice boards as a primary means of communication outside lectures. These often contain last minute room changes and seminar group allocations. You might also want to find out where your lecture halls are in advance, also making note of any cafes nearby in case there’s time you need to fill between your lecture and seminar.

Going to the Fresher’s Fair and visiting all these places should hopefully make your first few weeks at University less stressful than they have to be.

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