If you’re starting university this September then I’m sure you are already looking forward to the first week of term dedicated to the busiest social events of the university calendar – Freshers’ Week.
The first and most important piece of advice we can offer you is to make the most of the experience. One whole week in which you can go out every night and enjoy copious amounts of Lidl’s own Grant’s Vodka without the guilt of homework, 9 am classes and assignments hanging over your head. You will have the opportunity to meet new people and build new relationships – some of which may simply span into the early hours of the next morning, and others may continue throughout your university experience and beyond.
What you may not know yet is that Freshers’ Week, while being filled with alcohol fuelled socials, is also full of non-alcoholic events, some of which should not be missed and will greatly impact your university experience. Below are some of what we believe to be important things to look out for during your first week at uni:
1. The Freshers’ Fair
The Freshers’ Fair is your opportunity to meet the university’s social societies. Societies are a big part of any university experience, they bring students with common interests together, hold social events, run trips, and break up your weekly routine to help retain whatever sanity is left at the end of freshers’ week. It is usually a morning/afternoon event and it is definitely worth getting out of bed for.
It is impossible not to find a society that sparks your interest. You will find everything from Assassins Guilds to Beekeeping societies and if you think there is something missing you can start your own by contacting your university’s student union! Take a look at some of our favourites here.
Each society will have a membership fee but you wont be expected to pay up right away, we recommend that you put your name down for everything that sparks your interest. You might later find that the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Society isn’t what you expected and you wish you had signed up to competitive knitting instead. It is far better to sign up for too much and cut back than to not sign up and miss out.
It would be impossible for us to cover all your options here but we do have some suggestions for aspiring lawyers below:
The Mooting Society
Mooting gives students an opportunity to experience what it is like to appear in court before a judge. Two teams are given a legal problem and present legal arguments on specific points of law in an appeal court setting. As well as developing skills in advocacy, mooting builds confidence in public speaking, legal research and presentation skills. There are a number of regional and national mooting competitions which offer a great opportunity to compete and represent your university, but also provide the experience to network and meet students from around the UK.
As if that wasn’t enough, many mooting societies organise social events throughout the year which are great opportunities to meet and socialise with other students on your course and in different years. To find out more about mooting, take a look at our blog post ‘It’s all moot….’ here.
The Law Society
The Law Society is a must for any law student. This society will provide students with support and advice in terms of careers and study. You can expect a number of events throughout the year from social events, to informative careers and networking evenings. Getting involved in this society is a great way to meet fellow law students in the various stages of their degrees.
Most notably, the Law Society organist the annual Law Ball, an unmissable event in the calendar of any law student.
The Bar Society
Not to be confused with the bar tending society, the Bar Society is primarily aimed at students who are considering a career as a Barrister in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or as an Advocate in Scotland. Similar to the Law Society you can expect a number of social and networking events as well as advocacy workshops, visiting speakers, and court visits.
The Law Clinic
A Law Clinic is not technically a university society, but you will probably find them recruiting at the freshers’ fair and they are definitely worth a mention. Law Clinics offer advice and representation to assist the public with their legal problems, typically housing and small claims, to improve local access to justice while providing students an opportunity to gain practical client-focused experience.
Not every university has an established Law Clinic, but if yours does then you should definitely think about getting involved.
The Debating Society
Debating is the art of arguing. The university’s debating society will organise debating competitions which will provide you with invaluable experience to improve your public speaking, advocacy skills, and structuring and developing arguments, all skills that will vastly improve your essay writing and look attractive on future applications.
The society will run training sessions for those who wish to improve their debating or public speaking skills, and there will also be opportunities to travel and compete across the country in debating competitions.
The Law Review
Again, while not strictly a society, many law schools will publish a law review, and many of these are run, in part or entirely, by students. This is an incredible opportunity to get some editorial experience on your CV while improving your writing skills and learning about a variety of areas of law in more depth.
If you fancy trying your hand at some academic writing, or have already written something which you would like to see published, send it in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the contact us page.
2. The Sports Fair
If you’re interested in joining a sports team then this one’s for you. Like the freshers’ fair, the Sports Fair is your chance to meet the different teams on offer at your university. Many teams have free taster sessions in the first weeks of term and the Sports Fair is your chance to find out when they are. As with the different societies, you won’t have time to join every team so make sure you get all the information you need before you decide especially as some can be expensive to join.
3. Campus & Library Tours
Campus Ambassadors will organise tours which you might feel are unnecessary (as I did) but they are worth the trip, you will thank yourself later when your Monday morning 9am has changed venue last-minute to somewhere that you have never heard of and you have 15 minutes to get to class because you have just woken up.
These tours usually run frequently throughout the week and don’t take long so there are no excuses.
4. GP & Dental Registration
This one’s important, especially if you are studying far from home. Many surgeries will refuse to see patients who haven’t registered and falling ill so far from home is an unpleasant enough experience without having to worry about trying to register with a GP and book an appointment from your sick bed. Not to mention it will give your mother peace of mind.
If you have any suggestions about how to make the most of freshers’ week, or have a story to share you can leave a comment below or contact us here for your chance to have your experience published.