Tuesday Tips: University Fresher's FAQ

As many of you are about to start uni, I thought I'd do a little (mammoth) post of advice for students new and old! 

I studied Fashion Promotion at UCA Rochester and graduated in July. I didn't live in halls as I was already living with my boyfriend, so I can't offer much advice there. I have included some tweeted tips from my Twitter followers for another perspective on all things uni! 

I hope those of you that are going to university are excited! Some of my tips may sound a bit like 'don'ts' rather than 'do's', but I don't want to give anyone any more stress than you're already under. Everyone's experience is different, so mine is just one perspective on it based on my own mistakes and experiences. 

If you have any more questions, post them in the comments and I'll do my best to respond to all of them in the next couple of days :)

Let's rock.

Get an NUS Card

It costs about £11, but you get heaps of discounts on fashion, food, beauty and more. Gotta be done. Make sure you check the website so you're making the most of all those savings you're entitled to! 


Arrange to have your student loan put into a high interest bank account. You'll make money from it, and can set up a standing order to have a monthly amount paid into your current account so you don't fall for the 'OMG I'm RICH!!!!' syndrome the day your loan arrives... That feeling wears off pretty quickly after a few nights out and food shopping trips. Martin knows more about banking advice, so have a lookie


Save money by cooking meals in big batches and refrigerating/freezing the rest. This works great for things like pasta bake, bolognese and curry.

When eating out, use your student discount. Many Nando's branches offer discount (the Canterbury one offers 20%!) and a whole bunch of places offer deals with an NUS card! 

My favourite bargain food: Tesco Value 50p Tortilla crisps (next to doritos), Tesco Value midget gems, Batchelors savoury rice (bung some prawns in to make my signature Pauper's Paella!), PASTA with any old sauce. 

Probs illegal of me to admit/advise this, but I have been known to take my own alcohol out with me. If money's tight, I totally begrudge wasting £3 a pop on alcoholic drinks! Makes much more sense to buy my own cheap booze, and take some out with me to top up soft drinks with. If you get caught, you may get barred, so approach with caution! 


Again, use your NUS card to get discounts at squillions of shops. 

Topshop are offering 20% off to students until the beginning of October if you complete their SCVNGR mobile app game (only available on smart phones). You have to complete a series of mini tasks in store (take a snap of your favourite mannequin, etc) and you unlock a 20% off voucher to use instore! 

Look out for in-store events in September and October. I think Topshop have stopped their student lock-ins, but I'm pretty sure Urban Outfitters still do theirs. 

Shop on eBay! To get the best price on the items you've got your eye on, NEVER bid before the last minute! It lets your competition know that they have some, er, competition, and starts a bidding war. Not good. Use a site like Goofbay to to automatically 'snipe' your bids in the final seconds and increase your chance of winning the item (at a bargain price!)

Charity shops. My favourite way to find a bargain! If there's something specific you're after, always ask a member of staff and they'll often go and check out the back for you. I got a great pair of brogues by doing this! 

Get DIY-ing! If you get that urge to buy new clothes but don't have the dough, try refreshing your own wardrobe. Here are some of my Tuesday Tips to keep you busy:

Ooh, and when in doubt, learn your own nail art. If you're having a sartorial off-day, some awesome nail art always makes the look more boho than hobo...


Don't judge a book by its cover

On Day 1, we had to pair up with someone else. I was sat between a perfectly nice girl called Emily, and another girl with slightly wild hair and fashiony dress sense (who shall remain unnamed!) For some reason, I had this foolish urge back then to get in with a 'cool crowd' at uni - so I paired up with wild girl. She turned out to be completely scatty, unreliable and actually didn't have a clue what she was on about. Lovely, normal Emily, on the other hand, eventually became a true friend of mine, and one of the few uni friends I'll be staying in contact with! And let me just say, she is far from normal! In a good way. 

The same can be said of a time, a few months into the course, we got randomly paired with people to work on a powerpoint presentation together. I was paired with a girl called Hannah. Stunner, blonde hair extensions, fake tan and an LC obsession. Not My Type, I thought... We bonded during working together (albeit by joking that our very smiley lecturer was a rampant alcoholic) and she became another true friend, and one of the funniest girls I've ever met. 

Funnily enough, most of the people that looked 'cool' also thought they were very cool and were therefore dickheads. So forget who you think you 'ought' to be friends with, and be friendly with everyone. You'll find real friends a lot quicker if you give everyone a chance. 

Don't be a douchebag

Being a nice person is crucial if you want to make friends. Always remember 3 golden rules of being nice. 

1. Always say please/thank you

2. If someone asks you something about yourself, ask something back. 

3. Don't moan. Moaning to your friends is one thing, but moaning to potential new friends isn't going to help your case!

To conclude - be your lovely selves and you will be absolutely fine, I promise you!! Everybody at uni wants to make friends, so don't for one second think you won't make any! 


When moving in to halls or your uni house, always thoroughly check the inventory. This is a list of the state of everything in the property. So if there's a stain on the carpet that hasn't been pointed out on the inventory when you moved in, you will still have to pay for it to be rectified when you move out. Go through everything on that list and add ANY imperfections you don't see noted, backing up with photo evidence. Take this to your landlord and have them sign it. This way, you can't be made to pay for damage you didn't cause. 

Don't worry if you don't live in halls. Yes, some people have had a head start at meeting people, but that's an excellent conversation starter during the first week! 'Are you in halls? How's it going?'


Put your phone on silent. Can be awkward if you don't!

If people are talking/being noisy, don't be afraid to SHHH them or move seats. It's your education their drowning out, so don't stand for it. And if you're the talkers, SHHH, please! I even shushed my own friends in lectures if they whispered too much, haha! Noise annoys = my golden rule. Just as well I didn't do halls, I'd never have survived!!

And just to prove I did have SOME fun at university....

Killing time between lectures with Hannah in Poundland... It said 'Canal fishing...'

Emily and Nik

My blonde beauty, Hannah <3

3 Tequila, floor

Laura and Hannah

It's fun to pose with passed out men.


Pirate night...

Decided to pose for a photo next to a huge crowd of police restraining a man (see right of image). Drunkenly decided to wield my pirate sword and strike this pose. The fact the policeman is distracted from the criminal by the absurdity of it all has been a great source of entertainment for my friendship group. My mum even has this photo on the wall of her office! Haha! 

On that note, have fun everyone!!! It will speed by and you will bloody miss it, so make the most of it :)



  1. Haha, such a great advice post! x

  2. Love this! So true! Wish I had this last year when I started college..which was actually a year ago today strangely!

  3. Oh Gem1 You're making me wish I didn't have this pending grown up job and could go back to living the student life! :(

  4. This was really helpful. I'm starting uni in a few weeks so thank you (:

  5. This is really helpful, I must admit the first time I went to uni I was very choosey with who I spoke to, and that resulted in me making hardly any friends, I'm starting again in a couple of weeks so I will definitely be more open minded! xx

  6. Haha, that last picture is fantastic, although I am insanely jealous of your great legs!!

  7. Brilliant photos! And great advice thanks :) I'm going to be super nice to everyone for the first few weeks before unleashing my grumpy side. xx

  8. Just read every single word of this and loved it, if only i was a fresher again. And that photo at the end has got to be one of the best i have ever seen, ever!!!!! x

  9. I have bookmarked this! I move into halls for my first year in just under a fortnight, and I am TERRIFIED. I know I need to try and make friends with everyone, not avoid the ones with overtly fake tan etc etc.
    Also, that last picture is hilarious! xx
    Sirens and Bells

  10. That last photo is HYSTERICAL!!!

  11. Awesome post!! But you definitely kept the best bit till the very last photo.. HILARIOUS!!



  12. OMG the last pic hahahahahhahahaha

  13. Wish this blog post existed many moons ago before I went to uni! x

  14. Hahah I actually laughed at your mother having that picture on her office wall! This post has really helped my nerves, thanks so much :) x

  15. Awww this is such a great post! I especially agree with your part on 'friends', I saw a girl that I thought would potentially be 'too cool' for me. She was just so striking to look at that I thought she wouldn't bother speaking to me really because she wouldn't need to bother making friends, people would go to her. What a fool I was because she is one of the friendliest and funniest people I have ever met and one of my all time favourite people now! Uni is a great experience even if it is financially tough and the course is challenging sometimes. That final picture is hilarious!


  16. ahhh sweet university! Such a good honest guide would loved to been able to read this when I started!

  17. aw gem, you dont half make me lol! top list of freshery advice, especially about making friends... definitely dont go for the "cool" looking kids, they are more often than not epic douchebags!

    i think the best advice i could give is to try to get the balance right... dont party so much you end up in A&E or walking the (usually 3hrs+) journey home alone... but also, dont work so much that your social life is renewing your library books on a friday night. uni is about new experiences, as well as getting a degree.

    judging from your pics, you definitely got the partying side of uni bang on! i love the posing with drunks and the last one... dont blame your mum for having it on the wall <3 what mother wouldnt be proud?! hahah

  18. The photo of you posing by the police made me laugh so much, looks like you had a great time at uni. I'm almost gutted I decided not to go :) x

  19. OMG LMFAO!
    You have such a way with words.
    Great post.

    J x

  20. What a brilliant post! Thanks so much, Gem, the tips are so valuable :)

    Have to say though, am currently trying so hard not to wake my family up as I'm close to tears with laughter at that last photo of you, class!!! Hahaha

    Cait xxx

  21. The last photo is hilar! Epic winning :)

  22. Great tips - you've covered just about everything I thought of while I was reading.

    Your uni pics really made me smile too, particularly as I've been trying to guess where the locations might be as I grew up fairly close to Canterbury!



  23. Way to distract the police, Gem! If only planking was a meme in your early uni days ahh lol!

    What did the police say to you after that was snapped?

  24. ha such a great post! agree with literally everything you said, i started uni last year, 50p DORITOS FTW! i literally lived off them last year :) and hilar photos i have some drunkely ones quite like these! altho not quite as good as your last :)
    would love for you to check out and follow my blog (just starting up!) at...

  25. Oh my god, the last photo... I hope that I finish my time in school with something as amazing as that.

  26. This was amazing!!! I graduated last year but still read every tip thoroughly! I think this will help a LOT of people out, seriously I could have done with this when I started Uni! xx

  27. Thank you for the brilliant post! I feel this is advice I will actually use, especially as I will be moving into halls in less than a week! Eek!

  28. great, useful advice. i will definitely check the inventory as apparently my halls loves giving out unnecessary fines.

    thanks for sharing :)


  29. Such great advice for Freshers, wish I'd read this 6 years ago! Your pics next to passed out men made me laugh out loud for reals. Very funny. xx

  30. These tips are so great, thank you. The pose next to the crowd is so great hehehe xx.

  31. That last photo made me laugh so much!
    This is such a good post. When I started uni I remember being totally obsessed with reading up on things like this, but in the end, it all just works out fine without too much thought anyway :)


  32. I have so much love for that last photo! Drunken photos are always the best/worst!
    I'm starting my third and final year soon...scary stuff! I hope all the freshers have fun but don't do anything stupid - I know people with broken arms/legs and even a broken back during the first year at uni! It wasn't as bad as it sounds - they can still walk and stuff, it was just a crushed vertebrae!
    So yeh, that's my bit of advice for everyone starting uni - you might be drunk but you aren't indestructable so if you wouldn't jump over that wall while sober then don't do it drunk, or if you wouldn't run in the road sober then don't do it drunk. You get the picture. So just be safe!

  33. thanks so much for this post! great advice for someone like me who's freaking out at the thought of going to uni in less than 2 weeks! i will make sure i refer back to your tips during my first couple of weeks! xxx

  34. These tips are all great, I never thought to put my loan into a high interest bank account and get it transferred into my current account, so I have always fallen into the 'I'm rich!' trap. This post has made me very excited to go back for my final year! Brilliant photos too, the last one is priceless.

  35. Gem, those photos are amazing. Great tips too - think you covered everything! X

  36. That last photo is the best thing I've seen in my life, EVER!!!


  37. I graduated in 2008 and i miss it so much. I had an amazing 3 years - met some of my best friends and have so many fantastic memories. Lover a bit of nostalgia!

    Absolutely love that last photo btw!


  38. haha
    that last picture is awesome !
    am loving it !
    thanks for all of these. I wish i had read your post when i was starting uni. Now that those days are gone, i really miss my uni days !

  39. Great post! What you wrote about the friends thing is so true. Bloody love the final photos!! And you looked really good with your hair that colour! Wow! :D xxx

  40. I'm not even going to uni this year! next year for me. But this has made me SO excited! I Can't wait to go haha

  41. Although I'll be starting my 2nd year soon I still really enjoyed this post and the final picture made me laugh so much xx


  42. That photo of your on the floor is fucking amazing. Haha! You legend!


  43. I know that this is a little old but thanks so much for posting it! I'm hoping to go to UCA Epsom next september to study Fashion Promotions and Imaging, so I would love to hear your thoughts on the course even though I no its not the same! This post was really helpful as I'm extremely nervous and quite a shy person xxx


Thanks for commenting! ♥