Friday, 18 September 2015

A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Part 5


It seems like a silly thing to say, but you'd be surprised at the number of people that have a terrible experience and don't enjoy themselves.

Do what you want to do. If you want to go out partying every single night, go for it. Similarly, if you only want to go out a few times and stay in watching Netflix or playing Xbox, that's cool too. No-one is going to judge you if you decide that's how you're going to have fun!

Coming to Uni can be a stressful time, and it can be difficult to be away from home with so much going on around you with so many changes, and it's up to you how you want to deal with that. Don't let people pressure you into doing things you don't want to do - and remember - everyone is in a similar position, so just enjoy yourself! Coming to Greenwich was the best choice I ever made. It might not be perfect straight away, but just take it as it comes and it will all fall into place sooner or later.


All of us in the office are either current or past students, so most of us have experienced Freshers fortnight! I asked people if they could pass on one piece of advice to incoming student, what would it be? Here are a few of the responses...

  • Avery Hill is not that far from Greenwich, and it's worth the journey because it's where all the good stuff happens!
  • Look on the Social Media pages so you don't miss out on stuff.
  • Don't get so drunk that you embarrass yourself in front of the people you're going to live with for the next year of your life.
  • Go to Freshers fair and get as much free stuff as humanly possible.
  • Citymapper is the best app you will ever get.
  • Buy water and fruit, stave off the Freshers flu!
  • Go to Sparrows.
  • Don't be afraid to ask people on your course/people from your flat to go to Freshers fairs with you. It's less daunting to join sports and societies when you're with other people!
  • Bring plenty of paracetamol.
  • Register with a doctor ASAP (Avery Hill has an on campus doctor) because going to a walk in centre is hell.

Everything in this blog series has come from mine, friends' and colleagues' experiences at Greenwich, so trust us when we say we know what we're talking about! If there's anything else you want to know that I haven't covered (Although at almost 4,000 words I don't think there's much left to talk about) have a look at the FAQs on the SU site for more advice! Or post on the Freshers Facebook group and there will be plenty of us with an answer to your questions.

But don't worry, if this year doesn't go your way, you still have another two years... Good Luck!

**Editors Note: A big thank you to Liz for her freshers advice. If you have any questions for Liz (or the rest of the clearing team), leave us your comments!**


A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Guest Blogger

Liz is a new blogger being featured here, who works in the Clearing team. She's here all week with hints and tips for getting the most out of your first few weeks at university.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Part 4


You know those people you see on your way out getting carried home by their friends before 12am throwing up all over the floor looking like something out of 'Shaun of the Dead'? Don't let that be you.

It's tempting to try and keep up a drinking pace with your friends, but everyone processes alcohol differently, i.e., males tend to be able to drink more than females and Northerners can drink more than Southerners (I joke, but it's true really). If you start to feel sick, STOP!

If you need a glass of water, all the SU bars give it out for free. If you don't want that shot of Sambuca someone is trying to make you drink, if you can't handle it, don't have it.

There's nothing worse than going too hard on your first nights out and ruining yours, and your friend's, evening because you haven't made the wisest decision. Sure, it's happened to the best of us, but learn from your (and our) mistakes! Don't do that to yourself.

You might also end up getting kicked out of a club or bar and that's no fun at all, and you’re also putting yourself in danger by being on your own, especially in central London. If you do end up going home alone, make sure someone knows and let them know when you get back.

Our SU bars have student stewards, who are there to keep you safe. They’ve seen it all, so don’t be ashamed if you need to ask them for help if you’re having a bad night. The same with any of the student staff, we’re all here to make sure you have a good university experience.

Go steady. Or like my flatmate in first year, you'll forever be known as the guy who threw up chicken nuggets out of his nose...

**Editors Note: Many students like to socialise, and drinking can sometimes be part of that. Although we don't actively encourage our students to consume alcohol, we think it's important that they understand the potential consequences (we're definitely looking at you, Chicken Nugget guy) and how to look after themselves if they choose to do so.**


Seeing your student loan come in to your bank account is a wonderful feeling. I've never felt so rich in my entire life, and the urge to go and buy everything in Westfields is overwhelming.

Every year Freshers will make the same mistakes over and over again, they see all this money and rather than budgeting, they blow it all at once. I had a friend in first year who bought a brand new iPhone on a ridiculous contract, and spent the rest of term eating Kellogg's Cornflakes. True story.

We're all human, and like anyone would, when you get a large lump sum of money appear in your account, you feel like it's going to last forever and you keep on spending until one day you realise there's only £50 in your account to last you eight weeks.

Loan drop is just in time for Freshers, and you will end up going out and buying Jagerbombs for all your friends, then when you're poor, you'll spend the rest of the term begging for them to buy you drinks in return.

My advice is to budget. But be realistic; during Freshers you'll spend more than usual, or around Halloween, for example. What you need to do, is set a rough amount of how much you think you'll spend per week and try to stick to it as closely as you can. Take into account things like, phone bills, clothes shopping, travel, takeaways etc. Although travel in London is relatively cheap, you'll do a lot more of it and it all adds up, so try and be smart about it. One of the best things I did, was getting a railcard, and combining it on to my Oyster card. Although there are Student Oyster cards available, they only save 1/3rd on daily Travelcards, and you have to pay full price for a single/return journey.

When you're travelling round London for nights out it all adds up. For example, Student Oyster journey: £1.50. Railcard journey: £1.00. Combining your Railcard to your Oyster will mean that you save 1/3rd on ALL your journeys where you use it (as well as Travelcards), this includes buses and national rail trains (within zones 1-9), all you have to do is go to any ticket office, fill out a form, show them your card, and it's done there and then.

You may also need to cut down on luxuries here and there to make your money last, but that's not the end of the world (it just makes it all the better when you go home to your parents' and get to use the four-ply quilted loo roll rather than Tesco's own). But don't worry, no one is expecting you to live off ASDA Smart Price Baked Beans, but if you don't budget, that could happen. It may mean you have to go that little bit further to go food shopping; for anyone living in any of the Greenwich accommodations - I'd advise you to hop on the DLR and go to Crossharbour to go to the big ASDA there. Or, get the 177 or 180 buses and go to the ASDA or Sainsburys in Charlton. It's far cheaper than going to the big Waitrose or M&S and worth the journey.

McMillan Students - Although Sainsbury's is just downstairs, the Tesco over the road is bigger, cheaper and no-one cares if you’re too hungover to get changed out of your onesie. For more information about saving money as a student, there is an article which has hit the nail on the head, and I would strongly advise giving it a read here!


A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Guest Blogger

Liz is a new blogger being featured here, who works in the Clearing team. She's here all week with hints and tips for getting the most out of your first few weeks at university.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Part 3


The Freshers Ball is being held at the infamous Ministry of Sound in Elephant and Castle on 5th October. It's basically a night put on by the SU which marks the end of Freshers Fortnight, and it's all students from Greenwich in one of the biggest clubs in London, with a big act. In my first year it was S Club 7, and I've never seen so many girls (and guys!!) screaming the words to 'Reach'. Last year the Ball was at Studio 338, and we had Eton Messy. This year's act hasn't yet been announced but if the past years are anything to go by it should be good!

Definitely get a ticket now before they sell out; they're £15 but it's worth it for the night, the drinks should be cheap and it's on until 3am. This is one Freshers event you shouldn't miss out on!

A lot of people are wondering what to wear; the name 'Ball' is a little misleading. With it being at Ministry, ladies, you don't really want to be in a long dress as it will drag on the floor and get sticky and ruined. I would go for a shorter dress or skirt, not super fancy like what you'd wear to prom, but still quite nice! Shoes-wise, it's totally up to you if you want to go for heels or not. Lads, shirt and jeans are a good option! For outfit inspiration ideas have a look at the photos from a couple of years ago here.

Travelling to and from Ministry is relatively easy. From Greenwich the fastest route is to jump on the 188 and get off at Elephant and Castle. It's tempting to take the tube, but the bus is the fastest option! It's 24 hours so that's your best route back as well, as it doesn't take long at all.

For Avery Hill, it's a little longer, 286 to Blackheath and then 53 to Elephant and Castle. 

Something that will help you with London travel a LOT is the Citymapper app. It gives you live bus times, your closest bus stop and the best route back, including the one with the least changes or ones that are rain safe. I swear by this app and the best part is, it's totally free!

To get back late at night my suggestion is UBER. If you haven't used this yet, it will be a godsend. It's far cheaper than black cabs, and all you need is to download the app. There's hundreds of discount codes out there for first-time users (TIP: This one will give you £10 off your first ride - i9y44**) If you do have to wait a while, there's a fried chicken shop just opposite the bus stop which proves very popular to satisfy those all-important 3am cheesy chips cravings.


This is a real thing. It hurts. Your whole flat will get it. You will get it. What is Freshers flu I hear you ask? Well. Freshers flu is what happens after you put your body through two weeks of various nights out, countless Domino’s, living in a confined space with 6 other people, lecture hall air con and lack of sleep.

It sounds like I'm being dramatic, but a lot of people do think they're on their deathbeds when in reality they are just hungover with the sniffles and end up going home to their mum for a week... So the trick is to be prepared. Make sure you’re eating enough fruit and veg, you don't need to be Jamie Oliver to chuck a few frozen peas in a pan, or have some banana with your Weetabix (TIP: If all else fails, Vodka and Orange Juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C).

Try and get enough sleep so you're: A) Not missing your very first lectures and; B) Not walking round like a zombie. You'll soon master the art of napping and be very grateful for your blackout curtains!

If you really can't hack it, take a night off, get a Lemsip and snuggle up in bed and watch some rubbish TV, and get an early night. It will help, and you'll feel a million times better.

**Correct at time of writing


A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Guest Blogger

Liz is a new blogger being featured here, who works in the Clearing team. She's here all week with hints and tips for getting the most out of your first few weeks at university.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Part 2


Freshers fair is absolutely fantastic. Even if you don't want to join any sports teams or societies, it's worth it purely for all the free stuff you can get.

There are fairs held across all three campuses, and each one is filled with various stands giving out different stuff. There are chances to win free Nandos, iPads, vouchers etc. Various companies come along holding exclusive offers and deals, with no strings attached, purely for the fairs. I always end up coming back with several canvas bags full of sweets and vouchers and information leaflets. I'm pretty sure they were giving out free sombreros last year, which is useful as it's always handy to have fancy dress during Freshers!

It's also your chance to find out more information and sign up to the sports teams and societies. You may have seen a few posted on the Freshers groups, but this will be your chance to ask more questions and find out about meet and greets, or a little more about what they do. DON'T BE SHY. 

Every single person on those stalls was in the same position you were, they aren't horrible or scary people, and they want you to come and talk to them. There really is no such thing as a stupid question, and even if you know nothing about the sport or society in general, this will be your chance!

Anyone can join any of the societies and sports teams, you don't have to have ever played the sport before to give it a go, and same with the societies. For a full list of the groups at the university, have a look at this page here. If you can't find what you’re looking for, the SU always welcome new start-ups! For anyone in the Business School, joining a society and a sports team gets you points for your employability passport, so you lot should be first on the bandwagon.

One of the best decisions I made at Uni was going up to talk to a sports team, to find out a little bit more and go to a taster session. Generally, people tend to meet their closest friends through sports teams and societies rather than their course. This was certainly the case for me, which leads us on to the next section...


This is a big worry for a lot of people coming to Uni, especially for those of you commuting in. There are a lot of posts on the Freshers pages saying "Is anyone studying _______? Worried I'm the only one! :/ "You will NOT EVER be the only one on a course. There are over 23,000 students at Greenwich, and every single one of those has been in your position, where they are a new student and don't know anyone. Even if you haven't met anyone else yet from your course, I guarantee that when you walk in to your first lecture, you won't be the only one there. Just get talking to people, a smile is contagious, and saying “Hi” and introducing yourself might make that other person's day, as they are probably just as nervous as you are! I made friends with people on my course by being put into ice-breaker groups on our first tutorial and we got on so well we ended up doing a group project together and getting a 1st!

For people moving into halls, it is extra scary, because you have to live with these people from September to June. But you have to think of it like this, and I keep saying it because it's true; everyone is in the same boat. Of course it's nerve-wracking, and of course you'll have those worries - 'What if no-one likes me?', 'What if I have horrible flatmates?', 'What if they're really messy?' - They are all totally natural and after a few days and a couple of rounds of 'I have never...' it will all go away. If there are really any burning issues, you can always talk to your RA about it.

As a general piece of advice, just talk to people; the flat next door, the flat upstairs and downstairs, the flat you share your balcony with, even people you meet in the laundry room. Facebook is a wonderful thing, so use that too to stay in the loop!


A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Guest Blogger

Liz is a new blogger being featured here, who works in the Clearing team. She's here all week with hints and tips for getting the most out of your first few weeks at university.

Monday, 14 September 2015

A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Part 1

Joining a sports team, chicken nuggets, free stuff, Freshers' flu and lots of naps: how to survive - and embrace - two weeks of Freshers. Most of you coming to Uni will have no idea what to expect during Freshers.

When I first arrived as an innocent 18-year old, I had no idea what to expect for Freshers week, and was completely clueless in how it all worked. My first night after moving in was spent in my room eating a McFlurry, desperately trying to get my Internet to work. Two years, and two Freshers Fortnights later, I now feel as though I’ve had enough experience to pass on a little wisdom to anyone who is in the same position I was...

SUUG Freshers 2015

Many of you will have had an envelope in the post with a load of leaflets and information booklets from the Students' Union about Freshers 2015 and what sort of stuff is going on. If you haven’t, all the information about what’s happening can be found here. 

This website has everything you need to know (Including campus maps) and it will be your ultimate bible. (TIP: To find specific information, Google the detail e.g., 'Football Team SUUG' and it will be in the top links, or, use the search bar on the website.) 

The SU work really hard to put together an events timetable, and whether you're living in halls in Avery or Greenwich, or even if you’re staying at home and commuting in, there's something there for everyone! 

As well as all the nights out at the Students’ Unions (Bar Latitude and Sparrows) - there are various other events which are really worth going to! Speaking from experience, the Harry Potter Studios Tour is amazing. Don’t worry about making friends before you book your tickets for events, they will all be gone by the time you get here otherwise! Plenty of other people will have booked tickets in advance on their own, and they'll all be in the same position as you, so don't let that stop you. You might not get a chance to go to something like this again, especially at such a reasonable price. All of these events will be advertised on the OFFICIAL Facebook page.

For more about specific events during Freshers and throughout the year, keep an eye on the SU website, Facebook, Twitter (@sugreenwich) and Instagram (@sugreenwich) so you don't miss out on anything and are up to date on all the news coming from the Students' Union!


Like me, some of you will probably have received random friend requests on Facebook from accounts called things like 'Greenwich Fresher'. I imagine you will also be part of several different ‘University of Greenwich Freshers’ Facebook groups, or have been added to random events called a similar thing.

The majority of these are all marketing scams, and the pages are made by club promoters. As soon as there are enough group members, the pages are filled with posts from said accounts, and unwitting Freshers baited in by club companies with the lure of earning £1 per ticket trying to get you to go along to various club nights in Central London, all claiming to be the 'BIGGEST FRESHERS PARTY IN LONDON' and 'LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE GET THEM NOW AND DON'T MISS OUT' - you will see hundreds of these posts.

Once Freshers has passed this group becomes obsolete and is only used by people advertising said club nights, or things like Juice Plus, in a desperate attempt to earn a bit of money. For official UoG events, and a group that is used all year round, make sure you're a member of the official Freshers group.


A Greenwich Guide to Freshers' Fortnight - Guest Blogger

Liz is a new blogger being featured here, who works in the Clearing team. She's here all week with hints and tips for getting the most out of your first few weeks at university.