Frosh Week: A Survival Guide

By Stefanie Neyland

Moving away from home and settling into campus life is a rite of passage for many students.

It’s a fast-paced and exciting time— settling into a new environment, meeting new people and immersing yourself into the university lifestyle; and the key to making the most of your experience is to dive headfirst into Frosh Week and all the festivities that come with it.

Here are eight tips to help you get the new academic year off to a great start.


1. Get involved

Frosh Week only happens once a year – and it’s a great way to meet people and learn about your new campus. Most experienced students will give you the same advice: Take the time to prepare and soak it all in.


“My advice would be to talk to as many people as possible,” says Cody Rooney, second year student at York University. “A great conversation starter is to ask what someone’s major is. Also, don’t be afraid of the upper years—they’re there to help you and make you feel comfortable.”


2. Create a budget

The first week of college can be sensory overload. From activities, to tours, to social events—there’s never a dull moment. But unfortunately, all that fun comes at a cost. Between eating out, buying all the required new textbooks and bar nights, Frosh Week may leave your wallet feeling a lot lighter than it did before you arrived. Do yourself a favour and set yourself a weekly or monthly budget before you arrive on campus, and always be sure to have a financial contingency plan or backup.


3. Familiarize yourself with the campus

Running around campus lost on your first day of classes is something you want to avoid, so be sure to figure out exactly where all of your lessons will be held and how far away they are from your dorm ahead of time. Another tip is to try to attend any campus or library tours offered by the university—they provide tons of valuable information that you may need further down the road.


4. Resist peer pressure

Yes, you want to put yourself out there to meet new people and get out of your comfort zone, but at the same time, you don’t have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you feel like you want to take it easy or spend a night in then go ahead and do it.


“You don’t have to participate in all of the events,” says Rooney. “If you need time to relax or hang out with friends you’ve met then that’s fine—Frosh Week can be exhausting.”


5. Find a hobby or join a club

There are many activities going on in your new town, city or university, so use Frosh Week as an opportunity to find out about them. University isn’t just a time to study—it’s also a time to become engaged with your peers and develop other skills.


6. Attend classes!

Transitioning from school to university can be tough to get used to. The temptation can be to slack off when it comes to attending classes, but it’s important to avoid the urge to sleep in and drag yourself out of bed to make it for that early morning lecture. At some point or another you’re going to have to learn the content, and it’s much easier to absorb when you have someone who knows what they’re talking about explaining it to you.


7. Create a meal plan

Avoid falling into the trap of fast food and frozen pizza—not only is it bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your wallet. To avoid spending needless money on convenient-but-greasy grub, try to devise a meal plan at the beginning of every week.


8. Be a good roommate

Don’t be the student who never washes the dishes and then uses other people’s stuff when they haven’t washed their own. Or, perhaps worse, the roommate who steals other people’s food and drink. Rules that may have been acceptable at home, with your siblings or parents, aren’t always okay on campus, so try and be a mindful roommate and ensure you don’t get off on the wrong foot with anyone.


Bonus: It’s ok to be homesick

As a new student starting university in a new place, there will probably be times when you feel a little low. Perhaps you’re missing family and friends, struggling to grasp a new culture, or just feeling a little overwhelmed by all the new experiences—however you’re feeling, you’re not alone.


Everyone settles in at a different rate, so don't let any initial bad experiences put you off. It’s always a good idea to remember that you and your fellow students are all in the same boat; if you’re feeling shy and overloaded with new information, keep in mind that everyone is likely feeling the same way.

By Andrew Patricio

July 14, 2014