So, you’ve just found out you’re coming to Cardiff – that’s great! You have earned the right to envision party streamers and confetti and everything! Now, without stressing, I guess it’s time to do some research. Grab a cuppa (and maybe a biscuit) and I’ll take you through a few nuggets of advice about Fresher’s Week and your first few toddling steps at University from us at CU!
I want you to imagine a market. Maybe your local market, or a camel market, or… well you get the picture – it’s busy, bustling and full of strange people and smells. People asking you to buy things, try things, come with them on top secret missions and well, it’s all pretty overwhelming! Like this, the first week of University is a little bit all over the place: you’re trying to find your way around a new city, to make friends, to decide which societies you want to join, to find a church – your mind is reeling with all those endless possibilities that independent life brings. So much to think about, and get into order as you settle in Cardiff! So, I suppose this is my first bit of advice – don’t feel like you have to have everything pinned straight out right away!
Here are a few pointers I think I’ll pass on your way:
Church: Digging straight into church is essential, and Cardiff is blessed to have a wide range of sound churches to choose from. Our Christian Union website has a list of recommended churches with links to websites which I would suggest as a really handy resource for getting to know what’s on offer. Have a peruse, maybe make a list of your top 3 – 6 that you’d be interested in testing out? Seriously, you will need to make a shortlist, because you’d probably be able to spend your whole first year testing out churches which isn’t healthy for your Christian life!! To help you get started, the CU also run a church walk where there’ll be people to walk you to church on a Sunday morning – I’m sure there’ll be more information on that to come!
Getting Around: This is a new City, whether it’s epically larger, or notably smaller than where you’re from originally, it’s still going to take you some time to find your feet. You’re going to be wandering around during your first week with hardly a clue- but you don’t want to be glued to Google Maps like an oblivious Zombie. So, if you check google maps before you leave and use street view to pin-down certain landmarks (like cafes and shops) you’ll save on data and dignity! If in doubt, follow the steady stream of eager-faced freshers!
Christian Union: we’d love for you to get as involved as you can; in the first week we will have loads of events on so we can get to know you! We have our Facebook page and group where there are regular updates on when we’re getting together, so be sure to find them to stay in-the-know. I mean, Church gets top priority, and then there’s staying on top of your studies to think about – however I found it very easy to have a balanced CU, Church and Study life – it all clicked together pretty naturally!
Fresher’s Fair: This is where the marketplace metaphor most touches with reality! Running for most of the week, there will literally be hundreds of different people asking you to join them. There are so many voices shouting, “try this”, “come to this”. With all the sports groups and societies, you can end up with a fully booked schedule, and within a few weeks you’d be totally burned out. Take it easy, and remember: Uni is a wonderful time to try new things – but you don’t have to squish it all into your first year! So, you sit down and try to decide what matters. Make your shopping list. If it’s not on the list, just take some advice from the Penguins: just “smile and wave”. Not everything has to be done immediately – you’ve got years here! Focus on what matters first!
Miscellaneous: These are a few final golden nuggets! Buy those big packs of meat and make things on bulk so all you have to do is re-heat later on – this will save you time and money! Eduroam (the Uni internet) is terrible, especially in halls – some solutions are ethernet cables, and working at Cafes that just happen to have free Wi-Fi! When you’re moving in, make your bed first so you can just crash if you need to! Smile! 😊
I hope that this advice will be helpful to you as you begin your time here in Cardiff, and if there’s anything else there are always friendly faces waiting to help and answer your questions! If you’re stressing about things, or are getting nervous – don’t! God has a plan, and will provide – so pray!