You’re probably up to your ears in sorting out Student Finance applications, ordering course books and securing your place in halls or finding digs that are affordable, but aren’t in a dodgy part of town.
Well, it’s time to think beyond all that boring stuff. Your first year of uni is about having fun and making friends and, of course, a few hours of hard work here and there. Have you planned how you’re going to set the record for pulling the best prank on your housemates, or which fancy-dress pub crawls you’ll go on for example?
Even if you’re not into drinking games, freshers’ week is still a great opportunity to explore your new home, sign up to sports clubs or societies and try new things that don’t end in a hangover.
Either way, the world of tech can help you break the ice, get to grips with your new surroundings and settle in. There are apps, gizmos and gadgets for pretty much every situation you might find yourself in during freshers’ week. Here are just a few:
1 Games to break the ice
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past month, chances are you’ll have heard about (or, more likely, played) Pokémon Go. If you haven’t already downloaded it onto your phone, do it now.
We can almost guarantee your new house or hall mates will have it too, so what better way to bond with strangers than to go out hunting Pokémon together?
Whether you’re in shared housing or halls, these could be the people you’ll be spending much of your downtime with, so it’s good to hang out and get to know each other in your first week. Plus it’s much safer than playing Cards Against Humanity on your first night – that kind of relationship needs to be built up over time (or over a lot of drinks)!
2 Gadgets to kick start the night
It might sound basic, but something like a superhero light or quirky “beer monster” bottle opener can work wonders for your reputation: it doesn’t seem to have done Sheldon Cooper any harm. If you aren’t great at starting conversations, let a geeky gadget take centre stage instead. Handing over your bottle opener just at the right moment could help you strike up a conversation with a new housemate or lover – no right-swiping required – or it could just help get the party started and avoid awkward silences...
3 Apps to get you about town
Even if you’re not drunk or averse to asking for directions, getting lost in your first few weeks can take the edge off your fun - especially if you’ve just moved to an unfamiliar area and you’re aware there are one or two pubs or streets you’d prefer to avoid. Not everyone or everywhere is student friendly.
But you don’t want to miss out on an event just because you couldn’t find your way around or get there on time. In London, one app you seriously won’t be able to live without is TubeExits which tells you all the shortcuts you need to know about when travelling on the Tube, DLR and London Overground – hurrah!
Whether or not you’re not in London, you can download Google Maps. All you have to do is type in the postcode or name of your destination, and it will tell you how to get there. No need to ask for help and no need to rely on your WiFi connection either, just your battery.
4 Student-focused dating apps
Dating apps aren’t for everyone, but there are some great ones designed with students in mind. These days the options are endless. If you find Tinder rather superficial then you could try Happn, which uses GPS to connect you with people you’ve walked past, or Badoo, which allows you to filter through details to find someone to chat or meet up with.
If music is important to you, then you could also try out Tastebuds, which uses your iTunes library to connect you with people with a similar taste in music. See, who said dating was complicated?
5 Apps to help you find the action
Student unions are usually pretty thorough with organising freshers’ events, so it’s unlikely you’ll be short of things to do. But if you want to find out what’s going on in your city, then Yplan is a great app.
It can tell you about everything from nightclubs and bars to the best places to eat and upcoming gigs. It even allows you to book tickets and spaces through the app, so you don’t have to do too much planning. Of course, if you’re really keen to find out what the city has to offer, the best thing to do is to go walk-about and talk to the locals (there, we said it!)
6 Tech to get you through your first lecture
Fun as freshers’ week is, we’re afraid you’re probably going to have to attend a lecture at some point. Horrible, we know. If you’ve had a heavy night, chances are you’ll be tempted to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.
In which case… you’re going to need an alarm clock that you can’t turn off until you get up out of your bed and enter a code into the system. It’s a great way to stop yourself sleeping in, as it forces you to start using your brain right away.
If you still find yourself dozing off during class, you can use apps like SoundNote to record the lecture, or Share Your Board to turn your lecturer’s presentation slides into notes. If all else fails and you really can’t stay awake, go back to basics with a pair of comedy glasses with eyes painted on the front! No smartphone, battery, WiFi or downloading required.
With so much technology at your fingertips, nothing should hold you back this freshers’ week. So, what are you waiting for? Put that Student Finance application to one side and treat yourself to some essential student tech.
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