10 things every incoming Exeter fresher should know

The open day tour guide didn’t tell you these!


So, you’ve got your results, and you’ve figured out where you’ll be living: you should be able to breathe now, right? If you’re still feeling the nerves, or wanting to get ahead with the prep, we’ve got some tips for you. You can trust your elders (is third year considered elderly?) and be welcomed into the Exeter lifestyle with some tricks for surviving the first few weeks of an intensely green lifestyle!

1. Don’t buy any ‘uni bundles’ just yet

If you’re getting ahead early on the packing then a word of warning, sometimes the bundles of goods targeted at uni students might not necessarily benefit your own personal lifestyle. Take it from the girl who bought mountains of first year English books from Blackwell’s because they were discounted, and only ended up needing half of them. I definitely could have waited and got them secondhand for half the price, and the same applies for all the unnecessary stuff girls on TikTok tell you you’ve GOT to bring to uni, and then never end up using or don’t fit in your room!

2. Freshers tickets

Similarly, if you’re worrying about Freshers wristbands or tickets to clubs, don’t stress. If you don’t know what anyone else is going to do or you’re going in knowing no one, then just don’t buy any. Whilst there aren’t that many places to choose between for a night out in Exe, I can guarantee your freshers wristband or the tickets you bought on results day won’t be for the right clubs. Lots of people on their first days and weeks end up going to pub gardens like Impy or Firehouse which can end up being the best places to get to know people. As soon as you meet people you can figure out plans to go places without having to have wasted any money or time stressing. Your freshers wristband events might not necessarily be the places you’ll enjoy your night the most so hold off until you meet some people who may make the whole new city/new clubs thing a little bit easier

3. The beach is only a train ride away!

3. The beach is only a train ride away!

4. Friends change as your time goes on

Just because you’re in the same flat, doesn’t mean you have to be best friends. You were put in an eight person flat randomly by a computer, don’t beat yourself up if those randomly assigned people don’t end up being your best mates or soul mates (they’re defo not your soul mate if they’re a flatmate). It’s also good to keep a course friend or seminar buddy, they tend to help with the academic or admin side of stuff that you usually feel clueless about. As you progress through your first year, or even your entire degree, you’ll meet so many people from completely different areas of Exeter life so take it all in and make the most

5. Go to society tasters before joining societies

Get involved! First year is all about joining random societies, meet people with the same interests as you. That being said, you do have to pay a membership fee so try out a couple of sessions whether that be a netball try out or a subject fresher mixer. My best advice to anyone starting in September would be to trial a sport – it doesn’t have to be competitive or scary, even if you try out intramural subject rounders or play hockey with a society. Exeter is a sporty uni, and you’ll meet so many people if you give sport a chance even just once. Not everyone is good or has even played before (also it’s an early in to the best night out in Exeter, which is TP on a Wednesday).

6. Freshers flu is inevitable

Exeter is a city that involves a lot of walking and a lot of tightly packed together clubs. If you don’t catch my drift, you don’t want to be walking to Boots on the High Street if you’re suffering from a hangover, a fever and a cold all at once because you got with a guy in Fever room one. Everyone thinks they are invincible regarding freshers flu, but you just aren’t. It’s going to happen so come prepared with tonnes of vitamin C and Sudafed and maybe think twice before you stick your tongue down a suspiciously older looking “sharks” mouth in Unit 1.

7. There are loads of hills

Self-explanatory, but Exeter is on a hill. You will walk uphill most of the time, its like the 12-3-30 workout but in real life. Thus, no one is wearing heels or even boots, we are a strictly dirty trainer kind of uni.

8. You go out early and things close early

A night out in Exeter can start as early as 7:30pm (yes, you heard me correctly). Most club nights entry is usually 10:30pm to 11pm, which still may be earlier than you’re used to, meaning pres tend to happen either super early –  during dinner, or on route to the club (this is where journey juice and squadka come in handy). Also, we may be the only place in the UK that doesn’t have a McDonald’s that is open late. McDonald’s shuts at midnight meaning sadly no nuggets for us after a night at Fever. Early club entry and clubs closing feel weird to the Exeter fresh, but once used to it, you appreciate the early-ish night and the value of a good afters at someone’s house.

9. Add yourself to Overheard at Exeter on Facebook

All of our uni admin: Ticket sales, resales, scams and general banter regarding Exeter life happens on Facebook. Before you start, add yourself to the group on Facebook to get an idea of which events sell out quickly or what’s happening pre-Freshers’ Week down in Exe. You may get super lucky and a nice lad might post offering you the entire contents of his second year fridge as he scrambles to clean the grime in order to get a deposit back.

10. Bring fancy dress!!!

Fancy dress and costumes are NOT just for Halloween at Exeter. Bring a box of whatever random accessories you can find because you’ll never know when you need it. Your mates might turn to you one week and tell you that you’re going as a bunny for Easter themed Batty Bingo, or your Netball social sec may inform you that all freshers must dress up as green vegetables. It’s times like these that you scurry to town in a desperate attempt to secure green face paint and a feather boa, except the rest of first year netball is following suit! So, if you have any old costumes or props, bring them and save yourself the stress and embarrassment (maybe even a forfeit) of a rubbish costume.

Whilst I can’t tell you the quickest route to TP on a Wednesday when you’ve got ten minutes to make your 7:30pm entry time, I can assure you that your time at Exeter will be kind of like a Subway sandwich after a night out: The prospect makes you feel a little sick to your stomach with nerves, but the outcome is so much better and satisfying than you can imagine!

Related stories recommended by this writer:

A definitive guide to all the Exeter slang you need to know

37 things I wish I could have told my Exeter fresher self