Healthy student at Fresher's Week

Top tips for staying healthy during Fresher’s Week

Posted on by Dr Tony Steele Posted in General

Fresher’s Week: the opportunity for new students to throw themselves headlong into the thick of university (night) life. With all the fun and socialising that abounds, staying healthy is probably quite low down on the list of priorities. Yet student health is a real issue, as is fresher’s flu, mental health and sexual health. As are hangovers. Starting the academic year feeling run down is not the best way to kick off the term. If you are a fresher (or know someone who is) there are a few simple tips that could help to stave off fresher’s flu and make for a healthier start to campus life.


Tempting as it is to lounge in bed and skip breakfast, it’s really not the ideal way to start the day. It doesn’t have to be a grand affair, eggs benedict is lovely but it’s not always practical to start perfecting your poached egg while whisking your hollandaise sauce (all while nursing a sore head). A microwave and a tin of baked beans can be your friend when you’re on a budget and in need of a filling start. Eggs are quick and easy (and cheap), add to the mix a couple of slices of wholemeal toast and you’ve got an energetic, quick and easy brekkie. As for you diet in general, try and incorporate fruit and vegetables into every meal, even if it’s as simple as adding a little broccoli with a splash of soy sauce to the side, or an apple as you’re leaving the house.


Drink well, as in get enough water down your neck, not neck as much alcohol as you can. The standard eight glasses of water a day applies – so it’s great to carry a bottle around with you – but if you have been enjoying a few tipples, drink more aqua to prevent dehydration. In the meantime, avoid becoming dependent on sugary soft drinks, and every now and then add a squeeze of lime or lemon to your glass.

Fresh air and exercise

At Fresher’s Week, there are plenty of clubs offering you the opportunity to have a go at a new sport or joining a team. It’s a great way to try out tennis or rowing or something else you have always wanted to try out, so get some fresh air and meet new people too. This is the absolute best time to sign up to a fun, healthy, social activity, so start as you mean to go on!


Sleep is not something that students are known to underrate, yet they can be guilty of not getting enough of it, just like the rest of us. If you are feeling a little anxious or homesick, you’re sleeping patterns may be disturbed, so allow yourself some time to settle in. If you’re missing sleep just because you are living it up too much, try not to burn yourself out too quickly. Lack of sleep can cause your concentration to suffer, and can even contribute to you feeling depressed. Furthermore, it can affect your immune system and reduce your libido. So be strict with yourself if necessary, and make sure you’re not consistently staying up until the early hours.

Be Positive

University is a big step and campus life can be a little overwhelming at first, but universities today have lots of care and support systems in place, so use them – taking your health and wellbeing seriously is nothing to be ashamed of, and nor is homesickness. Keep up with old friends as well as new ones, and stay in contact with family, too – with Skype, WhatsApp and the like, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch.

Be Safe

There are lots of new things to try during Fresher’s Week and there will be an abundance of good times on offer. The importance of planning ahead for safe sex can therefore not be overstated. Condoms are easy to obtain (you will probably be given some for free within the first hours of arriving on campus), so you should always have some in your back pocket, wallet or purse, just in case. If you are not a big drinker, don’t go mad just so you can fit in, and if you don’t normally smoke, this is not the time to start. Have a great time, and remain safe and healthy throughout.