Christina Watts tells us how to survive Freshers' Week and beyond
Your first few weeks as a student can be a bamboozling time. From getting to know your new mates to understanding the rules of "Fuzzy duck" - life for a Fresher is hard enough. So, here's our handy guide to some of the best places to make the most of your new freedom, from a Liverpool uni graduate who's been there, seen it, done it, bought the T-shirt and come out a winner.
Break the ice
Meeting new flatmates can be a wonderful but cringe-worthy experience. You’ve run out of things to say to one another and can no longer rely on the trusty, “What course are you on?” You’ve been flung into adult life armed with only a toastie maker that isn’t even out of the box. It’s time to break the ice.
The Font on Arrad Street is a rite of passage for Freshers. It’s got cheap tasty food and even cheaper drinks. The pub quizzes here are brilliant, so long as you don’t mind getting roasted by the MC (which will happen, but it’s all part of the fun.) During the height of COVID-19, one of the prizes was a sympathy card and the MC joked that my housemates and I looked like scared freshers when we were in fact, aged final year students. The Font, 1 Arrad St, Liverpool L7 7JE
The Brookhouse on Smithdown Road is a quintessential part of Liverpool student life. Usually packed with second years and up, taking your fresher flat here will show them that you really know your stuff. (Let’s just ignore that you only knew that from this guide). The Brookhouse, 467 Smithdown Rd, Liverpool L15 5AE
Nursing a hangover? Brunch at Leaf on Bold Street will sort you out. This is usually the first café that freshers visit and with good reason. The brunches are to die for and it’s in a fun vibrant environment with muted lighting, which will help if you’re feeling delicate from the night before. LEAF, 65-67 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4EZ
Liverpool nightlife is known as being one of the best in the country. You’ve struck gold, you’re going to be a fresher in a city that basically invented the sesh. Your biggest issue is you’ve got too much choice, but here are a few essentials.
Shit Indie Disco - Better than it sounds. Don your bucket hats, your shit shirts and get ready to dance the night away to indie anthems. This is one of the most chaotic nights out you’ll get. Those with the best dance moves get invited up on stage, forever immortalised in the Shindie Hall of Fame. Electrik Warehouse, 16 Wood St, Liverpool L1 4AQ
The Raz - An iconic night out and a cult favourite amongst students. The Raz student event only happens on a Monday night. Trust me, it’s easy to spot who was in the Raz the night before in a Tuesday morning lecture. When you go there ask for a Fat Frog; it’s their signature drink and consists of Smirnoff ice, Blue WKD and an orange Bacardi Breezer. You're welcome. The Blue Angel, 106-108 Seel St, Liverpool L1 4BL
Medication - A rite of passage for any student in Liverpool, Med has been welcoming students to the city for more than 25 years. The Med Heads are no longer partying at superclub Nation (it got demolished in 2015) but you can now find them at the Electrik Warehouse, previously the legendary Krazy House. Expect all the usual Medication mischief and mayhem across four floors with DJs playing house, chart, RnB and indie, plus light lasers, confetti, face painting and candy floss. Electrik Warehouse, 16 Wood St, Liverpool L1 4AQ
“Activities without alcohol?” I hear you cry. Trust me, you’re going to want to give your poor liver a break. So, here’s a list of the best hands-on booze-free activities on offer in the city.
Frankie's Paint-it Pottery - If you want something wholesome to do with your friends, then this is it. Spend a couple of hours painting pottery for the cutest bonding session. Frankie’s Paint-it Pottery, 268 Smithdown Rd, Liverpool L15 5AH
Voi Scooters - Want to know the best way to get to know Liverpool? Zipping around on the Voi scooters is your best bet. It’s cheap, cheerful and a guaranteed adrenaline rush. Just remember to wear a helmet and never, ever drink and drive. Safety announcement over, have fun! More info at Voi Liverpool.
City Explorer - An incredible way to get to know Liverpool, it’s an opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the city and probably pass more than one spot where you’ve been sick on a night out. Find out more at cityexplorerliverpool.co.uk
Tate Liverpool - A free day out. Bask in all the incredible artwork the museum has to offer. Make sure to get a picture standing next to the Liverpool Mountain statue by Ugo Rondinone just outside the museum, a pure Insta moment. Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4BB
Impress your mates
The next step of being a fresher in a new city? Showing your mates from home how your university town is way better than theirs.
The Cavern - The first thing my friends wanted to do when they visited? See the Cavern. It’s an opportunity to bask in the atmosphere of epic shows gone by and where the Beatles made their name. Also, side note; gigs are free in the day. The Cavern, 10 Mathew St, Liverpool L2 6RE
The Three Graces - These incredible buildings on Liverpool’s waterfront have amazed all my friends, especially since Robert Pattison was filming Batman on location there. (Not many people can say their uni town is Gotham, right?) The Three Graces, Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1HT
Bold Street - What more do you want from a street? Cool vintage shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. You can easily spend the day exploring Bold Street with your mates. Plus, the Bombed Out Church hosts some great outdoor events.
Meet the parents
I get it - you want to show your parents how independent and self-sufficient you’ve become since moving away. So self-sufficient, that the first thing they’ll do when they arrive is your big shop. Don’t worry, your secret's safe with me. Here’s where you should take them.
Sefton Park - Sefton Park is an idyllic break from city life, full of beautiful scenery and various coffee shops. Combine a trip to the park with a visit to Lark Lane. Your folks will love it. Sefton Park, L17
Zorbas - Zorbas claims to be the oldest running restaurant in Liverpool, and boasts a traditional Greek menu in a family run establishment. Everything on the menu is incredible and your parents won’t want to leave. Zorbas, 1 Leece St, Liverpool L1 2TR
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms - A beautiful historic bar, with their own ales. The pub is known for being the “most ornate pub in England” and is a Grade I listed building. It's also where Paul McCartney did his surprise gig in Liverpool with James Corden. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, 36 Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BX
Hobo Kiosk - An underground bar in the hip 'n' happening Baltic Triangle, serving locally brewed beer. The furniture is an eclectic mix and it’s only seating available, so you’ll have a lovely evening to spend catching up with your family. Your mates will love it too. Hobo Kiosk, 9 Bridgewater St, Liverpool L1 0AR
Study like a boss
The prospect of starting a degree can be daunting. You’ve heard how big a jump it is from A-Level and you’re already preparing yourself for the inevitable all-nighters and last-minute submissions. Here are my top tips:
At the start of the semester make a note of all the dates for your exams and assignments. Seeing them all laid out on paper will help you feel more prepared. Try and stick to a schedule. No, I’m not talking about one those annoying toxic productivity videos entitled How I Study For 12 Hours A Day. I mean having a day off each week and never working past a certain point in the evening. Apps like Forest or the Pomodoro timer are brilliant and keep you off your phone for manageable 25-minute chunks at a time.
Cool study spots
If you get tired of the campus library there are plenty of great study spots in Liverpool. Rococo Coffee in the city centre is an independent coffee shop. It’s a relaxing place to study with plenty of seating and they have the best milkshakes. For those of you who live on Smithdown and don’t fancy the trek into town, NOMAD is the perfect choice. An independent coffee shop set up in 2020, it's a firm favourite among students. 92 degrees has coffee shops on Hope St & Hardman Street - it’s a great coffee shop that brews its own coffee, has comfy seats and is always a great spot to socialise with friends after studying.
*This article was originally published 21/09/2021 and updated 22/08/2022.
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