Wow your new friends and conquer Freshers Week with some skills you didn’t know you already had.
1. Packing a rucksack
During Freshers Week you’ll be out and about, seeing a whole new city and exploring the campus. Channel that Cub camp where you brought everything from your room, including your favourite lego brick, and pack a day bag with everything you’ll need, just in case.
University campuses are a maze. Use those map skills from your Explorer Belt to find your flat in your halls of residence, and negotiate the endless corridor of doors which all look the same.
So the glossy prospectus lied about campus being a ‘stone’s throw’ from town, and it turns out it’s a 40-minute slog. But you’ve done Silver DofE: it barely seems worth the £1.50 discount bus fare. You’re a student now – get ready to count the pennies. Lace up those hiking boots and you’ll be there in no time.
4. First aid
Cut yourself on the sharpest £1 plastic Wilko kitchen knife in the universe? Never fear: that First Aid Staged Activity Badge knowledge will kick in any second now. Compression, elevation. And if all else fails, someone in the flat probably got shipped off to uni with a full First Aid box that their mum bought.
By about Wednesday, you’ll be in need of a proper meal that didn’t come from a burger van. No matter how late they got in the night before, a true Scout can always drag themselves out of bed to make camp-style eggy bread, bacon and beans. You’ll feel a million times better – and you’re even allowed to cook it on a real hob, not a camp stove in the freezing rain.
Moving away to Uni is all about teamwork. You’re thrown into your flat with a bunch of strangers and expected to get on: clashes are inevitable, but the strange situation in which you find yourselves gives you so much in common already. Team up, look after your buddies and you’ll all make it through together.
Roman toga from a sheet? No problem. Cave girl dress from a metre of dubious fluffy fabric you found in a skip? Easy. You’ve done enough square lashings to last a lifetime: now is your time to shine in the world of poorly-constructed fancy dress.
By the time the weekend rolls around, signalling the ending of Fresher’s Week and the start of (gasp) lectures, at least one of your flatmates will have started to give off a distinct odour. Don’t be that guy: get yourself in the shower and scrub behind your ears. And find out the change you need for the washing machines and dryers – now is the embryonic beginning of a glorious 20p hoard that will see you through the year.
The nightmare situation: your flatmate returns home after a night out dancing on the tiles with an embarrassing split in his trousers from some over-enthusiastic lunging at the bus stop. Be the hero the flat needs but doesn’t deserve right now: pretend it’s for a challenge badge and flex those sewing muscles.
Without doubt, sometime during Fresher’s Week you’ll be woken up by someone shouting in the corridor, trying to get into your room thinking it’s their own, and/or singing Destiny’s Child at the top of their lungs. This is the way of the world and its gleeful first year students. Get some earplugs if you’re having an early night and don’t be the flatmate who writes passive-aggressive post-it notes on the fridge. Rise above it and remember: next year you can move out.
Good luck to all the Scouts heading to university this year! We wish you all the best.