I don’t know about you, but ‘free’ is definitely my favourite word. As soon as you don’t have to pay for something, it suddenly becomes essential, looks amazing and tastes ten times better. It doesn’t matter what it is. Add this to being absolutely skint and in debt, and suddenly a freebie is the equivalent to winning the lottery.
Whether you’ve already gone through a few of the famous Freshers Weeks – oh yes, you get to enjoy it EVERY year – or this is your first time, you definitely expect huge amounts of free stuff. Free chicken, free domino’s, free burgers – I didn’t even need to cook during my first week.
But it’s not just food either. I still drink from the free mugs, write with those same free pens and sleep in the free nightclub merch, even though I’m in my final year.
If universities started handing out free toilet roll and bedding, I probably wouldn’t have needed to buy anything for the move.
Fresher’s week is probably the easiest time to get your hands on freebies, and you WILL end up with some, whether you’re trying to or not. These things won’t just be handed to you, they will be shoved into your hands or bags, and vouchers will be slipped between your teeth. The problem is that the useless things will come your way easy – but it’s the good stuff that you want.
So many students around me miss out on various free things, simply because they have no idea what they are doing or they’re not prepared for what’s to come. You just get thrown into this crowd made up of hundreds of hungover and terrified youth, surrounded by people desperate to give away their soul for your contact details.
You see, we get totally overwhelmed with it all, to a point where no one really TRIES to get anything anymore. The truth is, most of what they hand out is genuine crap, but trust me – brands are willing to offer a lot of decent stuff for free.. just for the slight possibility of gaining a loyal customer for the next four years.
Ah, don’t you just love it when marketing benefits you?
As we’re a few days into the 2017 Freshers Week (unless your uni isn’t as cool and hosts it at different dates), I thought it’s the perfect time for me to share my secrets.
If you don’t want to be given gifts, meals, nights out, snacks, clothes, accessories and more, for the cost of absolutely nothing, simply because you’re a student, then you might as well stop reading now. I’m about to give you the best beginner’s guide and tips on getting as many free things as humanly possible during Freshers.
These tips will change your life. Free pizza changes lives.
The 10 ultimate Fresher’s Freebies guide
1. You’re about to get very popular.
If you want to avoid constant notifications on every device you own, you should make a new, seperate e-mail specifically for offers. This is a must. Most of the freebies are given out in return for you signing up to the company’s/ society’s/ club’s contact list. Now you can get unlimited free stuff without worrying about getting spammed. Afterwards, save the address for future freebies, and do keep checking it – it’s very likely that even more offers and freebies have been sent to you.
2. If it’s free, I’ll take it.
Fresher’s week is busy, crowded and quick. Don’t stand around wondering if this will look good on your desk, just take what they give – unless it’s drugs of course (but each to their own, right?). Every freebie has its meaning and purpose in this world. Give your unwanted pizza slice to someone behind you, your free hot drink to someone on the streets or your free shot glass to a flatmate (Secret Santa is sorted).
3. Come equipped.
You need to come prepared and I don’t mean bringing a pen (trust me, there will be more than enough FREE pens). No matter how good at ‘multitasking’ you said you are on your personal statement, this isn’t the time to start juggling things around. You only have two hands and there are way more freebies then that, so fold up a few carrier bags in your pocket (just in case you don’t get given a free one!)
4. Go to EVERY fair.
I don’t care if you go out of breath just thinking about the sports fair, you need to be there for the freebies (if it encourages you, they often involve pole dancing, cheerleaders or boys in swimshorts).
Yes, you’re hungover, haven’t slept, homesick, caught Fresher’s flue.. I don’t wanna hear it. You can’t let yourself miss out on any fairs or events – including those not organised by your uni. Places like the o2 Academy and large shopping centres organise their own student events every year. The last Meadowhall student night in Sheffield gave out free Nando’s vouchers, unlimited free popcorn and makeup samples.
5. Free things come to those who wait.
Have I already mentioned big crowds? The queues to our student union’s Freebie Fair went all around the campus, and people were still queueing after four hours. Either show up extra early or prepare for standing outside for a while. Plus, you actually find that half of the freebies are given out whilst you’re still in the queue outside, so yes, it’s worth the wait.
6. Cheat the system.
There’s usually an unwritten rule – one of each freebie per person. So if you really want extras, bring a partner in crime with you to collect them! My boyfriend’s dislike of pizza became very useful during the fairs, giving me all that extra domino’s. Plus, one can hold the other’s stuff when you need spare hands to enjoy your free crêpes.
7. Don’t just shove it anywhere.
You come back from the fairs, exhausted and about to start pre drinks – there is no way that you’ll have time to sit there and look through everything you got your hands on. In my first year I had freebies cluttering all over my bed, chairs, desk and floor to a point where I actually avoided my room. Instead, find a box or corner in your room and pile them up until you find the time for them – but don’t leave it too late, or like me you’ll end up buying a bottle opener, even though there are seven in your freebie pile.
8. Forget what your mamma taught you.
It’s time to ignore everything we’ve been told as kids. You must start talking to those strangers offering you free sweets. There’s a guy in the middle of campus shouting ‘free subway’? He probably means it, walk up to him. You want another domino’s slice but you already had yours? Go back around and just ask. Chat to every rep, take part in their competitions, listen to them. Not only will it get you more free stuff but you’ll also meet new people – sorting yourself contacts all around the city, which can only mean more freebies.
9. Don’t let those vouchers rot.
You can leave the free posters lying about for however long you want, but those vouchers have a use-by date. Put them into piles of those you care about (the free subway I mentioned?) and those that are not useful (like free entry to a bar that’s free entry anyway).
But your job’s not finished yet. Once you have the good pile, check every date. Some might be valid for the full month, some might only work today – and some, believe it or not, might only be valid on a specific date in six months. Domino’s ended up handing out ‘refreshers’ vouchers, which weren’t valid until February. But thanks to phone reminders, I got my hands on a few pizzas when it came around!
10. They’re yours to KEEP.
By ‘keep’ I mean, literally, keep, on you, all the time. Another reason why people miss out so often is because they go get that stupid subway anyway, and then remember they have a vouc.. oh never mind, it’s at home. Put them in your wallet or a seperate holder and never leave them behind. I used a free bus pass holder I got from the welcome fair and made sure it’s always in my bag – this way, you never miss out on a freebie ever again.
Apart from these top tips, I want you to remember one REALLY IMPORTANT thing – to enjoy yourself! It is genuinely one of the greatest parts of your uni life, and you should have all the fun you can. Getting free stuff is so much fun, but if you ever find that it’s not your thing or it’s too much of a hassle for you, find a different way to enjoy Freshers Week (or a different opportunity for free stuff another time).
Although I’m all about taking everything that is free, don’t abuse the system. Some local businesses sacrifice a huge budget for student marketing, which results in these freebies. They WANT you to have them, but please don’t be that person that goes too far and ruins it for everyone else.
Now that you know some of my freebie secrets, together we can share the art of getting free stuff. Share this post with all your new or old student friends so we can spread the love of freebies across different universities! Unless, of course, you want to keep the secrets to yourself – I won’t tell.
Have the most amazing week!
PS. Sheffield Freshers – I will see you around!
Found these tips helpful? Find out some more uni advice – straight from the students of Sheffield: Check out Uni Tips We Wish We Got Told
You might have noticed that many of my posts from the past months have disappeared. I hope you got the chance to read them, but if not – don’t worry, they will be back. I had a small site issue, which returned a lot of my published posts back into drafts and didn’t let me publish them again. The issue has been sorted now and they will come back live very soon, I promise! Thanks for sticking around.