First of all, congratulations for getting into the University of Exeter! Getting this place must have meant you put a lot of work in and got the grades you were hoping for, so relax, celebrate and then start planning for this new journey.
2 years ago when I started thinking about my move to Exeter, I found it all a bit confusing. I joined so many groups on Facebook and had adverts for events, groups and clubs coming from all different directions. The first thing to remember is not to feel overwhelmed! I think a priority should be working out who your flatmates are. It might be a bit awkward at first to be posting on a Birks Grange group ‘Who is in Block F?’, but everyone is in the same boat, so I really wouldn’t worry about it. I wish I had worked out who was in my flat at an earlier stage because it would have helped me plan my freshers a little better.
I’m sure you have already seen or will be seeing adverts and groups for what they call the ‘Freshers Wristband’, which is basically a wristband which gives you access to a number of events being run throughout the week. My honest advice would be to avoid this. In your Freshers week you want to go along to society bar crawls/events to determine which societies you want to join, as well as nights out with your flat/block/corridor friends. Two girls in my flat of 8 in Birks had bought the wristbands and both thought they were a massive waste of money. With the wristband you have no flexibility to go with the flow because you end up feeling guilty if you do not go to an event which you have paid for. In my Freshers week, on my first night I went with my flat and another flat in Birks to The Imperial (the best weatherspoons I have been to) where we had a drink, played some games and then went onto a club.
Clubs in Exeter are extremely reasonable compared to the rest of the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The most I have paid for club entry in Exeter is £5 and the average is about £3.50 – so when you work out the price of the wristband, I have no idea where they are getting these figures from. I spoke to my flatmates on a facebook chat and we decided to purchase a ticket for a ‘Thai Full Moon Party’ at the Phenoix, which was probably the worst night out in Exeter I have ever had. It was only until later into the term that I realised the Phoenix is really not a place students go clubbing – it’s more of a centre for art and other exhibitions throughout the year. If your flat are interested in a particular event on the wristband you can always purchase that and not worry about the other events. One of the girls in my flat even ended up selling her Wristband by the Wednesday because all the events she had been to had been rubbish.
I was also confused about the 2nd and 3rd years talking about certain nights being good in certain clubs, which you will soon realise is an important consideration. So, these are my suggestions for each night, and I’m sure most students will agree:
- SUNDAY (move in) – go to the Imperial pub or The Old Firehouse – you are probably a bit tired with travelling/unpacking and let’s be honest, a loud club is probably not the best way to get to know people. Go with your flat, introduce yourself, and brings some cards. You probably haven’t had time to do food shopping, so the Pizza at the Old Firehouse of something at the Weatherspoons’ Imperial is a good idea. The Impy is really close if you are in Duryard/Birks and halls on that side of campus.
- MONDAY – Unit 1 – Dirty, Sexy People (DSP) – this is a really good night and you get a nice mixture of chart music. Entry is between £3.50-4 and drinks aren’t pricy, but you will want to do a pre-drinks in your halls before hand.
- Option 1 – Unit 1 (Cheesy Tuesdays) – I’m personally not a big fan of cheesy music, but a lot of people like this night out. Its fun, lighthearted, and you can get anything played from S Club 7 to something from The Lion King
- Option 2 – Salsa night at Timepiece – for if you aren’t into cheesy music/want something a bit different/don’t want to go to Unit 1 two nights in a row. There are lots of places to get cocktails in Exeter so you could go to Las Iguanas or something similar beforehand to get you in the mood to salsa.
- WEDNESDAY – Timepiece – if you are into sport or want to join a sports society, this is the night that is going to be for you. After the challenges, initiations etc, most clubs (especially Rugby, Tennis and Cheerleading) head to Timepiece. Timepiece is great because they have a wine area with benches so if you aren’t int he mood for dancing/want a change there is this option. Next door to Timepiece is xxxxx where a lot of people go and get drinks before going into the club.
- THURSDAY – Unit 1 – Thursday Antics – a lot of RnB, Rihanna, light dance music – this is my favourite night out in Exeter.
- FRIDAY – Timepiece
- SATURDAY – Unit 1
** Unit 1 used to be called Arena 3 years ago and people STILL sometimes refer to it as this so don’t get confused by this.
*** There is also another club called Rosie’s (which used to be called Mosaic) which is fairly small. I haven’t been to it since it was rebranded as Rosie’s, but that might be another option to explore.
If you do all night out (WOW), well done you! But if you want to mix the clubbing up, or clubbing isn’t really your thing, there are some great bars and cocktail places, as well as plenty of restaurants.
Another idea could be to go on Tuesday (where it is 2for1 games and drinks) to TenPin Bowling at the Quay with your flat! Definitely book this one though – you can call up or do it online.
It is really worth going to your course society events like BioSoc or GeogSoc because you can get to know your classmates and have someone to walk to lectures with in the following weeks.
As for the daytime…
Shopping – you might need to get a few more pieces for your room or kitchen so fill the days by popping into town and picking these up! Wilko and Sainsbury’s in the Guildhall are great for cheap, usual bits and bobs. I also recall a few visits to Claires and Primary in my Freshers week for a white t-shirt (for white t-shirt socials where you sign each other’s tops and share names and numbers) and lots of glitter.
Devon Afternoon Tea – go to the Cathedral Green to Tea on The Green for a coffee and some scones. I went to Tea on the Green with my mum on the open day before I joined Exeter, took my grandparents there when they came to visit me, and bonded with my flatmates there during Freshers week so it’s been a pretty important place for me throughout my time at Exeter!
Sports – get involved with some sports and try something new. I started Badminton when I joined Exeter and I absolutely love it!! I also play tennis in town for Victoria Park Tennis Club where I get to play matches all across the county. Before I got to Exeter I went on the guild website where they list all the societies and all the events going on it and the week. It is worth highlighting sessions, picnics, course inductions and other events your really want to go to so you don’t miss out and double book!
The Quay – enjoy the good weather while it lasts and go to the Quay! It’s a fair way from some halls so you might want to tag it on with the bowling afterwards but with ice cream, canoeing and pedal boating it’s a really fun place!
The beach – take the train to Exmouth or Dawlish! In my opinion Exmouth is a better beach, but either are great! If you’re up for a challenge, you can also cycle there along the exe estuary which is a beautiful route.
No matter what you get up to, pack your week full and be prepared to feel tired by the end of the week!