3,480 new undergrads this year

Survival Guide to Freshers’ Week

University life has many perks – one of which is its unparalleled freedom. Don’t let other people’s opinions dictate how you experience it.

3,480 new undergrads this year
Photo Credit: Olly Bailey

By now, almost everything that you have been told about freshers week will have been repeated so many times that it will be hard to even appear interested. Friends, siblings, aunts and a few drunk strangers in the pub will all have had their say: “It’s the best week of your life!”, “you’ll be wasted 24/7!”, “you will be getting laid so much you won’t be able to sit down” et cetera, et cetera.

Ignore almost all of it.

Whilst the stories are amusing, it can be easy to benchmark your own expectations of freshers week based on what you’re told by others – Uncle Jim doesn’t sound like he is completely lying about how many birds he shagged and I’m sure there are elements of truth in your mate’s story about when he once drank a pint of gin and only chunned twice – it doesn’t necessarily mean that those stories will reflect your own freshers week.

The newfound freedom that university life offers is refreshing and scary, but one benefit of that freedom is having more power over how you spend your time. For some, getting blackout drunk and trying to mount anything with a name sounds good, and for others, watching tv and hanging out sounds like more fun. Go with whichever extreme suits you better, or any variation in between.

That being said, it can be good to get an idea of what tends to happen in Freshers so you don’t go into it feeling woefully under prepared.

You’ll get up and lurk in your bedroom for about an hour; it seems too bold of a move to actually venture into the kitchen. Finally, a brave resident will emerge from their lair and others will congregate in the kitchen.

An often-overlooked element of freshers week: small talk. The only two words in the english language that you will come to hate more than ‘compulsory reading’. From now until the evening, conversations will soar to the exciting heights of planning a group food shop and plummet to the abyss of what GCSEs did you choose. It’s a necessary evil to be endured, not enjoyed.

Then comes the evening. As mentioned above, it really is up to you what you want to do, so if clubbing and drinking isn’t for you, don’t be pressured by others. That being said, clubbing and drinking does tend to be a big part of freshers for most.

Try to find a good group for pre-drinks. Sometimes your flat will be pretty crazy and you won’t need any extra help to get things going, but if not, it’s as easy as walking around to other flats at about 9 and knocking on doors if you hear music.

After that point, things will take care of themselves and hopefully you met some fun people along the way, in which case, get their number and invite them to whatever is going on the next day.

You didn’t come to uni to be told what to do, so use that fact to enjoy freshers in the way you choose. The best description I’ve ever heard of freshers is “It will be the weirdest week of your life”. Maybe it’s an exaggeration, but it’s not far off. It’s tiring, exciting, fun, boring and everything in between. If it’s not for you, it’s good to remind yourself that it’s only one week of many.

Do what you feel like, make an effort to meet fun people and try to enjoy it.

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