(Positively) reflecting on not having to live through another Freshers’ week

Freshers’ week is hyped up to such an extent that missing it would feel like you weren’t going to university at all. But how good actually is Freshers? If you take away all the thoughts and feelings you are meant to feel towards the sacred week, looking back, would you do it again? I only did it once because I moved around a lot during my degree (BBA life), but I know a lot of friends who had multiple Freshers’ and it seemed that their experiences worsened every time. I feel like I’m going to come across like a massive loser writing this, but I genuinely think it’s time to quit the bull and be honest about Freshers’.  

I was so excited arriving on campus for Freshers’ week. I had heard a million anecdotes from friends, family members and people I followed on social media about their wild antics. Freshers’ has a kind of ‘everything goes’ mentality and all their stories had only solidified that understanding in my mind. I enjoyed going out in secondary school and thought I could handle my drink. I thought I knew how to make friends easily and that my first week would be pure, unadulterated fun.  

To some extent my experience lived up to my ideals. I had fun, I danced, I drank, I met amazing people and yes, all of that was great. Yet, during Freshers’ I admit I always felt like I was trying to be someone else. I also felt like I was constantly drowning in homesickness and used most of my energy on trying to distract myself from the deep sense of uncertainty in my stomach. I think feeling unsettled for those first few crucial days – and weeks – made it hard to enjoy Freshers’ in the same way I know some others did. I’m being biased here, and my experience certainly shouldn’t be seen as universal, as I know some of my best friends had a consistently great time. That said, I think it is useful and healthy to hear some different perspectives and to know that you are not alone if you didn’t adore the whole (or even any) of Freshers’ and had a much better time later in the year when you felt more settled.  

Freshers’ is also hardcore. I thought I enjoyed drinking and going out but… woah. My body could not take it. On the fifth night I genuinely couldn’t do it any longer. I had downed so many bottles of cheap wine from Fresh that I couldn’t bear to look at a grape. I’ve always been stingy with my money and only ever paid for the £4 wine, so it tasted horrific (even more so on the way back up). I also lived with a girl who had never drunk before, and she was so poorly that we had to get security on the second night – an experience. However, I must admit it bonded my flat together.  

Freshers’ pushed me outside my comfort zone to a huge extent personally, but it did help me make amazing friends. Of my friendship group that I’ve left university with, I met only one of them during Freshers’. So, it wasn’t the making of my university family, but I was beyond close with my flat mates and I must thank Freshers’ for that. Although I do not long for the days of being sick every night, having mozzarella dippers stuck to my face or losing my keys, phone and purse all in Bridge EVER again, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to sit on the floor of Marlborough eating a BigMac and singing The Fray with my flat mates one more time.  

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