Freshers’ Week

Freshers’ Week

Well, you’ve made it through your first night and you’re now faced with the prospect of a week of drunken debauchery and hungover flat bonding. I’m sure you’re really excited about getting drunk every night, exploring all the clubs and unions and getting to know loads of people. You’ve probably already seen a Freshers’ week schedule, if you’re organised you’ll have figured out exactly which events you’re going to, you’ll have this idea of amazing parties, finding great new places, meeting friendly new people. But stop right there. There’s much more to Freshers’ week than that and you’ll need to be prepared for the unexpected and the disappointments.

I won’t lie I absolutely hated Freshers’. It was honestly the worst week I’ve experienced. Between the rushing about, getting lost, not knowing anyone, homesickness and shyness I had an absolute hell of a time. Freshers’ week at most Unis is definitely aimed more towards those who enjoy the nightlife and drinking. For those who don’t feel ready or secure enough in their surroundings to drink too much, those who are not really into getting too drunk anyway and those who, heaven forbid, don’t actually drink, Freshers’ events often include standing self-consciously in the corner, getting vomited on, trying in vain to make friends with people who probably won’t even remember you come morning or even just staying in the flat watching chick flicks and crying over your loneliness and fear that by not going out and partaking in the alcohol fuelled initiations you’re not going to make friends.

Now, I’m not saying this to scare you or make you decide against going to Freshers’, but I do think you need to be aware that things probably won’t be as perfect as you may be imagining. And not everyone will enjoy the infamous Freshers’ week as much as others. All the same, it’s an important experience and I really do think everyone should at least attempt to go out to the events. It will help you make friends and socialise, it will stop you lounging about in your room, upset and homesick, and hopefully it’ll help boost your confidence about going to Uni in general, just seeing others in the same situation.

Freshers’ week is not something that my school even mentioned. I only found out it existed when I got my welcome pack from the uni. For those of you who have siblings or friends who have gone to uni you’ll probably be aware of what Freshers’ week is, for those of you who don’t I guess it’s really an opportunity to get to know people and find your way about. It’s also got the reputation for being the best week long party you’ll ever have. For a lot of people this is true. For people who find it easy to fit in, who can take getting lost, not knowing anything about anything in their stride, they’ll likely do well at Freshers’.

Again, I just want to stress that even though I had a pretty crap Freshers’ week does not mean that you will. In all likelihood, you’re going to have an amazing time, meet amazing people and have some great memories (the bits you do remember at any rate). There are a few things that might make this better for you or easier for those who, like me, probably won’t enjoy all the drunken nights. Okay, so, here come the bullet points again:

    • First and most important is that you should definitely attempt to go to as many events as you can. I didn’t go to many of the night time events and I seriously regret it. So even if you’re feeling worried about not knowing people, or if you don’t have anyone to go with try and go anyway. You’ll find that your subject might have a facebook page, search for it and just put a message asking if other people want to go to a certain event. You’ll really be surprised at the amount of people in the same position you’re in and who’d just be stuck in their flat if someone doesn’t take the initiative and get a group of people together to go to it.
    • Remember that Freshers’ week isn’t just about getting drunk. It’s about exploring your campus and making the most of the free stuff they give you at the stalls. So you need to go to the daytime events too. Even if you’re hungover. If there’s nothing on you should get out and about anyway. This is the perfect time for you to figure out where your classes are going to be and where important things are, like the library and the nearest coffee shop. And you don’t even need to worry about looking too lost ’cause if you do you’ll fit right in!
    • Be prepared for a mad rush. I’m deadly serious when I say I was knocked off my feet 8 times in one day during Freshers’ (and, no, it had nothing to with my slightly askew balance before I get cheeky comments). It’s not just fellow lost students you have to worry about though, the evil flyer people will be everywhere. These horrible creature were put on this earth (or at least campus) purely to laden you with leaflets you’re never going to read, free lollipops you’re going to find six months late in the bottom of your bag and try and get you to swear an oath, written in blood and sealed with tears that you’ll go to their club, cafe, restaurant, shop every day for the rest of your life. Beware my friends, they are sent from the deepest depths of hell to make you late at every opportunity and to cause as much obstruction and near death collisions as possible.
    • You should also be on guard for the flyer people’s evil side-kicks, the petitioners. These seemingly innocent people, campaigning for equal rights or other just causes are secretly bnp representatives, anti-democracy campaigners, or worse humanists armed with cupcakes. *shivers *. Their one goal in life is to make you sign their petition. If you can avoid doing this, do so. It will only encourage their evil plan and allow yourself to become victim to the horrible plague that is unwanted emails from random things you’ve signed in freshers’ week. I’ve had it on good authority that even 10 years after freshers’ week you’ll never be rid of them. Especially the devils that are ‘freshuni’ or other such ‘I can help you find a career but only if I can send you a million unrelated emails an hour’ people.
    • If you’re really smart you’ll invent a fake email address to give them so you can get their free cupcakes without actually having to be pestered by them. This is also good during Freshers’ Fairs or other events where clubs and societies have stands or stalls to show you what they’re all about. It’s difficult to stop the emails so unless you’re absolutely certain you want to receive them, give them a fake one. It’s easier to find the club again and give them your real email address than it is to stop them pestering you. Trust me, I get an email a week about knitting.
    • I fear I’m going to emphasise this a million times in this section but during Freshers’ week it’s important that you remain aware of your personal safety at all times. It’s basic things that in all honesty your parents have probably drilled into your head by now, but just in case you’ve not heard this enough to make your ears bleed I’m going to say it again because it’s important. I know this might seem condescending, but tough. It really is very important to keep all of this in mind because you are more likely to be targeted at Freshers’ week because people know you’re in a new place and probably won’t have a clue where you are or what you’re doing. (I’m going to write a section on staying safe in first year. I know many people already know what I’m going to say but I *really* can’t stress how important this sort of stuff is. It’ll be up soon and I’ll link it here when it is.)
    • Try to remember that, although you’ve probably got your loan in and all that money is just waiting to be spent on booze and hangover cures, it’s got to last you a whole month, maybe even more depending on your payment schedule. It’s far too tempting to just spend it all during Freshers’ week. I have a friend who did that and had the worst month imaginable because she couldn’t afford to feed herself.
    • It’s important that you realise you’re now on your own and you’ve got to look after yourself. You no longer have your parents there to clean up after you. So my advice is to start straight away, get into a routine of tidying, washing dishes every night, doing your washing during the week and cooking meals at reasonable times (not 3 in the morning when you realise you’ve forgotten to eat all day. Yes I am a hypocrite in saying this as it happened to me only yesterday. But you can learn from my mistakes.). If you start off being reasonably tidy you’ll be able to keep it that way and it’s a much less daunting task than finding yourself, at the end of Freshers’ week, knee deep in dirty dishes.
    • If you’re in a shared flat you might want to work out with your flatmates how you’re going to arrange things like replacing toilet paper, cleaning communal areas and maybe sharing a meal or two a week and taking turns to cook. It’s best to sort this out early. I would know, I still haven’t worked it out.
    • You will get sick, most likely within the first two weeks. I can guarantee it happening within the first month at least. It’s Freshers’ week flu and by law every student must catch it before they can even call themselves a student. By the end of Freshers’ Week lectures will be accompanied by a chorus of sneezing, coughing and occasionally someone running to throw up.
    • Try your best to spend time with your flatmates. This is something I didn’t do very well and I really do regret it. So some tips on getting on with your flatmates I’ve stolen from other people who did a better job than I did would be:
      • Make an effort to speak to them whenever you see them.
      • If you hear someone in the kitchen or other communal area, go talk to them.
      • If your flatmates are having a conversation, don’t be afraid to just go up and join in.
      • Be prepared to share the kitchen, be fair and don’t hog it. Same goes with the toilet and showers.
      • Most people have different levels of cleanliness. If you’re stuck with someone who’s never heard of bleach before you’ll either need to grin and bear it or have it out with them at an early stage. Communication is key.
      • Respect others belongings. If someone has said it’s ok to use something the great. If they haven’t you need to respect that or you could find your flat becomes unbearable.
      • Don’t steal food. Just don’t. It’s annoying.
      • Expect to have your food nicked. And your dishes used. Again, it’s up to you how you handle this. You can kick up a stink but it will cause friction between you and could cause more problems. But also, don’t be a pushover. If someone takes something of yours, get it back.
      • It might be best to keep things like alcohol or expensive personal belongings in your room. If your flatmates run out of booze during pre-drinks you could easily wake up to find two bottles of wine have mysteriously disappeared. Again, I speak from experience.
    •  Homesickness for me was one of the worst things about Freshers’ week. I found it so difficult being away from my family for the first time, knowing I wouldn’t see them again for ages. I must have spent half my freshers’ week moping around feeling sorry for myself because of how shit I was feeling. The best thing to do is get out and keep busy. I know I always feel better if I’m doing something than if I’m just holed up in bed all day.
    • Don’t worry about being lost, everyone is.
    • Try and have fun! I know that sounds obvious but if you go into Freshers’ Week with a positive attitude you’ll gain so much more from it. 

On Freshers’ Week
“The main thing I thought about Freshers Week was that it was ‘bigged up’ far too much. Best week of my life? Very debatable. Sure, had some fun nights and met some awesome people, but I think there is too much pressure put the idea that you need to meet as many people as you can and get as drunk as you can, and if you aren’t doing those things, you kind of question whether you’re doing something wrong. Thats clearly not the case though, as everyone has their own way of enjoying things – yeah, I went out every night, but didn’t get mortally drunk every single time, and I still loved it!
However I don’t think its as good as many people make it out to be – like I said, good? – yes! Most memorable week of my years at uni? – I highly doubt it will be! ” Stacey M
” My first day (at freshers’) was somewhat quiet and I kept myself mostly to myself. It was only on the second day that I really met up with people I’d met on facebook.On the first day, probably because of my prior experiences, I kept expecting people to give me a hard time. So I spent most of the day exploring Kelvingrove park rather than doing anything social.

On the second day when I met up with some people, I realised that I’d been pretty silly being all reclusive on the first.” Colvin S
“It felt like the first time (anywhere) – all new and scary, feeling like everyone else is so much better equipped to cope with uni life than you are, and obviously so much more intelligent! You dont know where the loos are, you cant work out the library system, or even where your classes are! not too sure where to queue to get a coffee and just generally feel quite isolated, and thats from a ‘grown-up’ – god knows how it must feel for someone of 17/18 not even from Glasgow!” Jade M
“Today was my first day on campus as I chose to miss out on the inductions yesterday. I surmised that they would be rather boring and full of stuff I had heard before, and it seems I was accurate in that assumption. I had a moment of panic today when I heard that one useful thing told in the inductions was the times we had to pick up our student cards, however, the pick up point was really quiet when I went to see if I could get it. So panic was averted.I unfortunately missed a meet up of freshers on Sunday, so today was my first time meeting people I had befriended on facebook. They were all lovely, and I made some new friends. I just hope that I wasn’t too annoying as my nervous chattering kicked in several times. Other than picking up my student card and having a wander around the campus  learning where everything was, today was the freshers’ fair. Which is basically a bunch of stalls handing out leaflets, information and free stuff! It was supposed to be outside, which would have been much more spacious. Instead because of the downgraded hurricane Katia hitting Scotland the fair was crammed into two tiny halls. Despite the cramped space I did thoroughly enjoy the fair and everything that was on offer. I was even a good girl and signed up for some job searchy type places. The one thing I like about Freshers’ fairs is the chance to chat to all the societies, and some were really great. I had a nice chat with the guys at Io, the Sci-Fi and Fantasy society which I am most definitely planning to join. It was the society that I feel I’d be the most at home at and fits with my personality and interests” Heather T (http://blog.ruby-wings.net/)
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