It’s August 1st, which means one thing – it’s time to start thinking about September and plan, plan, plan. Well at least for Virgo me, this is what I do every year however last year was a bit different. This time last year I was frantically planning and prepping for going to university, my first year at Exeter. But this planning in some ways was futile because nothing can really prepare you, you just have to do it. So, if nothing else other than some mild entertainment, here is my review of freshers.
Okay so lets start with the pre-prep basics:
Packing. I don’t think you can not make mistakes in this bit. Too much or too little, you never know what you need till you’re in a situation when you need it so my advice would be bring what you want and remember, there is civilisation where you’re going (and if you doubt that, there will be an IKEA or an ASDA at least).
Finance. This is important. You should’ve applied for student finance a while ago around May time so check you’ve got that confirmed and keep hold of all those documents in one place. Decide what you’re going to use your loan for whether it’s to pay your accommodation or live off of. Either way, split it up so you have a rough idea of what you can spend week to week and month to month. Even if you don’t stick to it, it gives you some red flags for when you realise you have £13 to live off for the next 2 weeks…
Registration and Course. It’s true first year is sort of a doss (not for every course but then again I do English so) but even so you do have to at least look at your course, see what you’re meant to be learning and where, it’ll just put your post-freshers panic to rest when you realise yes, you actually have to do some work. Also make sure you register for whatever you need to – for me it was as a student and to get my email and ID card. If you don’t do this it’s messy but your uni should email you telling you what to do. If not, chase them, you’re an adult now.
Moving. It’s scary, it’s hectic and you will forget something but that’s okay. It’s overwhelming so just make sure you settle yourself with things that will make you comfortable whether that’s finding your bearings (aka where are the spoons) or putting your bedsheets on, whatever will put your mind at ease.
Do What You Want.
Genuinely, the best week. Everything seems free, everyone’s hyper and you have 0 responsibility.
I was terrified for freshers, mainly because I had never drunk before. However, it is likely like most British teens you will have had a few not to be mentioned experiences pre-uni. But, there were people in the same boat and you just have to take it in your stride, whether you drink or not. There’s a big stigma that there is little place for non-drinkers at uni and whilst it is the centre of british uni culture, it’s not everything. You do NOT have to drink to have a good time and there are often societies that support sobriety. This is quite a good article about not drinking at uni from a personal perspective https://thetab.com/uk/kings/2016/02/03/done-can-still-fun-uni-dont-drink-hate-clubs-7079 , but I would also really encourage you to look for societies at your uni online before going, research can be incredibly comforting.
However, I did in fact drink and chose to continue doing so. It helps, it loosens you up and it did make me feel a bit more relaxed to talk to people who I wouldn’t have had I been sober. I still remember the first night at uni where my whole block went to spoons and it was so great. I shared a blue lagoon and forgot the name of one of my to be best friends, excellent job.
But to be honest, we didn’t go out all that much during freshers. In fact I didn’t actually go clubbing until the week after freshers but it didn’t matter, it was still great. And still exhausting because you’re constantly talking and having to socialise with people even if its in passing in the kitchen. So enjoy it but look after yourself, it can take it out of you.
Which leads us perfectly to Freshers Flu, so common it should be trademarked. And to be honest once you get it, it never really leaves you and no matter what you think, you are not immune. So get your tissues and paracetamol ready to go.
And then the year starts, and to be honest it only gets better. I think the hype around Freshers is well deserved and necessary because it is great, but its only a flavour of the rest of the year. Being drunk with your best mates at 2.00am on a Thursday morning after TP Wednesday, fucking up your kitchen knowing you’re not making it to your 8.00am critical theory seminar is truly the British and best experience.
I think I’ll do a few post on Uni because whilst I’ve sung its praises it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not all sunshine and daisies, not all the time and not for everyone, so keep your eyes peeled for those, future freshers.
Make good life choices.