Fresher’s Week: Through The Eyes Of A Third Year
September 30, 2012
By: Rosie Hill
So we’re past that time of year again. When parents with full cars deposit their darling children in a new city, with a group of potentially weird strangers and leave them there until Christmas. That time of year, dear readers, would be Fresher’s Week. It has become somewhat of an institution, a rite of passage to university where anything goes.
The week-long event is a crash course for friendship making, helped along by copious amounts of cheap alcohol and so called ‘ice-breaking games’. This combination can go one of two ways;
a) The ice is well and truly broken and you find a million things in common with everyone in your flat, resulting in you becoming best friends for life – or at least for the next fortnight!
b) You find yourself in a bar you can’t remember the name of, wearing a random selection of fancy dress items, probably involving neon face paint, being forced to drink shots – also neon in colour – by your Welcome Week helpers (2nd and 3rd years either genuinely wanting to help or seeking revenge for their own Fresher’s Week.) All this whilst with a group of people you have nothing in common with and would, in any other situation, never make eye contact with, let alone talk to.
Sounds fun right?!
As a now apparently mature third year, I have made it through this bizarre university ritual, relatively unscathed and can now observe it from the outside. This is exactly what I did at the Venue on the first Saturday night of Fresher’s Week!
First years in completely mis-matched friendship groups dance awkwardly on the dance floor, or attempt to out-drink each other at the bar. Side note; to the two blonde boys I saw knocking them back that night – your ability to drink 7 tequila slammers in a row is impressive, however you throwing your guts up down Tyler footpath three hours later with the word ‘cock’ scrawled across both of your faces is less so.
Freshers at Kent look so young this year! I have a tendency of referring to anyone younger than me as ‘about 12’ but this description seems accurate for this year’s UKC newbies. I’m worried some of them need permission slips from their parents just to be out after 9pm! Having taken a gap year, I turn 22 this academic year making me light-years older than the baby-faced 18 year olds walking round campus. I swear I didn’t look that young?!
I feel I should impart some words of guidance to naïve first years following Fresher’s Week. Yes it is exciting and new, and gives you a whole new moral compass because you are told, Fresher’s Week is viewed as a little holiday. What happens at Freshers stays at Freshers.
Oh little ones I wish that was the case.
I know living away from home is incredibly liberating the first time, that doesn’t mean you need to get naked and streak through campus. You never get a second chance at a first impression. I have friends as third years who still have the nicknames they were given after their antics during our Fresher’s Week. Be careful!
Not everything you pick up during Fresher’s Week you get stuck with though. Making friends is always the hardest thing. You come from home having grown up with a tight-knit group of mates, when suddenly you’re thrust into unfamiliar surroundings and anyone who smiles at you could potentially be your new best friend. But do not fear. The group I spent Fresher’s with are very different to the people I now call my best friends. A few I met, and stayed with and have subsequently lived with last year, and have stayed through to this year. Some I see out and we say hi, and others I barely even acknowledge now. So please don’t worry if you’re not entirely comfortable with the people you’ve been hanging round with for the last fortnight. Once everyone has settled down into university, real personalities will come out and you will meet people in more natural settings, as opposed to when you’re dressed as a slutty schoolgirl in Mungo’s.
My Fresher’s Week is quite a blur. My highlights include a heady mix of fancy dress, bar crawls, running away from a crazy man called JD, staying drunk for 24 hours and meeting people I can now call my best mates.
Remember, Fresher’s Week is just one week in your whole university life. It is not the be all and end all, so hold onto your memories and rectify them next year. You will have better nights out, you will meet more people and in a year’s time, you will look at the latest intake of students the way I am looking at you right now. With a mixture of thank God I don’t have to go through that again and wishing I could start from the beginning just one more time.