Freshers’ is certainly unique, but might not be the best week of your life


Freshers’ week is certainly unique; it is full of firsts which bring with them a certain excitement and novelty: maybe it is the first time you are completely independent; there is the first time you see your room; (for Bailey colleges) the first time you wear your black gown, wondering if you have actually ended up at Hogwarts!

It is your first opportunity to try out the city’s cafes and/or clubs, as well as the delights of college food in all its glorious novelty! You also leave and gain many first impressions of yourself and others, as you meet new person after new person after new person.

These experiences all contribute to the buzz and uniqueness of Freshers’; however it is good to be realistic about the challenges that come with uprooting your life to a new city and starting at university. Furthermore, the fact that these significant changes are to be faced without all previously known emotional support systems- those of friends and family back home- only increases the unfamiliarity of the situation. Therefore it is no surprise that for many people there are times when Freshers’ can seem a little overwhelming and loneliness can kick in.

Developing new friendships takes time! In my opinion clubbing is not an ideal method of friend-making. For one, it is hard to chat with the music drowning out your conversations. Once courses, clubs and societies kick off these provide easier means of bonding with people, many of whom you will have more in common with.

Plus, did anyone ever mention that Freshers’ is tiring? Talking to so many new people is mentally draining and a string of late nights can lead to exhaustion. The university drinking culture can bring new social pressures with it which can be uncomfortable and intimidating. However just be yourself; you do not have to do anything you do not want to. Plus there will always be others who feel the same as you, they just may be too scared to say! So take courage and stick to what you feel happy with.

So do not feel weird if you find Freshers’ week more challenging and less dreamy than you were expecting; you won’t be the only one. The university recognises the huge upheaval that moving to university is and has a great number of support systems in place. Each college has an enthusiastic team of Freps, as well as friendly students who run the college welfare systems. They give up their time to be available for a chat; so make the most of them. ‘Nightline’ operates every night, which is a helpline manned by trained students who are there to listen to any concerns; they are only a phone call away. In order to combat any feelings of failure or deflation it is helpful to go into Freshers’ with the right expectation: it will not be the pinnacle of your university experience, rather a little taster of better times to come.

Photograph by Emma Werner

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