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I can’t believe I’m about to confess this so publicly, but I’ve been at Lancaster for six years now. All those fresh-faced freshers starting university this week will have just begun their first year at high school when I was a fresher myself.
Conventional wisdom dictates that being so ancient I have the benefit of much experience. I’m not so sure about that myself, but I’ll impart what knowledge I can and share with you the things I wish I’d done in first year.
1. Lived on campus
Perhaps that should be ‘Live on campus for longer.’ You see, I tried living on campus. I moved in on the Sunday, all ready and prepared for the university experience. Three days later, after the rest of my flat decided to spend the night having a ‘sleepover’ in the corridor, I went home. Not as exciting, but I could at least get a good night’s sleep.
Since then, I’ve never lived on campus again. It has the advantage of being much cheaper – and of providing considerable amusement to an ex-boyfriend, who liked to introduce me to his friends with ‘So tell them how long you lived on campus, Sam,’ which never failed to produce screams of laughter – but there’s part of me that wishes I’d had a bit more staying power. No matter how hard you try, you can’t fully embrace the student lifestyle by living at home with your parents.
2. Drunk more
It goes without saying that if I had consumed more alcohol as a fresher, I would have slept through the sleepover – or wanted to go and join in, one or the other. I spent Freshers’ Week entirely sober. Whilst there can be something amusing in being the only sober one in a room full of drunk people, experience has taught me that anything is funny after a couple of drinks. (Only a couple, of course. My mum is a health educator; it can’t help but rub off.)
3. Written for SCAN
As a member of SCAN’s editorial team I might be expected to say this, but it’s true. Writing for SCAN has given me the chance to be right in the hub of everything that’s going on at Lancaster. From university skulduggery to LUSU politicking, I’ve been there, notebook in hand. It’s better than the theatre.
4. Joined the Theatre Group
That said, the theatre can get pretty thrilling by itself. I meant to join the Theatre Group in my first year, I really did. In fact, I’m not sure why I didn’t. They were very friendly at Freshers’ Fair. Whatever the reason, though, it wasn’t until twelve months ago that I finally cemented my membership of LUTG. It’s no coincidence that it’s been the most exciting twelve months I’ve ever had.
Sometimes things have been tiring, and stressful, and confusing, and horribly, horribly complicated, and I’ve felt as though I was two or even three people all trying to live the same life. However, it’s been far more eventful and interesting than it was before I became more of a ‘student’, and for that at least I feel I can judge my attempt a success.