I was a Fresher a very long time a go. In the days when Revs was the only place to go on a Tuesday night; when the Sports Centre was not a fluorescent hilltop landmark; when some guy called Robbie Pickles was LUSU President. The point is, I am old. Perhaps not in real life old, but University old, so I think it is time to share some wisdom with the young people of today AKA the Fresher’s of 2014. I may not be able to tell you the secret to getting a job or acing that dissertation, but I can tell you which people play the best guitar on a night out…
It will All Be All Right
Within the first 48 hours of my Uni life, I had some sort of emotional break down because I wasn’t enrolled on the right module or something along those lines. A lot of time and wine has gone by since then – details are sketchy! However, the point is that at the time I genuinely thought I would be on the wrong course, graduate with a different degree, and fail at life. Fast forward 4 years and none of those things have happened. Well, I’m still figuring out life part, but I haven’t fallen into a ditch just yet so fingers crossed. The thing is, that’s half the fun of Freshers’; navigating your way through all these new twists and turns that seem like they will drive you to an early grave. They won’t, you will figure it out and will prove to yourself that you can do this University, independence malarkey. You will look back and say, I was so silly for crying over my course enrolment failure. Unless of course I do end up in a ditch, then it might be justified.
Some of it Won’t Be All Right
I might sound like your Mum, although I’m not quite that old yet, but there are some people who you don’t want to give your last rolo to. It’s ok to come from a relatively sheltered background. I know I did. Coming from a fancy Grammar School in the epitome of a middle class suburb, I thought Sambuca was some sort of dance. Regardless, not everything is going to be all right because some people, to out it nicely, aren’t all right. For the most part, all Freshers’ are the same as you, a bundle of nerves who want to make it through the week without gaining some sort of mortifying nickname that will haunt you for life. However, some people aren’t, trust your gut, stay true to yourself. For the love of all things good, don’t go anywhere by yourself until you know what you’re doing! Now I definitely sound like your Mum…
There are a few top tips I have picked up and in many cases, learnt the hard way when it comes to nightlife in Lancaster. Firstly, Sugarhouse is amazing, as long as you are prepared to dance in a cess pool of regurgitated Sourz and sweat where your shoes will be permanently stuck to the floor. Whilst I don’t encourage excessive drinking, a bit of liquor down you makes the night seem an epic success rather than a sweatbox with shame and regret dripping down the walls. So apart from a healthy amount of liquor, please don’t ever buy anything off brand or in a language you don’t understand because it’s probably paint stripper. A few other tips; if you can avoid it, don’t bring your credit card because unless you want to become a money bank when drunk.
You will get lost, that’s ok. I went to a meeting in my last term of my last year and ended up in the wrong room, on the wrong floor, in the wrong building. Seriously. The campus signposts are largely useless. They will take you to the right building, but when it comes to finding the right room, which usually has several letters and numbers in a seemingly random order, you’re somewhat on your own. So, how do you find the right room? You can of course ask someone directions, but chances are, they may be as hapless as you. You can also do the good old fashioned tried and tested method: run around all the floors like a headless chicken for half an hour until you find the right room then tell the tutor your alarm didn’t go off. That’s the one I opt for.
During my first trip to the library I got told off by Filch for eating a sandwich. I remember being hungry and it being a delicious sandwich and was devastated not to be able to eat it, especially as there was no one anywhere near me to possibly disturb. This leads me to reveal two helpful tips. Firstly, there are plenty of corners and hidey hole spots deep within the books of the library. Eat there. No one will see you (possibly ever again as you may get lost for all eternity deep in the crevasse of the History textbooks.) Also if you are going to eat, listen to music o do anything other than work, don’t do it within earshot of anyone else. The silent areas are silent for a reason and that reason is not so you and your friends can watch American Idol in the quiet, compete with running commentary. The library isn’t anyone’s favourite place (unless you’re that person) so be a decent human being, the rest of the university will thank you for it.
This one is fairly self-explanatory: live life, meet new people, do new things get out of your comfort zone and you will make memories that last a lifetime! Not everything will be merry and bright all the time and you will probably learn that the hard way, but that’s part of the university experience. You will come out of it all a stronger, smarter, well-adjusted human being ready to take on the world, providing you’ve survived the hangovers of course…