Your first term at uni – from start to finish

Be prepared


Freshers’ Week

Reputations are built and shattered over the course of this seven days. Your mission? To walk the tightrope of social interation, building a reputation which will follow you for the next three years. The outcome? You drink yourself blind the first night, try and power through the second because the hottie in your block is going out but end up too scared to make a move, spend most of Wednesday unconscious, pull someone from the poly on Thursday night and end the week by getting in a fight with someone in the smoking area.

To the horror of your corridor you try to explain that the reason you stubbed a cigarette out on someone’s arm was because they made fun of you for pronouncing your “a” like a northerner, but the fight is futile and you have only cemented your uncivilised status forever.

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It all started off so well

Week two (still going out)

Fourteen nights out in a row seemed like a great idea last Monday, but as you pour your fifth sachet of Lemsip into your Glen’s & own-brand cola you’re starting to realise you’re not the spring chicken you were a fortnight ago.

Your mum has organised a candlelit vigil because you’ve been MIA for so long, you’ve worn your Carnage T-shirt every day because all your other clothes are covered in sick, and a homeless guy has moved into your kitchen and started eating all your grapes. You need to evaluate your life choices.

Week three (start missing your mum)

It was about this point in term that I first cried in my cold, lonely halls room. I got a slight cold and suddenly realised that there was no-one around that would make me my special chicken noodle soup and give me a hot water bottle. There was a lemsip shaped hole in my kitchen cupboard and the only thing left in the fridge was a wrinkly, sad looking red pepper that I bought to detox from Freshers’ Week. I absent-mindedly flicked onto a picture of my dog on my phone and suddenly it all became too much. I genuinely considered dropping out of uni just so someone would do my washing again.

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Pls come back mum

Week four (birthday night out)

You’ve been here five minutes, and your birthday is looming. You don’t want to make a fuss but the thought of sitting in your damp room, necking Lambrini on your own is far more depressing. You tentatively mention it’s the “big 19th bday” to your flat, and in return you get the last Colin the caterpillar cake in M&S, the one that’s been reduced three times and is still deemed to be not good enough for the local five-year-old’s birthday party.

The one home friend who managed to make it up for the big day shags your flatmate’s best friend from Wellingborough on the air mattress in the kitchen and for the rest of the year, no-one will remember it was your birthday, it’ll just be the night that the air mattress got that weird stain and doesn’t properly inflate any more.

By this point you’ve dropped the Bordeaux and wearing blazers on a night out. You befriended a bunch of Londoners, own several snapbacks and claim to like grime.

Week five (break up with your girlfriend)

You and Tara have been together since you sat next to each other in Sociology, but you’re starting to realise it’s all over. After all, you can only stare at the picture of her boobs she sent you on Snapchat so many times until you do some permanent damage to your vision.

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Destroy all photos of you together

Maybe it’s the fact that you were so needy that you relentlessly refreshed find friends to see if she was cheating on you with that guy from the Maths Soc or maybe it’s just the right time. You’ll spend this week crying, staring at girls from across the dancefloor and compulsively eating sour cream and chive Pringles. It may feel like the end of the world, but it’ll get better.

Week six (first essay in)

OH MY FUCKING GOD I NEED TO WRITE 1500 WORDS ON LIBERALISM AND I ONLY HAVE A WEEK TO DO IT. Beth will have got the wrong deadline date, smug Susie submitted hers in week 2 while you were still going out and Harry will run and got there just in time (classic Harry).

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Cue smug photos of your super busy work station

Week seven (reading week)

The week begins with super funny Facebook status about “Lol bet you won’t even do any reading, I know I won’t”. Next you buy a pair of drop pants and a baggy jumper because you’ve realised there’s more to life than the system. University trusts you, you are your own person. Your final year of Sixth Form was consumed with thoughts of this fabled time. A week, where they don’t expect you to do anything. How is that possible? Unfortunately you don’t realise reading week, just like half term, doesn’t involve half an ounce of weed, endless house parties and casual sex every night with a 7/10 or above.

In fact your course probably doesn’t even have reading week. It won’t make a difference. Every single week here is exactly the fucking same.

Week eight (mates come to visit)

Dirty Mike and the boys from Stratford-upon-Avon rock up, the beers are in, the weekend will be a blast. It will be like sixth form days all over again! Except it isn’t. You don’t recognise each other anymore and none of your new friends get along with them either.

Things reach boiling point. Steve nearly punches Box Room Dave. Helena spills Rachel’s drink all over the floor. Alex from floor three hooks up with Grace, the one who still lives with her parents, never bothered with uni and works as a receptionist at the local David Lloyd gym.

No one really had a good night, they go home disappointed. You’ll try to laugh it off in the pub on Christmas Eve, but the resentment will be there forever.

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At least you have the memories

Week nine (parents come to visit)

What should be said: “Mum, Dad, I’m sorry. I’m sorry my room smells like the stuff under Nigel Farage’s fingernails mixed with suburban Indian restaurant house white, that it’s floor is littered with empty cans of Carling, that I never lit the vanilla scented candle you bought me from The White Company, that Gavin got high and ate all the leaves off my Japanese peace lily, that the framed pic of the family is entombed under my bed, that I haven’t dusted my sills, that the curtains are still damp, that I didn’t send Auntie Rachel a birthday card, that my laundry bag isn’t so much overflowing but seething with unwashed, wanky garms, that I call you once a month (at best), that my most productive days in here see me move a sock from one side of the room to another, that in this room – with all it’s disorganisation and unwelcome information about the wreck my life is becoming – is a testament to how much I actually need you and how I literally have no fucking idea what I’m doing with my life.”

What is said: “Can we see your room?” “No, I just want to go to Pizza Express and then you can go back, OK.”

Week 10 (your dog dies, get ill)

Rover’s gone to the farm, Tom. The farm with all the other dogs. But Rover lives on in your heart and the 3×3 Ikea frame on your desk, slightly obscured behind a half eaten bag of Doritos chilli heatwave. Immortalised. He looks resplendent back there, giving you a knowing look – and the Dorito dust has given him a seraphic glow.

Week 11 (hand in deadlines)

History students look gaunt and exhausted while Geographers haven’t noticed anything has changed since freshers. Third years get pissed off at first years for turning the library into a social convention, even though this is a rite of passage for everyone. The nightclubs are dead, you’ve all of a sudden become rubbish at FIFA and no one even remembers what Wednesday night’s in Mint are anymore.

All nighters are pulled, not for the benefit of getting your referencing done, but the bragging rights that you stayed for a full 12 hours, ordered Domino’s and got the number of the slightly sweaty languages student you’ve been eyeing up for the last three weeks. You’ll hand in your essays and forget what all the fuss was about. It’s basically Freshers’ Week again – carnage ensues, a mini goldrush starts up and the really important lectures your professor implores you to attend go out of the window. Mate, it’s snowing, I got in at 6am and my deadlines are done. See you in January.

Week 12 (christmas social and house dinners)

You open your Secret Santa to find Right Guard deodorant and a Feeder compilation CD from Poundland. You make awkward conversation about how the turkey isn’t actually that dry with the nameless guy who never comes out his room. A few glasses of mulled wine later and you find yourself bolting a pint of gravy at pres before throwing up in Oceana dressed as Baby Jesus with only Mariah Carey for company. Why can’t all your family dinners be like this?

You finally ask out that girl you like but she says no. The heartless cow, doesn’t she know it’s Christmas?

Update: No one paid Harry back for the turkey so he refuses to pay for any heating bills.

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‘Christmas with the girlies xx’

Christmas holidays

When you head back to your terrible hometown it’s important to keep making it clear how the clubs are so much bigger and better at uni. Always mention how the girls aren’t as fit at home either. Everyone plans to meet up at the pub and Dirty Mike – who you haven’t spoken to since week eight – tells the boys: “You know what it would be hilarious if we all wore Christmas jumpers for banter.” You go out a buy a fetching santa jumper from Primark and you all nearly get beaten up for not sticking to the strict trainers and SuperDry combo they still wear where you’re from.

At least you’ve got that to talk about now.