Five lies we were told as Brum freshers and why you shouldn’t believe them

From two silly freshers who believed the second years


Now over halfway through our first year at UoB, we’d like to think we’ve learnt a fair bit about being a fresher in Brum. The two of us have survived it all – from scary first sports nights and bizarre costumes, to 5am fire alarms and very questionable cooking. No one could have prepared us for the rollercoaster that is uni, but that didn’t stop anyone from trying. As the newest members of UoB, the freshers are always given some wise words of advice to help them navigate student life. Some tips were life-changing (thanks to whoever told us to stock up on Berocca), and some tips were… nonsense.

As the two of us approach the end of our fresher experience, the time time has come to look back on what we believed in September. Whether you’re still not sure what’s fact and what’s fiction, or you’re starting at UoB next year, we are here to debunk all the lies we were told as freshers.

1. Freshers are not welcome at Circo

Circo is holy ground to any Birmingham student. The sticky floors, cheap entry and being at the heart of Selly makes it the perfect stomping ground for any UoB returners. As a fresher, you will be told that Circo is strictly forbidden, robbing you of the legendary Monday night antics. But surprise, surprise – you actually won’t be crucified on entry. Once that £3 is taken out of the student loan, you’ll be ready to dance the night away to Joe Jaxon’s tunes and sleep through that 9am seminar.

Editor’s note: Take it from a fourth year, this one is controversial. If you’re a fresher, go to Circo at your own risk.

2. The library is no place for a silly fresh

With four floors of hyper focused diss-writers, we were told the library was strictly out of bounds for an unserious first year. But newsflash, the day before your first few assignments are due and UoB goes from uni to university, you’ll be thankful for a place to study without chatty flatmates or loud pres. Plus, the pressure of looking like an academic weapon really spurs you on when you are only ten words in. Although first year isn’t the be-all to end-all academically, the library is there for you to use no matter what year you are in (after all, you’re paying nine grand for it!).

3. All the houses in Selly are gone within your first week

Everyone will tell you that all the best houses are off the market by the end of October, and you’ll be sleeping in Chicking if you leave it a day longer. But unless you want a sauna and a cinema room, you’ll be happy to hear you won’t be left in the dust and there will still be plenty of choice way after Christmas. Believe us when we say it’s much better to be living with people you like, rather than the group you promised you’d live with in the first week of freshers.

Top tip – not naming names, but check the Facebook groups before choosing an estate agent…

4. Uni is a big place, you won’t bump into anyone twice

How we wish this was true.

With over 20,000 undergrads, you would think there are plenty fish in the sea but campus is swarming with your failed talking stages and that person you got with on the first sports night. You might be meeting loads of new people, but the gym really brings together everyone you’ve ever had a chat with at pres; and trust it to always happen when your card won’t let you through the barriers. So keep this in mind when you’re having a wild Snobs Saturday- you don’t want the hangxiety to last longer than it has to.

5. Brum is just Broad Street

Despite what your very unnecessary freshers wristband says, there’s so much more to Birmingham than Rosies and Dixies. Harborne is only a short walk away from the Vale when you’re looking to ditch the student life, and wander the aisles of M&S like your overdraft isn’t already maxxed out. Digbeth is also one to explore, with The Custard Factory (our personal favourite) there, along with Roxy Ballroom, NQ64, and various other quirky bars.

If you manage to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, the parkrun in Cannon Hill Park is a great way to sweat out the nine jägerbombs you consumed the night before. The bus stop is just outside Chamberlain (Tory) tower, and takes you directly there – so there are virtually zero excuses. If you wake up needing to reconnect with nature but you’re not into run clubs and Strava socialising, Brum offers plenty of hot girl walks for a wholesome change to a rough Thursday morning.

Warning – we can’t promise you that walking under Old Joe when it chimes won’t threaten your chances of graduating.