Lessons every Bristol fresher learns in the first week, from a second year

How to ace your Freshers’ Week like you’ve done it all before


Freshers’ Week. Filled with endless bowls of pesto pasta, awkward pre-drinks with your new flatmates and the struggles that come with learning to navigate the U1.

It’s a week we all remember as Bristol students, even if the majority of it is spent in bed with a dire hangover. With all the regrets and mistakes that we inevitably make, many valuable life lessons can be learnt that will stay with you in the next few years to come.

1. Trekking to Motion is not an easy task

Motion is one of Bristol’s best clubs with endless events, free raves and a huge courtyard. However, god forbid you ever decide to walk there, particularly if you’re a North Village baby. If you’ve ever bravely attempted the one hour and 20 minute walk from Stoke Bishop, you’ll know it feels as if you’re walking across the whole of America. Eventually, you will learn that sometimes it’s best to just save yourself and your legs and book that Uber.

2. You will have the same conversation a million times

“What course are you doing? Oh cool, my dad’s cousin’s dog’s brother did that at Newcastle twenty years ago!” Those introductory conversations you will inevitably be a part of during the first few weeks will eventually be something you can do in your sleep.

They typically come in three parts- where you’re from, what course you’re doing and what halls you’re in. Riveting stuff. Sometimes these repetitive chats will lead to friendship, other times they will lead to absolutely nowhere and you’ll be thanking the high heavens above that you’ll never have to speak to them again. That is, of course, until you see them on the U1 and have to flash them an awkward smile.

3. That the Fishies smoking area is hellish

Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re in a compact, gladiator arena surrounded by everybody you’ve ever met? Then the smoking area at Fishies in Gravity is the perfect place for you to fulfil this fantasy.

The vast outdoor area is a hunting ground for rugby lads in chinos, strange middle-aged men on the pull and suitors trying to impress you with their questionable cigarette rolls. There really is nowhere quite like it, making it rather endearing in a way.

4. Senate House is the best study space

Senate House. What a place. From the £2.40 iced oat lattes from the Source Cafe to the endless sofas to work on, Senate House is undeniably the best study place that the university has to offer, as you will quickly learn.

Yes, Wills Memorial Building might be an ideal place to live out all of your dark academia dreams, but do they have £1.50 pints there on a Wednesday? No, so it is automatically inferior.

5. Walking up Park Street is not for the weak

Petition for the council to PLEASE install a ski lift on Park Street. Bristol is renowned for its steep hills and vast hills, but Park Street really is the big daddy of them all.

Walking up the street will have you feeling like you’ve just hiked up Everest. But once you get past feeling flustered, exhausted and slightly embarrassed by the sweat that is definitely dripping down your neck, you are greeted with a sweet, sweet reward: spoons. God really does give his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.

6. 10 before 10 is harder than you think

Are you even a Bristol student if you haven’t bragged to all your friends that you’d easily be able to complete the infamous 10 before 10 challenge at the legendary Coronation Tap?

10 before 10 is much easier said than done and if you’ve ever dared to complete it, you’ll know the eight per cent half pints pack a real punch. Stumbling around Clifton, spewing your guts out on the side of the road and being rejected from getting on the U1 is a quintessential part of the ten before ten experience.

7. Post-club scran is essential


Every good night out must end with a trip to one of the endless takeaways that Bristol has to offer. You’ll quickly learn that Jason Donervan really does live up to its iconic status and who can resist going when it’s conveniently placed next to the U1 bus stop?

This also provides the perfect opportunity to befriend the local bossman. Do I feel like an absolute legend every time I get a fist bump from the lad working at Jason’s? Yes, yes I do.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

10 things every Bristol student absolutely needs to know to survive Freshers’ Week

• Five strike days confirmed to hit first week of teaching at Bristol University

Arrivederci! Why a summer study abroad is the perfect fix for students with commitment issues