Starting uni as a newlywed: How my husband helped me through the disappointment of freshers’ week
When life sucked I could come home to my hubby
Most first-year students have pretty high expectations for freshers' week; the parties, the formation of long-term friendships, the potential need to have your stomach pumped for the sake of a good night out.
Of course these expectations are certainly met for some, but as an introvert and a married 19-year-old girl, my priorities and therefore experience was a little different.
I got married during my gap year and my husband is a superhero. He's on the tough path to becoming a doctor, and somehow still finds the time to love me endlessly, laugh at all my crappy jokes and support me throughout my all-too-frequent mental breakdowns. Plus, he looks good doing it.
Like most freshers we moved into student accommodation, but rather than living with other people we live in a studio flat surrounded by other couples in similar situations.
This meant that we had our own kitchen and bathroom rather than sharing a communal space. Whilst this helped with avoiding the awkwardness of forced social interaction it also meant that the only way we could meet the people around us was to knock on their door and offer them homemade and rather questionable-looking brownies.
While a couple of loose friendships were made, 90 per cent of the students on our hallway we only ever see during a fire drill when we're forced to climb out of our antisocial caves.
We've both grown up in Oxford and are blessed with the knowledge that the places to be are in fact not the nightclubs, but the cosy coffee shops down hidden alley ways, and bars we'd frequented since the minute we turned 18 where they still make us their lethal off the menu cocktails on the sly.
Freshers' week was another story, though. We could barely leave our flat without encountering overexcited students or drunken teens falling down the stairs of the U1. No judgement; it's all well and good if you're in on the action, but I'm just here to do a grocery run.
Though we'd lived in Oxford forever, suddenly becoming immersed into the student scene was like being in an entirely new city: Like Mordor, or Shutter Island.
So instead, our freshers' week can be summed up by the following: nights spent in our room, binge-watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians (or in his case playing Skyrim and making an occasional jibe at Kim), ordering pizza to avoid having to leave our flat unnecessarily, and then monopolising the SU bars on Friday and Saturday nights as everyone else was evidently out somewhere much cooler.
I did take part in some student traditions though, like freshers' fair. I spent 20 minutes unable to move due to the sheer hoard of people around me (who were leashed to their flatmates).
When I finally reached a stall I was too frazzled to say anything or ask any questions so immediately aborted the mission. As an aside, what's all this hype about "free stuff?" All I got was a takeout menu and a copy of the New Testament.
All in all: not worth dragging my ass all the way out from Harcourt Hill for.
Basically, freshers' week sucked, but it's okay, because each horrible day I came home to my hubby who made it all bearable. He's all that kept me from quitting uni before my course had even begun.
I think my experience so far has shown me that, as a married woman, my priorities are certainly different. I care much more about putting dinner on the table each evening than going out to socials.
I'm in no rush to make friends because I already live with my best friend in the whole world. I couldn't care less how many guys you've got off with recently because my answer is one: my husband.
We can't just go home at the weekends to do laundry or ask our parents to send us care packages: We are each other's home. I'm lucky to have my mum on the other end of the phone whenever I need her, but my husband had to learn to fend for himself much earlier than other people his age.
We were forced to grow up much faster than most 18 year olds, but I have no doubt that our not-so-conventional path will continue to take us on a crazy adventure. Uni is the next stop.