Confessions of a Fucked Up Fresher
TONY HARCOURT recounts the darker moments of being a fresher…
I’m going to be brutally, tragically and embarrassingly honest here. I’ve had a shit freshers’. A really, abysmally shit freshers. Every dream, every high hope and naively joyful expectation of the Cambridge experience has been mercilessly obliterated by the first few days of university life.
Things started well. I saw off my parents quickly, figuring that appearing independent would make me seem cool. This scheme failed to work. I exchanged dry pleasantries with every equally pale and terrified face I chanced upon, but such meaningless exchanges can only go so far, and by the start of the college bop I was distinctly alone and friendless.
The bop was horrific. With minimal access to alcohol and few to zero faces I recognized, my natural self-consciousness easily overpowered any other desire and I soon found myself jogging vaguely around the circumference of the hall, interacting with no-one.
I gave up at around 9pm, and went to bed. Not an explosively memorable and/or fantastic start to university, I thought to myself, but at least it surely can’t get worse.
How abysmally wrong I would soon be proved to be.
The next two days were mediocre and uninteresting. What seemed like thousands more identical pleasantries were exchanged, a kind of small-scale version of Groundhog Day minus the near perfect romantic comedy structure and Bill Murray. At night I secluded myself in my room and bitterly binged on Arrested Development. On the final evening of freshers’, I decided that there might be a connection between my unhappiness thus far and my consistent sobriety. Obviously the way to finally integrate was to get thoroughly smashed like everyone else. A brief stroll to Sainsbury’s later and I was the proud owner of some ultra-cheap vodka.
Having rather too speedily drunk the entirety of my vodka and then four Jaeger bombs, I soon found myself in a state of utter inebriation. Finally, I no longer felt awkward, and dancing to the interchangeable tunes pulsing out from the corners of the room was almost pleasurable. But my drunkenness changed little else about my situation; I still knew pretty much nobody. Realising that the music was making it difficult to introduce myself, I staggered out to the entrance area and began trying to chat to a bunch of freshers’. Without exception, they ignored me, clearly already formed into a self-sufficient clique. My slurred attempts at greeting met with no response.
True defeat piercing through my drunken exterior, and I stumbled back to my halls. The despair of my situation consumed me. I sat on my bed, staring at my blank, posterless wall and feeling like I might as well strangle myself with my bike lock. In my still heavily inebriated state, I even started talking to myself, a stream of swearwords and self-abuse.
This was probably one of my all-time lowest moments. I could palpably imagine three years slipping down the drain of waste and failure, my potential and tens of thousands of pounds following close behind.
The clarity of my vision of the desolate future was intense and immersive, and it was some moments before I noticed the wet warmth seeping down my inner thigh. I was uncontrollably pissing myself.
So begin the best years of my life.