My Worst Freshers’ Mistake

Nervous about making a mess of your Freshers’ Week? Take note of the shortcomings of your ancesters…

advice Cambridge charlie dowell charlotte ivers fresher week freshers flu gap-year social interaction worst freshers mistake

Don’t worry about having to make mistakes this Freshers’ Week – we’ve already taken care of all that for you.

So take note of the pitfalls of those who have gone before you and avoid dying of the plague whilst dressed in those quilted harems.

If people don’t like you now, at least you’ll know that its your abhorent personality that’s let you down rather than your etiquette.

Do not arrive with puss-clogging disease – Charlie Dowell

I made my worst freshers’ mistake before I arrived in Cambridge, by rocking up with tonsillitis.

If anyone contracted the puss clogging, throat gagging, fever inducing disease in freshers’ 2K12, I am probably your man.

Penicillin and pre-drinks pretty much sums up my first few days in college. The rest of the year went by fairly smoothly, bar making the ubiquitous mistake of starting rowing.

Honestly, who wants to spend a couple of hours a week sliding up and down while staring at a sweaty man’s backside.

Hardly the Kiss Me Quick freshers week you had in mind

Hardly the Kiss Me Quick freshers’ week you had in mind

Blinded by my own peeling tan, I whip-crack-awayed into the social-interaction paddock regaling the troops with tales of Imodium, kidnappings and Dioralyte.

Unfortunately, however, I soon realised that everyone had saved those poor, endangered turtles, everyone had experienced profound, trans-linguistic humanity and everyone had ridden in a taxi without their seat belt on.

Put the plumb line back in your pocket, Columbus, and turn your attention to your next WKD Blue.

Oh look at that photo of you being chased by a crocodile. i don't care.

Oh look at that photo of you being chased by a crocodile. I don’t care.

Do not consciously murder your immune system –  Charlotte Ivers

Trying to choose my worst mistake as a fresher is a bit like trying to choose which of my college children I love the most. Except that I only have four college children.

My fresher term was essentially one long farce. If I had to choose one mistake, it would probably be allowing my immune system to become so damaged by lack of sleep, lack of decent food and lack of sobriety, that I contracted a disease called “Trench Throat”, most commonly found in WW1 soldiers.

My GP laughed at me. Actually laughed. That’s not in the Hippocratic Oath. This is also why I now hate medics. Not because they have a future and I don’t.

Artist's re-enactment of Charlotte's medical examination

Artist’s re-enactment of Charlotte’s medical examination

Don’t count on starcrossed love on your first night – Abbi Brown

I came to Cambridge fresh out of the kind of state comp that gets set on fire by its own pupils. (No joke.) I spent my first afternoon baffled by Etonions and the evening baffled by the assortment of cutlery in Hall.

Making my intrepid way to the staircase party that followed dinner, I was delighted to hear an accent that reminded me of home. The accent belonged to a fellow fresher who lived quite near me and with whom I shared mutual friends.

Ditching the staircase party, we ventured into town, where a flyer girl comfortingly assumed we were students at ARU.

We kissed underneath King’s chapel. One thing led to another.

By the following afternoon, my very first Cambridge beau had fallen for someone else, and came round to tell me.

Perturbed by my ambivalence, he went on to explain, in detail, each of my flaws and insecurities, until I eventually cried into my Sainsbury’s Basics iceberg lettuce. He returned to the new object of his affections with news that he had ‘broken things off’ and I had cried.

Fortunately, said object of affections was cynical and has been one of my very closest friends ever since.

This might be you on your first night. But I wouldn't count on it.

This might be you on your first night. But I wouldn’t count on it.

I didn’t make a single mistake – Tim Atkin

I didn’t make any mistakes at freshers’. I find the notion that mistakes could be made during the inherently fraudulent shower of vodka, vomit and idiots that is the fête fresheresque to be a symptom of decadent thought.

I attended all the events, made friends cautiously, and avoided the obviously lunatic with great efficiency.

I didn’t vomit on anyone or soil my trousers: a mistake made by many of the ill-prepared.

I didn’t mortally offend anyone, and showed good humour to my fellow humans.

As a result, I became a well-respected member of the community and have gone on to pursue a successful academic career, where I continue to make correct decisions.

In conclusion, if you don’t make mistakes, it’s better.

Blue skies for the lucky few

Blue skies for the lucky few