Fresher’s Debrief: Lessons Learned

Avoid anyone who describes themselves as ‘random’… and other golden advice from CLARE MATTHEWS WORTH


Dear fresher, that girl (the one who grabbed your wristband, stared feverishly into your eyes and slurred ‘ENJOY EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF THIS YEAR BEFORE ITS TOO LATE’ in Solus toilets) was me.

As I write this, shackled to a desk in Cardiff library (which coincidently resembles a prison) you will be preparing for your first year of freedom. With fresh faced excitement you check out the utility aisle in Tesco, affectionately pat your grief stricken mother on the head and journey off into the great unknown.

This was me, living the fresher dream

First off, let’s dispel one myth: the people who tell you fresher’s week is the best week of your entire life are wrong. Hopefully your life will get better than that. Bad luck if it doesn’t. Personally I spent the entirety of the week in a state of nervous perspiration, on the verge of dangerous dehydration.

Certain things are just inevitable: Your house will become within the next few months a tangled web of incestuous relationships to rival your nearest council estate. You will find yourself looking around pre-drinks and realising the scene somewhat resembles one of apocalyptic doom- ie: couples EVERYWHERE.

You will strongly dislike at least one member of your flat (a blessing in disguise, nothing bonds people better than mutual hatred) and may shed one or two or three tears over your room/accommodation (if you find yourself in ‘Sen-ghetto’, dreadful luck – enjoy the rats). I also have a reliable source claiming the all girls’ accommodation, Aberdare, is a lesbian stronghold.

There are the obvious things to avoid, such as sleeping with anyone in your flat/house/seminars in the first couple of weeks, wine and/or tequila pong, anyone who describes themselves as ‘random’  and the deceptive ‘student lock ins’ in St. David’s centre (YOU WILL NOT GET ANY FREE GOODIE BAGS. You will only spend your student loan and convince yourself that you are saving money with a 20% discount. Put down that cardigan. You don’t need it, you need food).

Be wary of any second or third year students who live in halls, they were most likely forced there by lack of friends. Also enter the AU sports fair and societies fair on the defensive or you will be forced to sign up to everything, attend one social or practice and never return to anything.

Now for some friendly advice: Boys, if you can play acoustic guitar, whip it out when girls are drunk- we lap that shit up. Don’t let people know you are actually a disgraceful drunk/dick too early on (don’t kid yourself, you know who you are), try to trap them into friendship first. Trips to Tesco’s will become a daily part of life out of sheer boredom; make the excursions worthwhile by visiting the reduced section, a veritable gold mine of prospect and excitement.

Overall the best piece of advice I can give is to hide your lovely Fairy washing up liquid brought from home which moistures your hands with hints of Aloe Vera. Talybont cleaners will only replace it with cheapie Tesco ‘Daisy’ crap whilst moving around your dirty plates for no good reason.

Basically, Fresher’s year is like a summer camp with the odd task thrown in. I can practically hear the gasps of outrage from medics at that outlandish statement but it’s only going to get harder so quit moaning. The first week in the grand scheme of things means nothing. You will dance with strangers and meet people you will never speak too again, be forced to endure group “icebreakers” resulting in horrendously uncomfortable silences which result in staring at the patch of carpet in front of you as if it’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever seen.

However, if you are really lucky, you might just meet your future favourite people in the whole world. If you hate it at first, just try to stick it out for a while. It could be worse. Just drink your way through the week and you will no doubt end up loving your first year all the same.