What you probably found during your first semester at Cardiff uni

You have realised there is no such thing as medium-rare chicken

What a whirlwind the first months at uni are. New people, new room, new location and shiny new cutlery. Daily questions include how long can I use my bedding for? Can you microwave baked bean cans? How much is it to post my dirty laundry home to mum?

The introductions

Day one and you really wish that GCSE Geography had told you where places like Rustington were and not how to colour the land green and the water blue. In hindsight, you’d have been better off finding the nearest, well-known city to you if you live in a remote village in the middle of nowhere, as you probably ended up telling people you live somewhere about 50 miles from where you actually grew up. However, it’s most likely the majority of you ended up saying you live ‘near’ London.

Your flatmates

The type of person you found yourself living with should’ve been pretty easy to predict upon reflection. There was almost bound to be someone who grew up in boarding schools and attended chapel. Whilst first impressions painted this person as innocent and well spoken, a school career under constant supervision made these guys the real wild ones.

It’s likely, being at uni in Cardiff, that you were living with someone from Wales. Despite it being their home country, they were probably the minority in the flat. Nonetheless, you were better off learning the local slang from them. Throwback to the initial shock of them calling your taxi driver ‘drive’ – apparently that’s acceptable and not rude.

There’s also the token Northerner. This was likely to have presented you with the constant battle of whether chips should be covered in curry sauce or gravy. You’ll also be greeted with the debate within the flat about where the North actually begins, you’ll claim it’s, “everything above London right?”

Realising you only have to get 40 per cent

Realising this year doesn’t count and you only had to pass to continue your degree was the biggest revelation. A bonus to this was discovering that you only need attend a few lectures in order to achieve this. This enabled you to go to town, literally, on as many nights out as possible and having a lie-in seven days a week.

Your first VK

Perhaps the best discovery of first semester is VKs – such sweet, sweet nectar.

Half your wardrobe will be fancy dress

Who knew there were so many different themes for a social, from Harry Potter to Noah’s Ark, from mystical creatures to zombies. The fear of looking stupid was quickly rid of when entering the SU on a Wednesday night to see a swarm of Dobby’s in swim caps legging it to the bar and a Unicorn falling down the stairs.  Perhaps the extensive costume buying is where most of our money went?

You’ll spend all your loan super fast

The only sorrow of this partying lifestyle during first year was the deep, dark dent it made in your bank account. Whilst we don’t feel like we’re spending a lot, we might buy one of those Eros café coffees every so often, but these damned hot beverages add up over time. Plus, all those Domino’s that at the time were the only solution and completely necessary. Three a week is not good for the heart nor the bank account.

You have to actually learn to cook

Finally, you soon realised that cooking edible food involved more than the microwave. For the first few weeks you had to double check again with Google how long things take to cook and whether medium-rare chicken is edible. Although, it’s actually really hard to give yourself food poisoning as we’ve discovered. There’s only so many times you can eat pesto pasta and we soon felt home sick- purely for mum’s Sunday roast. Oh, and the dog.

So many mistakes made and so many lessons learnt. The exhaustion from just surviving the semester had you ready for the Christmas break. But wait, before you leave, the issue of next years’ house needs to be solved. How to tell that person you hate that you actually don’t want to live with them? Give that task to someone else. Problem solved!