Freshers’ Week doesn’t have to define your first year at university

There’s more to first year than Freshers Week, trust me


Every year hundreds of thousands of teens move away from home and prepare for a week-long party, fully aware that the consequences of this will include a bout of illness that will probably last until Christmas.

However, last year I had the absolute joy of experiencing all that freshers' flu has to offer a week early, in the back of my parents’ car, somewhere near Preston, as the fifth hour on the road commenced and ‘cabin fever’ (quite literally) set in.

By the time we finally arrived in Edinburgh a combination of uni nerves and actual illness meant that I was good for nothing. As a diseased, emotional wreck I tried to plan the week ahead, aware that whilst all I wanted to do was hibernate in my room, it just wasn’t an option and I had to get out there and meet people.

Having had the message drilled in that Freshers' Week was the best week of your uni life and that it would be filled with unbeatable memories, the pressure was on.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I did have some good times in Freshers' Week and I did meet some lovely people who have become my friends, but in comparison to the myth that was built up in my mind by the internet, social media and by friends and family, my week fell short of those expectations.

What didn’t help at all (and I admit influenced my experience massively) was the fact that for the first time I was truly becoming aware of why homesickness deserves its name. It felt so weird to not ‘feel’ like going out clubbing and every time I didn’t go out I immediately thought I wasn’t going to make any friends and that people would think I was weird.

I had been so excited to meet new people and get involved with everything Edinburgh has to offer, but when the time came I just felt so awful that my heart wasn’t in it. More than anything, I really wished someone had taken the time to tell me that whilst Freshers' Week is exciting, it can also feel daunting, overwhelming and isolating as you try to find your feet in a new environment.

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So, to anyone who’s feeling anything like what I’ve described above, I feel it’s really important to let you know that whilst everyone makes it out to be the most important week of uni, Freshers' is not the be all and end all of your university experience. Personally, I enjoyed term time so much more as I got to know my amazing flatmates and course mates and the city I’m so happy to call home now.

As other people say, it’s most likely that half of the people you chat to in freshers will never pop up again in your day-to-day life, and nights out are so much more fun when you are with friends you know rather than random people you met on the street outside your accommodation.

If you're having an amazing Freshers' Week, it’s a great way to start off hopefully a great year, but if not then don’t stress too much. If you’re feeling slightly deflated or just a bit disappointed that your experience hasn’t matched up to what you thought it would be, tell a friend, it’s certain you’re not the only person who has gone to uni and is feeling this way.

At some point things will fall into place, be it at your flat movie night, a huge night out, a society meeting or at flatmate's dinner. By September the following year you'll be longing to get back to uni and catch up with everyone and everything.

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