Just because I’m a fresher doesn’t mean I’m a baby

Why should starting uni mean you are reduced to being a child?


To put it blankly, becoming a fresher feels a little weird. Like most, we’ve gone through years of academic study – and survived it, and are now being told that we are the newbies, entering a strange, unknown but exciting universe-ity.

This unknown seems to render us helpless, with family and friends desperately worried about how we’ll cope and whether or not we’ll make it home for Christmas. They’ve become stressed about our limited cooking skills and problems we had with the washing machine, like when we turned a sock pink.

Fast forward to results day, and it’s not just family and friends that treat me like I’m five.

I plod downstairs and find a magazine addressed to myself, regarding starting university. I am instantly bombarded with phrases like “shape the rest of your life”, “your future starts here” and “you need to get a clear understanding.” I couldn’t help but think that I was being treated like a toddler! I was being given instructions which were just basic common sense. Like anyone, I appreciate good, helpful advice. What I don’t appreciate is the patronising way I’m being treated and talked about in everything from uni welcome letters to TV reports.

Its also through social media. On freshers groups, people with only one year of uni under their belt have tried to play my doctor and kept telling me to get injections that I already had, whilst also providing me with a parent’s checklist for university! I think that I’m quite adult enough and don’t need babying by social media. We’ve gone through A-levels by ourselves so I’m sure we can all just about manage university. To be quite honest, I’m getting bored of being treated like a baby; most of us know what we are doing and could live without the insulting media coverage that comes with being a fresher.

We can work out how to play ring of fire all by ourselves

We can work out how to play ring of fire all by ourselves

Personally, I cannot cook to save my life and I’d say that my current ability is still rather shocking. I remember my mum telling me that “cooking is not just a life, but a survival skill,” which I am not disputing, but one way or another, especially if in self-catered halls, those of you that can’t or struggle – like me – will learn to cook. It’s not a big deal.

It’s not fair that freshers are stereotyped as being useless in the kitchen, living off takeaways or family leftovers. Branded as being overly intellectual and having no common sense, the widely held view of freshers is that we are useless in the real world. What others forget, is that everyone starts somewhere and we’ll learn as we go and if in doubt, we’ll ask a friend. If we make it through the first month, I’d say we’ll be good for the rest of the year and can start applying for that chef job on campus.

What many tend to forget when treating your new fresher self like a baby, is that you’ve gone through two years of intense studying. Therefore, you’ve trained yourself to handle the work-load and you’ve proved that you can deal with the stress of deadlines and exams. So in terms of educational experience, you will be fine.

As for everything else, we’ll work it out. Millions of people have gone into uni being freshers that don’t know how to cook or function as an adult, but then they bucked up and learned how to be a real person. Freshers advice is patronising, babying and just plain unnecessary. I’ll learn how to do things when I’m good and ready, I don’t need you to tell me it all.