A week in the life of Lancaster Freshers’ week 2020 and honestly I’m just tired
Having a normal Freshers’ Week is basically illegal at this point
Freshers’ Week. A time that’s meant to be filled with parties, socialising and getting drunk with your flatmates or friends to ring in the new term. Yet this year, it’s nothing like that. It’s now filled with the rule of six, secret parties with other flats (just kidding…) and trying to cope with the inability to make friends with people that you don’t live with unless you want to break the law. The questions this year are less “What bar are we going to?” and more “Is this a hangover or do I have corona?” Sad as it is, this is the truth for a lot of students who are isolating after a positive COVID-19 test or potential interaction with someone who has coronavirus.
So, what IS Freshers’ Week like as a first-year student?
Freshers’ Week has been weird if I’m being honest. I had hoped for a few socially distanced events happening through my college, but not much has happened on that front. It’s more of a DIY feel in terms of deciding what to do with your evenings. Not that that’s a problem! It’s just… You expect a certain type of Freshers’ Week and this pandemic has said “Nah, you’re getting isolation” instead.
As part of the sheer fun this pandemic has provided, we had an Arrivals Week rather than a weekend like previous years were given. This staggered the arrivals in the different colleges from Monday to Friday. My college (Pendle) was Monday, so I’ve been on campus for almost three weeks now, and frankly, it’s been alright. Although it can seem a bit lonesome, the flatmates I’ve got are amazing, so it’s not been boring!
The most important part of the week was making my room mine. I recommend decorating it to be a space you feel comfortable and safe in – a place that feels like a home away from home. I took my time in deep cleaning both the bedroom and ensuite (boujee as that is), oranging everything I’d need on my desk for studying and setting up my coffee machine for the early morning wake-ups.
It’s been hard not being able to make friends the “first year” way which obviously means by being out for pres in another flat, singing loudly and off-key to Spice Girls and making friends with the people who join in, followed by clubbing and a Sultan’s on the way home (it’s the Lancaster way!) It’s been more of a single flat party where we play drunk Cards Against Humanity or Trivial Pursuit (which becomes more fun as the shots are downed) and listening to My Chemical Romance and Nirvana like the true emo flat we are!
Managing to go out with one of my flatmates on Tuesday was a great way to bond and see the town centre. Journey Social has some of the best cakes out there – try the coffee and walnut cake, you won’t regret it! This was followed by the first Sultan’s of my life with some fab people (socially distanced, of course…) that I have gotten to know from one of the many WhatsApp groups I’ve become a part of. The group chats have been a lifesaver as it’s given me a chance to speak to others in my college without breaking social distancing laws.
I started to get some form of cabin fever around Wednesday morning and realised that I had to grab the books needed for my LLB. Blackwell’s on campus is a decent shop but if the weight of carrying the books back didn’t nearly kill me, the price surely did!
The walk up from the South campus has been a lifesaver when I’ve been struggling, and the woodland trail that surrounds the university is brilliant for restlessness. I tried it with two of my flatmates, which was lovely although we completely missed the trail for a quarter of it and walked through something out of a horror film. The idea of a serial killer coming for us was no match for the fear of not socialising because of COVID-19.
The days started to blend together, and I began to feel myself sinking into a depressive episode, so I contacted the university’s GP, which was not a pleasant experience. Being sighed at for explaining my mental health was unhelpful to the situation. Being made to go 3 miles off-campus for medication when there’s a pharmacy 10 minutes away on campus? Beyond frustrating… At least I got to see Galgate, so not too horrible a trip.
The best thing about this week has got to be the Pendle pub quiz with the one and only James May. Yes, that’s right – James ‘Captain Slow’ May – Top Gear presenter and Pendle College legend. Honestly, the only person who could have done the quiz questions any justice. My flat was far from being the winners of the quiz, but watching May give an intro to the rounds and his comments on the questions were enough to make it hilarious and enjoyable.
We’re now into Week One of Michaelmas Term here at Lancaster and it’s interesting to say the least. The no contact lectures and seminars mean more self-teaching than what students have experienced in the past, which means less contact with the outside world for first years. Hopefully, the Law School and other schools in the university maintain their stance on wellbeing and welfare being of the utmost importance during this time.
As for me? Let’s pray I don’t lose my mind over Public Law in the first few weeks…