Dear Leeds students, here are 10 things I’ve learnt as a fresher

Expect bad decisions, drunken giggles and exhausted lectures


Now that we’re seven weeks into the semester, Freshers’ Week seems like 10 bad hangovers ago for most of us.

For freshers, however, that’s almost two months spent in lovely Leeds. My experiences since September have taught me so much, so I wanted to share all the lessons that I’ve learnt navigating life on and off campus.

1. You will learn that being called a ‘fresher’ isn’t a compliment

Now there’s nothing wrong with being a fresher, but even if you’ve done your first year before and are lucky enough to experience it again, you unfortunately will still be lumped in with the newbies. Be prepared for a random third year doing a mechanical engineering degree to give you unsolicited advice on how this “isn’t going to get better” and how you should “drop out now”.

2. Silverfish are not a myth

Silverfish seem like something that nobody stops talking about, and when you turn your back for one second they will appear, multiply and suddenly the flat you shared with seven other people will now include 20,000 silver-blood creepy crawlies.

3. There’s going to be a liability at pres. If you don’t know who it is, it’s probably you

I’m all for saving money before braving another disco Spoons outing, although at pres if you’re first to vomit be prepared for a full recap of all your mistakes in the morning, which is never easy. Being the liability at pres will happen to everyone at least once. This doesn’t just mean drinking too much and violating somebody’s toilet, it can also mean raiding someone’s Iceland frozen food shop, not having a ticket for the sold out club or doing more trips to the toilet in one night than you have in a week.

4. There’s going to be a cutlery war (smashing plates and stealing forks)

You will never know how violent a uni kitchen will get until someone’s original Ikea five piece fork set suddenly becomes a one piece. Over my Freshers’ Week, I saw my fair share of fallen angels, with chicken plates being smashed and rainbow glasses being lost, and it never gets easier. You’ll never know how much someone can miss a kitchen item until it’s gone (RIP Asda rainbow glass, you were good to me).

5. You will find a local uni celebrity. They will show up everywhere and likely it won’t be someone you want to see everyday

Whether you meet someone in your lecture that you just can’t remember the name of three weeks in, you spill a drink down someone on a shameful night or there’s just that one person that you and your flatmates only know by codename, you will find your celebrity. Be prepared for a lot of ducking and hiding and messaging the group chat to warn them that the person is in the area.

6. You will not be aware of how cheap you will become

No matter how many Clubcards, Co-op or Morrisons points you have in your account from various meal deals bought, you will never have enough for the random food shops that you seem to have to do daily. I have lost almost every shred of my dignity standing in a Tesco’s queue sacrificing my “little treat” for a loaf of bread…

7. You’ll never know the dread of opening your messages or voicemails after Freshers’

Just a little word of advice, don’t. Your messages will be badly strung sentences either addressed to your exes or someone you haven’t messaged in decades, so my advice is to live blissfully unaware.

8.McDonald’s is a war zone after a night out. DO NOT EAT YOUR FOOD INSIDE

It may seem like that happy meal is vital to the end of your night but that queue is devastating and even worse in the cold. And if you’re lucky enough to go to the McDonald’s on Saturday after the Otley Run you have the unique experience of seeing four Barbies be told to get behind the line, two Ali Gs being asked to eat their food outside, and one cowgirl trying to fight the bouncer.

9. Toast, all day, everyday

Never in my life have I consumed more toast after a night out. It has now become one of my drunken cupboard staples and simple pleasures in life. The cheaper the bread, the better.

10. And finally, most importantly, be kind to yourself

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, allow yourself to process the change however is best for you. Your body is going to get tired during the first few weeks, so I know it’s easier said than done, but try to get some sleep at least, rest your body and buy some multivitamins. And grab a glass of water for your bedside table before bed because I guarantee 4am thirsty you will thank you for that.

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