Why, Aren’t You Fresh?

Richard Taylor’s musings on the Fresher’s Fortnight Experience

UCL Fresher's

You’ve rocked up with a winning grin on your face and three As (some of them starred or just Bs if you’re at SSES) and now you’re going to have the time of your life for a fortnight.

No, you’re about to run a painful and expensive social gauntlet, where amidst the discussions of what A-levels you did (*snore*), which school you went to (*SNORE*), your ‘Gap Yah’ (even bigger *SNORE*) and everyone will be bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm and goodwill. You’re so fresh.

It is totally unjustified cheeriness. This will be a fortnight of the most expensive nights out you’ll ever go on, courtesy of our fantastic Union, which you pretty much have to attend in order to avoid Social Siberia because anyone that is any fun will probably have felt compelled to attend too. Eurgh. There will also be the needily friendly; there’s always one creeper who adds people at random on facebook based upon what they have scraped together online about course and hall mates. You might think that’s practical- no, it’s creepy.

The problem is that it is so hard to discern between the permanent and the temporary. Discovering “bezzie mates” on the first day can happen- I still see the first person I met three years later- but realistically everyone is being overbearingly nice and some have the indecency to try reinventing themselves. Frankly, there’s a lot of mutton dressed as lamb (and vice versa) and I’ve attended hall parties that were fresher than Febreeze. That aside, you’ll just find friends where you spend the most time, like in halls or on your course or in a society. Or if you’re RUMS, your friends will be RUMS. You have until the end of summer to sort housing anyway.

It’s not that you’ll like everyone you meet either, even if they seem alright. Giving out your number- somewhat necessary- can be like letting your girlfriend read your texts, a bit of a mistake. It turns up undesirables, like that guy that texts you constantly seeing where you’re going to and always closes with ‘lol.’ Horrifying.

Might also be worth bearing in mind that ‘that’ girl/guy who you fumbled about with during your heady hedonistic beginnings can be ‘that’ girl/guy you see every day for the next few years. And it WILL be a fumble. Some self-proclaimed ‘turbo-lads’ will expect to snap their fingers at young ladies and then mate for the night, but I’ve seen men so fresh that they can’t pull at The Roxy.

I enjoyed Freshers’ Week, despite how this sounds, but ultimately it is just a large awkward party, sort of like being dressed as Barney the dinosaur at a funeral. Luckily, everyone else has come in the same outfit and by the end of the year you’ll be able to turn condescendingly to those at ‘party unis’ who go to the same venues as they did in freshers’ and sneer because London is just better and you’re not living with people that you thought you liked in December.

But what do you think? Welcome to UCL. How is your fortnight going?