43 things that will happen to you in your first term at UCL
The good, the bad, and the frankly hilarious – all of which are totally unavoidable.
You've scraped and clawed your way through secondary school and now you're ready for a fresh start. You've heard good things about UCL. Your sheets are clean. Your eyes are bright.
You damn near push your parents out of your halls room because you're so excited to finally live life on your own terms. Even if you're not quite sure what those terms are just yet. But some experiences are universal, and here are 43 things that will definitely happen to you in your noble pursuit of higher education.
In your first term at UCL, you will:
1. Be forced to introduce yourself approximately 76 times during Freshers' Week
Icebreaker after icebreaker, fun fact after fun fact, until you're a broken record.
2. Forget everyone's names 6.6 seconds after learning them
It doesn't matter. From now on, everyone'll be called Ben.
3. End up trying to explain where you're from when you hail from a small village
"I live an hour from Inverness… yes, that's the Scottish highlands… no, it's not near Edinburgh… yeah you know what, actually Scotland will do. Basically, I'm from Scotland."
4. Or end up trying to explain where you're from when you hail from a country halfway across the world
No, Singapore is not in China. Not even close.
5. Catch Freshers' Flu
No matter how careful you are, it will creep up on you.
6. Spend ages dressing up for a night out
Only to realise when you get there it's so dark that no one can see your face or body anyway, so you may as well have turned up in flats.
7. Finally figure out what the buttons on the washing machine mean
And now all you need to do is figure out what those symbols on your shirt's tag are…
8. And come back an hour later to find your wet laundry hastily thrown in a corner
Because there are two hundred people living in your hall, and six washing machines. And the laundry room closes at 10PM.
9. Meet a bunch of people you think you'll be friends with forever
10. Only to realise they are terrible for you in every way, shape, and form
You'll suck it up, because you think having mismatched friends is a rung above having no friends at all.
11. Meet better people a month later, ones you actually like and have things in common with
These are your people – now to shake off those other ones…
12. Join a bunch of clubs at Freshers' Fair with no intention of going
Do it for the freebies.
13. Get takeout five nights a week
You're an adult now, you've got to play your part in fuelling the economy.
14. Need to go shopping a month into term, because all the clothes you have will no longer fit
And just like this, your student loan continues to slip through the gaps of your fingers like sand in an hourglass.
15. Sit on the steps in the main quad on a sunny day
Feeling like a UCL prospectus photoshoot model.
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16. Sign up for gym membership at Bloomsbury Fitness
And proceed to use it once, and once only.
17. Skip a lecture to attend a midday movie premiere in Central London
An hour on gene expression versus a millisecond with Cate Blanchett? Yeah, that's a no-brainer.
18. Have a diet that consists of caffeine, caffeine, and more caffeine
Partially because the barista who works at the student cafe is extremely cute.
19. Harbour an intense crush on someone on your course whom you will probably never speak to
It's not your fault they're so dreamy and intimidating at the same time.
20. Opt to online stalk the shit out of them instead
It's pretty cool to know they have two aunts called Josephine.
21. Have to explain to your mum why it's taken you three weeks to text back
Talking to your family requires a different energy that you can never quite sufficiently muster.
22. Encounter a rat in the Main Library
And Instagram it.
23. Discover your favourite spot in London
Be it a diner, a park, or just a stretch of pavement you really like, it will become your spot.
24. Write an essay whilst drunk
First year doesn't count anyway.
25. Write an essay whilst high
Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road high. And everyone liked it, so…
Because you are homesick/drunk/stressed/just plain sad that the sun is setting earlier and earlier.
27. Neglect changing your sheets for two months
Fact: sheets, like jeans, never get dirty.
28. Have to put on earphones and turn your music all the way up because the walls in your hall are paper thin
A cacophony of phone calls, alarms, sex noises at weird hours has never been charming.
29. Sign up for every single uni student service out there
UniDays, Amazon Prime, Spotify… you name it, there will be a premium account linked to your uni email.
30. Accidentally share your Netflix password with your whole floor whilst drunk one time
And discover, at the end of term, that the randos you never speak to anymore are still leeching off your subscription.
31. Get a dirty look from a medic the second you set foot in the Cruciform library
They will instantly know you're not one of them, because you don't walk around in a lab coat 24/7 for no reason at all.
32. Make a library boyfriend/girlfriend
You won't know what their deal is, or even their first name. But the two of you will always end up sitting at the same table somehow for weeks on end, and you'll start feeling protective of them.
33. Go to a seminar having done none of the reading
And then try to make yourself invisible for two hours so you don't get called on.
34. Go to a seminar having done the completely wrong reading
And then try again to make yourself invisible for two more hours so you don't get called on.
35. Ask for an extension
Because it is an hour to the deadline and you have written six out of three thousand words.
36. Discover your favourite supermarket wine
Pink, sparkly, and less than £5.
37. Bleed into your overdraft in the blink of an eye
Why does everything cost so much money!?
38. Realise you don't actually know how to study
You are so used to just winging it your whole life. Except you can't anymore, and you spend a night consulting WikiHow on how to study.
39. Accidentally spend four hours in your flatmate's room
You will knock on their door to borrow a stapler, and somehow get sucked in.
40. Get extremely lost on campus
And just give up on finding the room because the lecture is half over anyway.
41. Have someone spill their drink all over you in a club
That's a mini baptism.
41. Throw up in a dumpster behind some dodgy venue
And that's a rite of passage.
42. Go on a night out just so you can get drunk food on the way home
Some food just tastes better when you're intoxicated and starving.
43. Feel really proud and congratulate yourself on attending a lecture the morning after, despite not having brought a pen or any paper
You will catch yourself thinking: At least I showed up. It's only the first term. I'm a work in progress. I'll be better in January.