Having been to both, here’s why last year’s Freshers’ Week was so much better

2022 was a bit of a flop

Rumour has it that Manchester’s Freshers’ Week 2022 did not reach the lofty heights of 2021. We’ve been speaking to students during these first few weeks of term to get the comprehensive lowdown on what really went down at this years Freshers’ week.

Given how packed the buses have been in these first few weeks, and how the university campus feels like its doubled in students, I was expecting the clubs to be giving the same vibe. But at this point, I’d probably have a better time on the 147 than in 256.

Once again, many opted for the infamous wristbands and, once again, the overwhelming view was that the wristbands that had been hyped up so vigorously on group chats were totally overpriced and completely underused. Now this is no news to second and third years. Who really wants to be spending their entire week in Ark, Revs or, dare I say it, Cargo.

Many Freshers’  told the Tab that there was a general sense of emptiness in many of Manchester’s favourite clubs. Thinking back to last year, when I stood in queues that snaked back for hours and some club ventures simply had to be abandoned due to sheer numbers of people, I can confirm that this year was not the same. Standing in the line waiting to purchase roughly 15 skittle bombs in 42s I looked around and noticed I’d reached the bar in less than 5 minutes, a feat that would have been unimaginable a year ago. So where was everybody? Apparently not at any freshers events (don’t be fooled by the pictures.)

On the other hand, the consensus of people’s halls experience has been much more positive. As expected, the infamous reputation of Oak House as the epicentre of a good time has carried through into another year, with freshers reporting that the flat party scene was much better than the clubs. If Oak is anything like last year I can only imagine the scenes; as students from the Home Counties bond over a shared love of nicotine and knowing at least 5 mutual people. Rah, that’s crazy.

But where was the craziness? Three weeks into term and I am yet to be on a bus where the ceilings are being pounded as people sing their way into town with a bottle of ‘squashka’ that was carefully smuggled past the stagecoach bus bouncers.

Perhaps it was the novelty of students across 2 years having total freedom after COVID that made 2021 so iconic. Maybe I’m looking back with rose tinted glasses at my own experience, but from everything I’ve heard and observed, Freshers’ week 2022 was missing the element of feral-ness and craziness that is supposed to immortalise Freshers’ as so amazing.


But as we’ve discussed in the Tab before, Manchester’s accommodation situation is more than a mixed bag. God forbid you’ve wasted £50 on a wristband only to be stuck at a
Whitworth motive. I can almost hear the tumbleweed rolling away along with all your university hopes and dreams. Its not all bad though. Word on the streets is that the sports socials so far this year have been popping off for freshers. Whether you’re dressed as a pea, a rat or a pirate you’re guaranteed a good time when you’ve got third years looking for any excuse to get some wine down you.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Meet the Manchester freshers who are already popping off on TikTok

• Mercury is no longer in retrograde, so here is your Fallow-scope forecast for this week

• 24 hours in the life of a Fallow fresher