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Why Freshers’ Week is the most overrated week of your year

Let’s be honest, it’s the worst part of uni

So, you're on your way to uni. Woo! The crowd cheers! You've raided IKEA and bought enough battery-powered fairy lights to rival the Blackpool Illuminations. Your carefully chosen Pulp Fiction poster is rolled up and ready to become your bedroom's focal piece. Freshers' Week awaits you. It's seven days of fun-filled partying, drinking and making best friends for life, or at least, that's the picture that is painted.

Freshers' Week is depicted as the best week of your life. Every day will be a new and fun adventure, every night will be one to remember. The friendships you discover will last forever. And for many students, that is exactly what Freshers' Week is. But for many others like myself, the reality doesn't quite live up to the hype.

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What I expected Freshers' to be like

I came to Newcastle with high expectations for Freshers' Week. How couldn't I? The city is renowned for its nightlife, and from what I saw, the uni's Freshers' Week looked like one of the best.

Except it wasn't.

I went out a maximum of two times and on both occasions, all I could think of was how much I wanted to be in bed. The whole experience was overwhelming. The expectation to be constantly having fun was exhausting. It felt like if you weren't enjoying yourself, you were doing something wrong. Every one around me seemed to be having the time of their lives. I just sat in my room waiting for the week to be over.

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A visual representation of how my Freshers' Week was actually spent

It wasn't that I wasn't ready to go to uni, I was. It was that I had set my expectations way too high. Had I been told that Freshers' Week wasn't necessarily going to be one of the best weeks of my life, and that it wasn't actually a true reflection of the university experience, perhaps things would have been different.

Students' Unions put so much emphasis on Freshers' Week, depicting it as the be all and end all, to the point at which it becomes kind of problematic. Freshers' Week isn't the be all and end all, and portraying it as such puts unnecessary pressure on new students who are already out of their comfort zones. It makes them feel out of place if they're not having fun and anxious if they haven't found their supposed best friends within a week of knowing them.

That is not to say that you definitely won't have a great Freshers' Week. There is a strong chance that you will. However, it is also important to reassure those who might not have the best Freshers' experience that it gets better. A bad Freshers' Week does not mean that you will have a bad university experience overall. Freshers' Week is but one week of many.

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Living my best post-Freshers' Week life

My university experience post-Freshers' Week has been great. I say to every one I meet that First Year has been the best year of my life. And I don't say that lightly. However, had my Fresher self been told that I'd be making such a bold statement just a year later, she wouldn't have believed me.

Therefore, my message to new students would be to take it easy. Moving to a new city and living alone for the first time is daunting as it is. It's normal to feel overwhelmed. So don't put pressure on yourself to have fun every single moment of every single day. Because it's perfectly alright if you don't.

Photo credit: Harry Craig (TigerWeds)