Eight things all Newcastle students are guaranteed to do in September
No prizes for guessing what the first one is
Whilst it’s true that everyone is different, it’s also guaranteed that every student in Newcastle will do everything on this list within their first two weeks back. Every new or returning student takes the first few weeks of term to blow off steam, meet new people and generally just take the time to enjoy city life and all the perks that come with it. That being said, Newcastle has its own quirks and unofficial landmarks, and a true Newcastle student will manage to rapidly navigate through them. With essay deadlines and exams a very long way in the future, make the most of your time now.
Go out for drinks in true Geordie fashion
Whether you prefer early evening cocktails or late night shots, you can guarantee that a night out is on the agenda for the vast majority of students as soon as they get back to Newcastle. It’s less a case of if you’ll go out, and more when and where your first outing will be. Maybe you’ll start off with a sophisticated night in the Botanist sipping herbal cocktails, or maybe you’ll start as you mean to go on by choosing Flares instead. Whatever your preference, sadly pre-drinks and going ‘out out’ are big contributors to the average student’s depleting bank balance, which leads nicely onto the next thing you can expect to happen in the first few weeks…
Go freebie hunting
Free sausage roll? Free Domino’s? 50% off at Jalou? Any self-respecting Newcastle student will make sure to attend one of the numerous fairs during Freshers’ week to pick up all sorts of vouchers and free stuff. You need to learn to walk confidently towards the stalls you want, whilst ignoring the countless iPads thrust at you by students with a sign up target to hit. Whilst the freebies are amazing, the downside is you usually end up signing up to all sorts of mailing lists, which will plague you for the rest of the year (make sure you never blindly sign up to free trials and forget to cancel your subscription). But hey, the pizza was good right?
Blow the budget
Even those who go into Freshers’ week with the best intentions and a spending spreadsheet are sure to crumble in the face of hundreds of temptations. Between nights out, daily meal deals and a new room to decorate, expect to find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of spending in the first fortnight. Uni accommodation can range from anything from mildly pleasant to downright grim. But there is nothing at all that seven sets of cute fairy lights, an unnecessary amount of cushions and throws in aesthetically pleasing pastel tones, and every photo you’ve ever taken with your friends printed and plastered to the walls. You smile, content at last as you sit in your cosy-chic room, ignoring the fact that your printing bill has left you with a budget that just about covers rice and beans for the next two months. Just make sure you don’t spend too much money dolling up the communal areas on your own. Those scatter cushions you got in Ikea which weirdly disappeared one by one? You’ll see them in your flatmate’s room on moving day.
Buy at least one houseplant
…which will most likely perish by the second semester if you buy anything more ambitious than a small cactus in a novelty pot. The houseplant sale in front of the SU is usually a two day event at the start of first term, and boasts all kinds of weird and wonderful plants. Whilst any room is definitely made better by a plant or two, don’t fall into the pineapple plant trap. From someone who has – twice – I can promise that it won’t ever grow another pineapple, no matter what you do and how hard you try.
Spend too much money on Deliveroo
This one is dedicated to those poor souls who come from towns too small or remote for Deliveroo and UberEats to deliver in. Suddenly being able to access all the restaurants Newcastle has to offer without even having to leave the comfort of your house (especially with the current restrictions) is a revelation to those who aren’t used to it at home. But as with anything, convenience breeds laziness. Whether you choose Nando’s to be delivered to the Robbo or Fat Hippo that would actually take half the time to just wander over and get yourself, just don’t be the person who orders just a milkshake. There’s no need.
Fall out with one of your flatmates
It doesn’t take long until those passive aggressive group chat messages start coming through. Usually related to the bins, dishes, or the unauthorised use of someone else’s Double Gloucester cheese. Varying levels of conflict ensue depending on the initial crime, but expect anything from a minor tiff to full blown choose-your-side row. Everyone in the kitchen at seven for a house meeting please xxx
Complain about the temperature
It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s a simple fact that Newcastle will probably be colder. You will most likely spend the first few days complaining about the cold at any opportunity, whilst clutching your brand new puffa. By November you’ll have acclimatised, ready to spend the winter months laughing about those who stare at you in disbelief from underneath their sensible waterproofs and woolly accessories. I challenge you to find me a Newcastle student who doesn’t embrace the cold. (Though I’ll make an exception for walking to 9am lectures, that’s another story).
Forget why you’re here in the first place
Whilst you may shudder at the sight of the Robbo in the first few weeks, by week eight or nine it will be your second home, with late nights in the library becoming the norm. It is so easy to be distracted by all of the other things going on in the first weeks of term that your actual degree can be sidelined. Just make sure to enjoy the easy weeks before the real hard work starts!
For returning Newcastle students who have already done the rounds in Freshers’ week more than once, you get bonus points for visits to any of the following places in your first two weeks: Ikea, The Quayside, Whitley Bay, Jesmond Dene, Dog and Scone. You are both well-travelled and well on your way to curating the perfect term-time Instagram feed. Congratulations, you are a true Newcastle student.