Seven reasons why this year may not be the worst time to be a fresher

Lectures in pyjamas minus the shame!

It’s so disheartening to hear: “Ooh I wouldn’t want to be a fresher this year!” “Have you thought about deferring?” “You won’t even be able to go out!” Everyone seems to focus on the negatives, and in such a difficult time this isn’t really helpful to anyone. Here are some reasons why it might actually be the best time to be a fresher during a global pandemic (because it’s very unlikely anyone is going to get such a unique experience).

Less nightlife, less sleep deprivation

For many people, their first year is a blur of booze-fuelled confusion, exhaustion, and hangovers that make you want to denounce the consumption of alcohol for the rest of your life. Many nights out in Freshers’ Week are overly expensive, very average, and generally not worth the hangover and regrets the next day (or next year depending on how badly your decision making is!).

While it’s definitely possible to get drunk under the current guidelines, the curfew means earlier nights and less debilitating hangovers, giving you time to actually enjoy your mornings and days-after-the-night-before, leaving you quite smug that you haven’t wasted your hard-earned student loan.

(Also, a straight week drinking trebs is dreadful for your skin.)

Lectures in pyjamas

Lectures are going to be online, which means there is a lot less prep required to actually attend them. Aside from not having to get a jam-packed Metro at 8am, running around campus feeling like a Year Seven on the first day at high school or having your stomach rumbling interrupting your lecturer mid-sentence because you didn’t have time for breakfast, there is the opportunity to attend these lectures in your pyjamas! (Just shove a hoodie over the top if you’re worried about being spotted). Then, after all that hard work attending your one 9am of the day, you can get straight back into bed without missing a beat.

The worse the situation, the stronger the bond

This is one of the most surreal situations many of us have ever faced – who’d have thought back in January how much we took going out for meals/coffee/a pint for granted. The people you meet now as freshers have all experienced this unique start to uni life and have had to adapt to this pandemic the same way you have. Friendships formed during this pretty traumatic time (let’s be honest) are going to last a lifetime. You build them on more than just going out and getting drunk but also getting each other through these strange times, and getting to know them incredibly well because you’re gonna be spending a lot of time with them. 

A LOT less awkwardness

Ever been out at a social gathering and just really not felt the vibe? Not really listening to what anyone else is saying because all you can think about is the season finale of your latest binge-watch? It’s a lot easier to get out of online social events than it is in-person ones – who’s to say your WiFi didn’t cut out and you had no choice but to get back into bed?

Also having people’s names on the screen means you won’t have to awkwardly admit to not remembering their names!

Desperate times, desperate measures…

Even the mundane, boring tasks have become challenges (see these students trying to get their Deliveroo order from an isolating top floor flat), so it hasn’t taken long for students to find new ways of entertaining themselves. Isolation isn’t just about playing endless games of UNO or watching TikTok for 12 straight hours (although a big part of it is). Make up drinking games, turn your house into Soho Rooms, host Come Dine With Me-type contests in your flat, do online classes with your housemates; no one else will have had a freshers experience quite like this!

Newcastle and nature

First-year can be just a blur of different clubs so that by the end of it you’ll probably struggle to remember which is which. While these are all shut, what have you got to lose by exploring the city a bit? Visit Tynemouth, Jesmond Dene, Ouseburn, seek out cute, independent coffee shops around Jesmond and Heaton, the list goes on… there’s so much more to the city than messy nights out and these are definitely a safer bet than nightclubs for avoiding the virus!

At least you aren’t a graduate

It’s not been the easiest year for freshers but it could be a lot worse – at least you don’t have to find a full-time job in the tragic economy this year. The world will heal and there’s going to be time to do all the things you may feel like you missed out on this year, but you’ll have a great set of pals, a lot more of your student loan left and a good knowledge of Newcastle (no getting lost trying to find your way back after the first night out).

If nothing else, you’ll have a good story to tell your grandkids in the future!

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