A beginner’s guide to spotting a Newcastle fresher

Kandi Island @ Digi vibes

To understand how to spot a fresher out there in the wild, we must first learn what a fresher actually is. On surface level, this term is used to describe someone in their first year of university, however, digging a bit below the surface we can see that being a fresher feels almost a completely new mindset.

It’s that part in life where you aren’t exactly a fully fledged university student, but you’re a far different person from the one that packed up the car and left home in September. A turbulent time in life, spent dwindling away that student loan and eating pasta religiously. But as older students (or even as a fresher yourself), how easy is it to spot Freshers out in the wild?

How to spot a fresher

Most importantly, a fresher is never spotted alone. They tend to travel in packs, herding together to run for the front-most place in the queue for Market Shaker, or whatever event is being held on that day. But how can you be sure you’re looking at a group of freshers? There’s always key people in these groups to look out for: the drunk one who forgot their limits (usually being held up by either side by their unhappy designated babysitters for the night).

These are usually found at the bar quizzing staff on all the Student Deals they offer, flashing their student cards.

Then you have the two (usually flatmates) necking on, most likely slap bang in the middle of a club surrounded by their mates dancing.

Lastly, and most notably, are the “models” – a.k.a. the photo addict. Whether it’s a neon sign in a club, a big mirror for everyone to huddle in, or perhaps the more famous student halls corridor (the perfect backdrop for any photo before a night out), you can be sure there’s a phone out and multiple people arguing “flash” or “no flash”.


Thinking like a fresher

To know who’s a fresher, you must first think like a fresher. Where do they go? What do they wear? Is there really such a difference between freshers and the rest of us? To start, you won’t find one in Jesmond (the sacred holy land for the second years and above); they usually swarm around places like Market Shaker or Digi.

Weekdays will become their new weekends because who actually goes to that 9am they have when they’re in first year? Any event with a wristband seems to attract them like a magnet. Look at those fresher bands which probably took a couple week to finally get pried from their wrists. You can be sure that if it’s on FIXR for less than a tenner, they’ll be turning up in droves.

First year is when we all try out new things with our looks: you had the mullet craze and girls putting beads and butterfly clips in their hair with every outfit. You’ll often find these freshers looting vintage shops or Urban Outfitters (their fashion Mecca), spending what’sleft of their student loan on garments which will get them a lot of “where did you get your top from babe xx” in their comments.

It’s quite funny looking at the Newcastle freshers fashion, as students seem to go down similar routes. There always seems to be the quintessential cargo (especially baggy) pants, one designer top which gets worn on 90% of the nights out (shout out to you boys on that one), eyebrow slits and the holy nose ring. If you didn’t have a piece of metal protruding from your nose before you came to university, you’ll certainly come out in your third year with one.

Student (shit)Halls

There’s a place where they come together to live. Student accom.

Fresher flats are definitely some of the best memories we all have, living in squalor with a chic collection of empty alcohol bottles and dishes and pans piled high, either in or around the sink. There’s always a “quirky” traffic cone or construction sign in the communal area to let everyone know that this flat has got drunk together and is in fact, pretty cool and quirky.

If, as an older student, you find yourself in a student halls flat, look into the communal area. Nine times out of 10 there will be a “shag chart” or a “chunder chart”, pinned up on the wall with pride (some guy is definitely a bit too proud to be winning in the “shag chart”). Then again, if you do end up waking up in student halls, there’s no questioning that you will be among Freshers: you’re in their territory.

Embrace it (a little)

Now, to any freshers who may stumble upon this, this is no attack on you. When we say we’ve all been there, trust me we have. Ask anyone older, we’ve all been the camera happy students getting way too drunk, way too quickly. It’s a time where we all made an embarrassment of ourselves, but don’t stress, because you have two more years left to try and make everyone forget your fresher faux pas (if you can).

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