All the ways you can spot a Nottingham first year student

We were all freshers once


Oh first years, fresh faced and happy to be here with not a care in a world. Anyone in second year or above will know you can identify a first year simply by looking at them. There are just certain things that all first years do here at UoN which makes it obvious. That being said, we can’t blame them for it because let’s be honest, we’ve all been there too.

Being a first year is exciting, you’re constantly told that it doesn’t count, so you might as well just have fun. Now, obviously I disagree, you need first year to get to second year at least, but you can’t blame the freshers for enjoying themselves. We’re just jealous that our assessments actually count towards our final grade. However, this does mean that they haven’t yet learnt the unwritten rules and they’re normally a little too happy to be walking around campus.

Some things never change, and freshers will always be freshers. So, if you’re well past being a first year like me, or if you’re a silly fresher trying to correct your ways, then read on to learn how to determine, with 100 per cent accuracy, if someone is, in fact, a first year.

Their Insta is full of classic Notts uni pics

One of the quickest ways to tell a fresher from any other Notts student is through their Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a highlight for each year at uni but the posts of a fresher’s page and story are classic “I’ve just arrived here and want to take pictures of everything”.

There’ll be the pictures of the Nottingham sign, the Trent building and normally them sitting on the grass either in Wollaton or Highfields Park. Bonus points if they’ve tagged the location as Uni of Nottingham or put a caption along the lines of “first semester 🤪”. To be fair, anyone who says they’re not guilty of this is lying. We were all just excited to be here.

It was my first uni post too…

Their room decor 

Every fresher has pretty much exactly the same room decor. All the girls will have pictures of their family and home friends plastered on every inch of wall they have available to them. Sometimes they go the extra mile and string up some fairy lights too – adds a bit of ambiance, you know? As for the boys, they’ve normally got LEDs under their beds and they always seem to bring a whole computer system for their tiny halls desk. They’ll have a laptop, a monitor, an iPad, an Apple Pencil, an Xbox or PlayStation and any other technology you can imagine.

Oh and a universal thing for all freshers? Empty alcohol bottles lined up on a shelf or windowsill to show just how crazy they are. You normally see one nice bottle of Gordons that mummy bought for a moving in present and then the rest are own brand bottles because student finance doesn’t stretch that far.

They ‘have a friend that goes there’ 

We all know that the only way to make friends at uni is to ask where someone is from and you can guarantee that if you’re talking to a fresher they’ll hit you with “oh my friend goes to uni there!”. You can apply this rule to literally any question – a fresher will know someone from there.

Telling them what hall you were in? They’ve got a friend that’s staying there. Talking about what course you do? They’ll know someone doing the same course. Freshers just have friends everywhere and most of them they met in the first week and they’ll never speak to again. Then again, maybe I’m just jealous because I have approximately four friends now I’m in second year.

They’re not quiet in the library

When I told my housemates about this article, this was a big one for them and I’m going to have to agree. Most freshers are quiet to be fair but you can guarantee the ones getting kicked out are normally first years. Sometimes that’s all they need and they’ll never dare to breathe in Hallward again, that is if they ever go back. But first years, please, the third years don’t need you talking while they’re trying to write their diss.

They’re dressed to impress

The way someone dresses is a massive telltale sign that they’re a fresher, especially in first semester. Sometimes I walk through campus and find myself wondering whether I’m hallucinating when I see freshers with a full face of makeup, fresh out the box Jordans and looking very put together for 9am on a Monday morning. I can’t knock them for it because they look good but I do question how they have the effort or energy to get ready every morning. And then I remember they’re freshers.

I don’t know who they’re trying to impress as I can guarantee your lecturer does not care what you’re wearing. After a couple of months they’ll realise the extra hour in bed they can get if they don’t get ready is much more important.

Lockdown Halloween but still got dressed up?

They’re a member of all the societies

I can excuse this one if you’re a sports player – UoN takes sport very seriously and I wouldn’t dare argue with the army of green PlayerLayers. But freshers pack their schedules with a million societies and meet new people like everyone tells you to do. I have to agree that joining societies is a great way to make friends but you don’t need that many socials. You’ll pay for all the memberships and probably only actually go to one or two. Yes, a themed Crisis night is fun but you can’t go as all 20 themes at once, even if freshers do take themes very seriously.

They take uni work very seriously, for about a week

First years are always told they should just have fun because “first year doesn’t count for anything” but every fresher vows they’re the one who’ll work really hard and take it very seriously. They attend all their lectures five minutes early, they do their work well in advance and they do all the extra reading.

Then about a week later they’ve decided uni can wait because there’s club nights all week. Suddenly, they agree that first year counts for nothing and decide they just need to do the bare minimum to pass the year. Courseworks are completed the night before and exam revision is a night before cramming session. Now, I’m not saying I approve of this behaviour but I’d be a hypocrite if I said I wouldn’t do the same.

Just me handing in my coursework at 3am

They just give the vibes 

I can’t explain this one but anyone in second year or above will get it. There’s something about first years, you can just tell that they’re new here. Maybe it’s because they don’t look like they’ve been awake for 24 hours straight trying to finish seminar questions or maybe it’s because they’re a little too happy to be attending their 9ams. I don’t know how, but you can just tell. I don’t mean this as a bad thing, we’re all just jealous that we’re long past being freshers.

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