Second years tell us their freshers dos and don’ts

Avoid their mistakes


Freshers is the holy grail of freedom. You’ve left home. You’re with other young people. You’re ready to go and destroy your liver at the SU. Yet despite the great memories of looking after sick friends throwing up on your roommate’s bed dressed as a fallen angel – you know who you are – we all have some regrets.

To help this year’s intake avoid making the same mistakes, we asked some of last year’s freshers what they wish they’d done differently.

Rhianna, Classics

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Disney movie night in anyone?

Don’t survive on just noodles alone during freshers. It becomes a loveless marriage in the end, you’re just disgusted by them.

Don’t expect to make friends with everyone during freshers. Some people just don’t click well with others- and that’s okay.

It’s okay not to go out to every event. You can skip one or two if you don’t want to, don’t feel pressured to love club culture at uni. Some just prefer a few quiet drinks with friends and with the right game (Ring of Fire, I’m looking at you), it can be an amazing night in.

You just need to enjoy yourselves. First year’s work doesn’t go towards your final grade, so just have fun. That gives you license to go to Monkeys Mondays and not feel so guilty.

The first evening of Freshers was the Glowstick Rave. Being a sheltered, only child who’d never been clubbing, I had no idea what to expect so I took a backpack. I packed hand sanitiser, tissues, make up powders, a water bottle and spare tights. My backpack literally took up the space of another person on the already-packed dancefloor of Medicine. Anyone who attempted to dance near us was beaten by my backpack and thrown back a couple of steps. I’ve learnt from that, I swear.

The backpack in question

The backpack in question

Damon, Drama and Theatre Studies

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Don’t forget your onesie

Embrace the themed nights, they make some of the best memories. 80’s night, Halloween, onesie party – all amazing nights and they give you an excuse to dress up like an idiot and have a party before the SU in someone’s room.

Learn your alcohol limit. Seriously, it’s not fun having to end a night at the SU throwing up in your girlfriend’s bin as she and her friends laugh at you in their pyjamas.

Accept the SU is bad: the floor is sticky, guys try it with every girl they see, the bouncers are unusually angry at every guy, and the DJ has Turn Down for What on repeat most of the night – but we love it. You just have to go with it.

Enjoy the campus. You’re at one of the most beautiful campuses in England. I had the privilege of living in Founders East, and I can look at it and say, yes, I have thrown up in there, but also I can admire its charm.

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Look how classic it is

Samantha, History

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I signed up to too many sports and societies events during Freshers Fair and never went to any. Don’t do it. Sign up to the ones you actually want to join. Don’t feel obliged to hand over your email address, because in the second term you will hate yourself every time the female rugby team emails you along with the Shakespeare society meeting at the pub.

Take notes in lectures. Don’t do it on a computer, take pen and paper. Every lecture was rows filled with MacBooks and students ending up on Facebook and Tumblr, or in my case ASOS Marketplace. When you have a 2,000 word essay to write, you will thank the deities for your paper notes.

Vodka. Especially vodka and lemonade. It’s a love-hate relationship the next morning, but you’ve got to stick it through.

Don’t forget the importance of brunch. Hash browns are heavenly. Monkeys Brunch ends at 12 and Founders brunch ends at 1. Don’t forget these times: run in your pyjamas and hungover state 10 minutes before the doors shut. You don’t have to worry, no one will judge you.

Grace, History

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Make friends with everyone, not just your flatmates

Be prepared for the fire alarms. 1am? 8am? 7pm? No one knows. It once rang on the last night of term before Christmas. Everyone had come back extremely drunk and tired from the SU Winter Blowout and put on their warm pyjamas, only to have to go back out and stand in the cold for two hours.

Don’t feel pressured into drinking every night. There might be a big binge drinking culture surrounding university but there are non-alcoholic events and not every night needs it to be fun.

Fire engine selfie anyone?

Not everyone will like you on your floor/hall and thats okay. I lived in Founders and everyone on my floor had become a group and a clique without me, so I made friends in my course and ventured to the 4th floor and made some of my best friends who I’m living with the coming year. It’s not all about flatmates.

Spend alone time with your significant partner and friends. It’s difficult to find precious time alone in between going out and your uni workload but it’s important you make time for each other.

Jackie, English

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Try to have a more varied diet than just hamburgers

Your shopping will usually look very unhealthy except for the occasional apple or banana in the basket. ‘Try not to forget you need vegetables and salads, though they can wait until after Freshers Week. During it you don’t even go down those bizarre health aisles.

Your room will probably become the central squad HQ if you leave your door open. I left it open while I slept and my flatmates would just stroll in and out.

Don’t forget to do the reading, you’re there for the university experience but you do love your course too – thats why you chose it. So don’t fall behind and into a dark spiral of “I’ll read it tomorrow”. I know that route, I’m a procrastination queen. It’s not pretty.

Have a positive approach to most things and just enjoy them, they end up being great memories and fun experiences.