RHUL’s best societies give us their advice for Freshers’ Week

‘I was lucky the eight people in my flat were tidy’


Orla O’Sullivan (President of Drama Society)

Orla is a second year English and Theatre Studies student from Reading.

Royal Holloway Drama Society- Orla

Orla on stage with the Drama society

What will you be doing in freshers week?

We have the Freshers’ Fair on 24th and 25th. Ours is mainly for promoting upcoming shows, the Holloway Players – who are the improv group – and auditions. Most of them are for shows in this term and we also do weekly workshops.

Do you get a lot of people who study non-drama or literature-based subjects, such as Mathematics?

Yes, that’s one of the great things about it. It might have nothing to do with what people are studying, but they want to get involved in either performance or behind the scenes as a member of the crew. For them it’s a hobby.

What’s the funniest thing which happened during an event last year?

With rehearsals, you become a sort of family. The Holloway Players are always hilarious, and they’ll often have jokes which reference back to something in a rehearsal or social.

What events did you attend during your freshers’ week?

Most of the SU nights. I went to a Drama Society audition, which was very nerve-wracking. It was on the second day of Freshers’ Week and was very daunting, but they were so welcoming and friendly which really helped.

Drama Society

‘I nearly didn’t go to the audition but I’m glad I went’

What’s the strangest piece of advice someone told you before freshers week?

Bring a doorstop!

Was it useful?

Actually, it was. I stayed in Founders during first year and it can be very easy to shut yourself in your room. You hear people laughing and socialising outside and you can feel rather nervous about joining in. But if you have your door propped open, it makes it a lot easier to be a part of everything. People are more likely to come over and interact with you. Before it seemed like very odd advice, but it was actually a good idea.

What was your biggest regret from freshers week?

I don’t think I have any, I did everything. You have to throw yourself into everything. I nearly didn’t go to the audition for the show. I was going on my own, I had to leave a department talk to go to it. But I’m really glad I went.

I guess…silly things. Thinking too much about what to wear on your night out.

How is Royal Holloway different from anywhere else?

It’s quieter, no clubs. You’re more likely to see the people you meet again which makes it a lot easier to make friends.

What advice would you give first years?

Joining societies is your opportunity to try something you’ve always wanted to do, but for some reason haven’t. Royal Holloway has such a variety. I would go for what you want to do, and not what others think will be fun. It’s your chance.

Want to get involved? Why not audition?
A View From a Bridge: 27th-29th.
Bazaar and Rummage!: 22nd -24th.

Tom Puijk (President of Men’s Rugby)

Tom is a second year History student.

Royal Holloway Rugby

Tom and the boys dressed up for a social

What’s the funniest thing which happened in your society last year?

Everything. All socials are fun. Funny things happen. I couldn’t choose one.

What will you be doing in Freshers’ Week?

A whole range of taster sessions and training sessions for people who’ve never played before. We have a social on the 18th, watching the England game.

What was the strangest piece of advice someone told you before Freshers’ Week?

I was told not to find my flatmates online and not to contact them before, but to wait until I got there. It probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference. I think it depends who you live with. Not everyone is going to get on. My experience was lucky.

Squad goals

Squad goals

What was your biggest regret from Freshers’ Week?

I don’t really have any…I went to all the events I wanted to go to. Rugby was the only sports-based event I went to. I did go to History society events too, we went on a pub crawl.

Rugby has a reputation for heavy drinking, what is the RHUL Men’s Rugby teams approach to boozing?

We don’t push drinking, we have the middle ground. Everyone wants to go for a couple of drinks after a game, it’s what we do. But we don’t force anyone to drink….if someone did we would have words with them.

 

Alex Oxley (Cheerleading)

Alex is a 3rd year Geography student and is a dedicated member of the cheerleading committee.

Royal Holloway Cheerleading team.

Why yes, that is a trophy you can see on the floor

What will you be doing in Freshers’ Week?

I’ve got lots going on. As part of the cheerleading committee, I’ve got a meeting with Red Cup to help set up a cheer event with them for later in the term, we have our cheerleading taster sessions on the Wednesday and the Saturday, and with sports fair running throughout the week we’ll hopefully get lots of new recruits for the year.

What’s the funniest thing which happened during a social last year?

Last year we were in Bournemouth for a week for our summer competition and one of our macho veteran teammates bought a whole chicken. He carved it up, used the bones to make a broth and everyone had to do shots of it if they were late to meet up. Everyone was chanting “Chicken broth! Chicken broth!”

What events did you attend during your Freshers’ Week?

All the ones I could. I didn’t have a job, and I was very over-excited, so went to everything, including all the London coach nights out.

Alex Oxley

Thug lyfe

What was the strangest piece of advice someone told you before Freshers’ Week?

Everyone told me not to be angry about people not washing up.

Were your flatmates as bad as people expected them to be?

To be honest, I was quite lucky with the eight people in my flat as we were rather tidy (in fact, I was probably the worst).

What was your biggest regret from Freshers’ Week?

I don’t think I have one, but my Freshers’ Week in second year was probably a lot better as I’d met and established friendships with like-minded people, so got to enjoy it a bit more.

How is Royal Holloway different from anywhere else?

It’s so friendly and welcoming, something I’ve not experienced anywhere else. Some may say it’s small, and everyone knows everyone, but I love that. It’s so personal: you know your lecturers, the people on your course, in your sports teams, and the people you see out on campus, which makes you feel at home.

What advice would you give first years?

Throw yourself into it and be fearless, because before you know it, it will be over.

Josephine Chick (LGBT+ President):

Josephine is a 3rd Year English Literature student from Brighton. She joined the LGBT+ committee during 2nd year.

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What will you be doing in Freshers’ Week?

Trying to balance reading and society events. We have a stall at the society fair as well as a club night, Rainbow Rave, at Medicine on the 24th.

How much organisation goes into this week?

Quite a lot. It’s not just socials, we’re involved with a lot of welfare stuff too. There’s such a large group of people who may not identify themselves as LGBT and it takes a lot to offer a face people can go to. We offer quieter events, where people can talk more.

What’s the funniest thing which happened during an event last year?

A lot of people come over to the stand and say “Oh LGBT, what does that stand for?” When you explain it to them they often don’t know what to say beyond politely mentioning they’re not “one of them” and then awkwardly shifting away. We do get some really positive reactions though. Some ask whether straight people can join, which they can.

What was the strangest piece of advice someone told you before Freshers’ Week?

Chummy family members told me to stock up on condoms and not to sleep with any boys I didn’t know or want to. Rather useless advice, when you think about it. I would say you just have to be brave and try and talk to people. For first, second, third and even fourth years going into a Masters, it can still be really scary.

What was your biggest regret from Freshers’ Week?

I don’t know….I think it’s the flip side to what I just said- I was very shy, very afraid they wouldn’t like me. I found myself having to come out to people I didn’t know.

How is Royal Holloway different from anywhere else?

I come from Brighton, so I’m used to walking everywhere. I must admit, I feel a bit trapped at Royal Holloway. Egham seems to shut down during the holidays or at night. It’s quite a culture shock.

Does being close to London not help with that?

I guess it’s a misconception about Royal Holloway. People think we’re so close to London but a train into central London can be between forty and fifty minutes. It’s okay going out for the day, but the last train is 11.50. I’ve had to learn you can’t really go to London for a night out.

What advice would you give first years?

Balance your interests with your studies and try to team up academic learning with societies. Although your grades in your first year don’t count to your final grade, it makes your life so much easier if you practice being good. Make it count.