student life

Friends, Food and Fun: A Freshers Survival Guide

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Written by Isobelle Mallinson
In no other situation have I found myself hungrily devouring a bread and butter sandwich with a girl I had just met 30 minutes previously.
 
The things open

In no other situation have I found myself hungrily devouring a bread and butter sandwich with a girl I had just met 30 minutes previously.
 
The things open days don’t tell you about starting university are countless. Firstly, they do not tell you that within hours, people you have never met before suddenly know your life story, are hugging you and are indeed standing with their hand outstretched waiting for that exquisite handmade bread and butter sandwich. 
 
Unlikely friends
 
People who come from all areas of the country are suddenly marvelling at your ‘strange Yorkshire accent’ as they listen avidly to a story you know you are adding more falsehoods to than truths.
 
This is Freshers’ Week – seven days of hedonistic, once-in-a-lifetime, hangover fun. But while the headaches, blurry memories and nightclub frequenting were to be expected, I had not prepared myself for the absurd envelopment into a world where friends could be made within minutes.
 
Out of nowhere, you have a Fresher’s family. Newly qualified, they are the people who wipe up your vomit, assist you with your ‘serious’ relationship choices and are there with their arms around you as you sob because you miss ‘Momma B’.
 
The first few weeks of Freshers are certainly exciting, but what no prospectus prepares you for is the new found and frankly quite strange unions you create with people who you had never met before that very first morning, in addition to ones you will wish you never did. 
 
Top Survival Tips
 
The first week is bound to be a tumultuous one, waking up in a new city surrounded by noisy strangers could not be further removed from waking up in your cosy childhood single bed half-a-mile from your well-loved school full of friends who know your every weakness.  
 
Being a third year student, I  am well accustomed to the advice people throw your way in a convoluted, uneducated way in an attempt to assist your three year passage of discovery – I soon learnt that most of this advice was entirely moot. 
 
‘Be Tidy’ rates highly in the types of advice given to new students, and certainly this is accurate – by week two, new students will marvel at how their room has recently resembled the average dustbin. Unwashed dishes, dirty underwear and items belonging to anyone but you easily begin to accessorise any bedroom in university halls.
 
Despite this, I would disagree that this is an important thing to give any student as valuable advice. I have devised three essential pieces of advice for starting university, a set of things that every student needs to know when joining the higher education institute that will be their booze-filled arena for the next three years.
 
These are not exactly rules but things to expect – one thing you don’t need from university, are anymore surprises.
 
Embrace everyone
 
As mentioned previously, the first week of university will come as a shock to many with regards to the stranger and friend divide. If you go into university thinking you will practice the usual forms of social meetings, please think again.
 
The girl you see on your corridor as soon as you arrive? Her clothes will have mixed with yours, all your food will be split and you will not be able to imagine your life without her by the end of moving in day. It would appear that upon starting university, the term friend becomes one to apply loosely – with the absence of your usual crowd, new bonds are made immediately.  
 
Fresher Friends are not always for life
 
The friends you make in Fresher’s are like the ones you would make during a hurricane – there to cling to when you hit the unknown, people to sweep into the fury with you, the people who help you pick up the pieces after a rowdy night out.
 
But as the week calms and you remember your name and where you come from, you will wonder why you ever talked to the girl with an obsession with cardigan buttons and an unhealthy addiction to Jeremy Kyle. As your lectures begin you will often forget the friends you made in the foray, trading these fast-made friendships for people you actually have things in common with.
 
You will be hungry
 
Not much I can say about this, but after spending the first week surviving on energy drinks and Mars bars you will realise why you appreciated your Mum’s Sunday lunch when presented with your own hastily thrown together wafer thin ham and reduced chicken pasta bake. Appreciate vegetables while you can, they are more expensive than Noodles. 
 
So for all those university hungry fresher’s who are clutching their A Levels to their chests and practically running out of the door. Remember this – in less than a month you will probably be missing your Mum, wondering how your Dad managed to iron one handkerchief (never mind three shirts) and marvelling at the beauty of a handsome bread and butter sandwich that you proudly hand to a girl you met 30 minutes ago.
 
Welcome to Freshers, friends, it’s crazy but utterly brilliant.
 
[Image: Eddie Ho; License: Creative Commons]
 
What do you think? What advice would you give to new students starting university? Have your say in the comments section below.