Every Saturday night when I was about eight I used to sit down to Blind Date, with Cilla Black’s famous words, “Now tell me love, what’s your name and where do you come from?” Well, throw in a “What course are you doing?” and “What halls are you living in?” and there you have the first four lines of every conversation you will have within the two week turbulence that is Freshers’ Fortnight!
Get ready for two weeks of crazy events in the brand new Student Union, try outs and taster sessions within Warwick societies and the sports scene and of course, getting to know your family for the next thirty weeks – the flat mates! So as a wise old third year what wisdom and guidance can I offer the fresh of 2009/2010? Well let’s see what I can do.
Having moved your car load of stuff into your new room, waved the parents off and returned from a quick trip to Costcutters to get a few bits and bobs to ensure that you will not starve in your first week. (Note: get your tissues ready for Freshers’ flu!) It’s important to leave your bedroom door open as you potter. Other fellow students will see your light and before you know it you’ll be getting to know the people that you live with.
However Rule One: NEVER FEAR. When you rock up to halls and your neighbour tells you he loves ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and that’s really not you, don’t run to your room and tremble with shock. Ringing your already teary mother and begging her to come back will not help! More often than not, ten minutes later, you’ll meet someone that you end up being friends with for the rest of your university experience. Mr. ‘Dungeon’s and Dragons’ may actually come through for you too.
After your first night out as a fresher it is important to take the vow of Facebook. Are you face-stalking me? Get used to it because you will spend hours accepting and making friend requests. Searching for the person that has randomly cropped in one of your photographs from what looks like the night of your life, the pair of you embracing like long lost brothers or something along those lines. You will be making events and accepting invitations! Therefore Rule Two: Facebook for you is no longer the evil face of procrastination, (that comes later on in the term when the essays kick in) it is now your web network of loveliness of your currently new lifestyle in Warwick.
Rule Three: Be sure to check out Warwick’s Student Union website for up and coming events. It may be worth having a browse through the societies or sports pages before the fairs; this way if you spot something you are interested in, then you can pop along to the designated table and get straight down to questions and queries!
Freshers’ fairs are not just about the free sweets! Joining a society or a team is a great way to meet people and get actively involved in the university. As tempting, however, as it is to sign up for everything, a word of advice – Don’t. Try it, see if you like it, and then become a member…Otherwise before you know it you’re a member of Street Vibe, EQHO, The Shakespeare Society, English soc, Afro-Caribbean society, food and drink and many, many more …. And it’s just too many emails, too many events, not enough time!
Ready! (Rule Four) steady, try-to-cook! The simple things that you thought you would never do – like put knives in toasters, burning pasta whilst boiling it in water or as someone in my halls did, use the microwave as a timer thus cooking the microwave and the microwave alone – you will do these things, but you will also learn! Cooking in groups is easier, cheaper and fun. You could be a living master chef and not even know it yet! I think the strangest meal I ate in Fresher’s fortnight was pâté, pasta and cheese all sort of rolled together. It looked like vomit. Once you’ve made your worst you know you’re good to go.
Never ever have I ever eaten snails, never ever have I ever kissed more than three people in one night, never ever have I ever had sex in a supermarket?! Some people cringe at the thought of playing this game, but after a round of ‘Ring of fire’ in your kitchen or a great night in the union, these late night chats and games help to break any potential tension and whether it’s the horrid or the humorous, it makes for great jokes. You’ll view your next door neighbour in a new light, bonded through sharing too much information. Rule Five: games will be responsible for the ultimate memorable moments and brilliant blushing!
Rule Six: Hang onto your knickers and boxers! Freshers’ fortnight is traditionally the hunt for fresh meat; that third year, first team rugby union player or second year hockey lass may seem pretty charming in the light of one too many purples at Top B. But the next day you might wake up and oh dear; the hangover will be no cure. Be careful with the neighbours too; many hook up in the first week and it may appear like love at first sight! But trust me, by the end of week five you’ll be desperate to get to reading week just to not have to see them every single day.
Rule Seven: Buy a Warwick hoodie! Not only will it have pride of place on the train home, it will also serve you well when you have a five minute dash from bed to lecture and you wish to disguise those best loved pyjamas. In two weeks time when you have run out of clean clothes, the hoodie will be the new found friend.
Finally, Rule Eight: maybe you were once the school geek or the school jock, but nobody knows or cares when you start university. If you’re feeling shy, scared and instantly homesick, really try and throw yourself into the noise, because you can guarantee that the most talkative, loudest person in the room is as terrified as you are! The best thing about university is that it isn’t like school; it’s one big fantastic mix of cultures, personalities and ideas, which alone is pretty darn exhilarating.
The ultimate message to the hungry awaiting fresh is to really take the bull by the horns and enjoy it! Approach the whole experience of Freshers’ Fortnight with an open mind, work that sexy new freshers’ t-shirt, down that pint of purple, shake your booty to the cheese and you’ll end up having a lorra, lorra laughs! Good luck, Bring on Freshers’ Fortnight 2009!