The Williams-Brice stadium, home to the USC Gamecocks

Fresh vs. Frosh: A guide to US freshers

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Freshers, right now you might be sitting in your new room, wondering what exactly is going to happen over the next few days, and wishing that you hadn’t been quite so quick to say goodbye to your family, as you now know no-one within a hundred mile radius.

However, give it two weeks and you will have experienced multiple nights out battling with the sticky floors of the Copper Rooms, the random group of strangers sharing your kitchen will have become your closest confidantes regarding said nights out, and juggling remembering everyone’s names and remembering what room your next lecture is in will be getting slightly easier.

The first few weeks at most English universities typically revolve around drinking games and introductory lectures. Freshers Fortnight always ends with a bang at Warwick, and this year it’s concluding with a Las Vegas themed party. Although I can’t comment on school in Sin City, I can offer an insight into life at the University of South Carolina, where I’m spending my third year. So, if you’re considering studying in the States and are curious to know what’s different, here are some things to look out for…

Freshers Fortnight

Warwick: Paint parties, X-rated hypnotists (watch out for that one) and three-legged bar crawls. Taking the U1 to the mysterious depths of Leam for a night out. Experiencing the horrors and wonders of Smack’s downstairs room for the first time.

USC: Free food. Room decoration workshops. Free food. Pyjama Parties. Free food. BYOB ice cream social, with the B standing for banana. Multiple church organised barbeques. Free food. You may think that the food aspect is getting repetitive, but we managed to spend nothing on food for the first week and a half so it deserves multiple mentions.

Classes

Warwick: First two weeks are pretty light. You can usually get by in first year with minimal reading and maximum cramming.

USC: Ten classes a week. Reading for every class. Hundreds of dollars you thought you would be spending on Krispy Kremes and plane tickets being spent on books. Pop quizzes, multiple choice tests and midterms so no possibility of end-of-year overnight cramming sessions. On the plus side, attending university events (free food!) gets you extra credit.

Sports

Warwick: Apart from Varsity season, sport matches are only really relevant if you’re the one actually playing in the match.

USC: Game days are the most important days of the year. American football is a way of life here in the South and everything at the university revolves around its football team, the Gamecocks. The stadium holds over 80,000 and is sold out for every home match. Games are an all-day event with families and students going to ‘tailgate’ (drink and have barbeques out the back of their giant SUVs) before the match .Giant inflatables of Cocky (the mascot – a big red chicken) are everywhere. Go Cocks!

Rooms

Warwick: Fairy lights. Band posters and photo prints. Shelves decorated with empty vodka bottles. Tidy for first two days and then never tidy again. Small.

USC: Roommate. Gamecocks memorabilia. A bed so high off the ground you have to run and jump to get onto it. Smaller.

Clothing

Warwick: Good days and bad days. Not unusual to see someone turn up to a lecture in a pretty dress, but jogging bottoms/hoodie combinations are equally common.

USC: Norts (Nike shorts). Fluorescent trainers. T-shirt professing your love for USC (my personal favourite simply says ‘COCKS’ in big letters.) Rucksack. This combination is the official uniform of USC. If you’re in a fraternity or a sorority then have your Greek letters on you somewhere at all times.

Food

Warwick: Begin with good intentions of cooking from the student cookbook your Gran bought you. Realise how far it is to hike to Tesco and how impossible it is to beat the magnetised trolley system. Give in to a life of cereal, frozen food and takeaways.

USC: Realise that the walk to Tesco was nothing. Walk for 40 minutes to the nearest supermarket in 30 degree heat. Buy way too much and almost perish on the walk back. Give in to a life of cereal, frozen food and eating out because it’s affordable to do that here. Probably return home next year obese.
Students

Warwick: From all over the world. A full spectrum of beliefs and opinions. Ambitious. Outgoing. Kind. Quite possibly the people you are going to be friends with for the rest of your life.

USC: Much the same as Warwick – a diverse range of people, and a wonderful place to make friends for life.

Flo Page is a third year ‘History, Literature and Culture of the Americas’ student, a course which includes an integral year abroad spent in South America, Canada, the Caribbean or the USA.

For more information, please see warwick.ac.uk/cas

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