Three years ago, when I was where some of you are now, a newbie at the University of Warwick, the words ‘Freshers’ Fortnight’ struck fear in my heart. I read about this and that party on the Warwick SU website, watched others in the Freshers’ Facebook group discuss which events they were most looking forward to… but I just couldn’t feel the same enthusiasm.
Despite not really wanting to, I was positioned at my computer on the day tickets went on sale, and underwent the continual page-refreshing ordeal to purchase passes to the ‘biggest’ and most ‘wild’ events of the year. After all, that’s what Freshers’ is all about, right?
Wrong. Freshers’ is about whatever you want it to be about. True, there are a range of exciting events put on so you can enjoy yourself and meet new people, which are two things university is a great place for. But not everyone has the same idea of fun; so if the big nights out, free flowing drinks and loud music are not your thing, rest assured that you will find plenty of opportunities to do things you actually like. Societies will organise their own gatherings and there will be a whole range of other events both on- and off-campus throughout the year.
Not everyone has the same tastes, and considering the sheer number of people at university, it’s not unlikely that you’ll meet someone similar to you.
It seems like common sense, but I wish someone had told me that I didn’t have to attend any of the Freshers’ events just because they were advertised to first years. At the time I felt as if I might alienate myself from others if I didn’t pretend to look forward to things they were genuinely excited about. However, I didn’t know that there were others like me, who preferred alternative options to the biggest Freshers’ parties. Not everyone has the same tastes, and considering the sheer number of people at university, it’s not unlikely that you’ll meet someone similar to you.
If you’re happy enough to try out what Freshers’ has to offer, but are feeling nervous about the particulars, there are a few tips and tricks to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. One thing that helped me try new things was not going through it alone. I tagged along with some flat-mates, or with people I met at Orientation. I also joined the general freshers’ group and the group specific to my course, where I spoke to people and asked them what events they were planning to attend. Try and strike up conversations like this whenever you can — start small if you feel nervous. Reach out to someone you’ve been chatting to on the freshers’ group, approach that one person sitting alone at lunch, or someone in the flat next to yours. You never know whom you might find — I only met two of my friends in my third year even though we lived in the same halls as freshers, just because we never ventured over to the next flat.
Remember: Freshers’ is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable occasion, so do yourself a favour and make it one.
It is also important to make sure that you’re comfortable with whatever is planned, and, if you feel pushed too far, know that there is no shame in leaving early.
If you are wiling to, I would encourage you to try any of the events that seem even the least bit interesting to you. University is the time to expand your horizons, after all. Say ‘yes’ to new experiences from time to time, but know your limits. And above all, do what makes you happy. University comes with enough pressures without you shouldering unnecessary ones. Remember: Freshers’ is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable occasion, so do yourself a favour and make it one.