Freshers’ Week is over but the majority of you are facing four years of education. Is it all downhill from here or is this the start of something special?
“Freshers’ Week is the best time you’ll have at university.”
We hype the ever living shit out of Freshers’ Week because, for most people, the idea of a week-long party filled with events from pub quizzes and pool tournaments to gigs and foam parties is unmissable. If you’re a school-leaver, wide-eyed and 18 in particular, alcohol and pulsing lights are thrust upon you from the moment you walk through the doors of either of our unions while you chant “here we, here we, here we fuckin’ go.”
And it’s great. Of course it’s great. The Freshers’ Pass is remarkably cheap when you consider the amount of events it gets you into. It’s no surprise people jump in with both feet and don’t sober up until the day before classes start…or maybe a bit later.
But is it really the best time you’ll have at university? You worked your ass off to get here. Maybe you got incredible grades at school, or you’ve been through further education, or you’re returning to the classroom after a long absence – is the best part really going to be the lost voice at the end of Freshers’ Week?
In a way, the memories mean the most. If you’re lucky enough to meet future flatmates during the week (or, y’know, future husbands and wives), you can look back at that time you met each other during the Gay Gordons at the Freshers’ Ball.
Maybe you’ll join a society or a committee which defines your time at university. They are all over campus, virtually peacocking at you to come to their meetings. You’ll think back to the first time you were PR’d by them, or when you went to their first social.
Freshers’ Week is a fraction of your time spent here. You have so much to look forward to.
If you want more of Freshers’ Week, you can always apply to be a helper next year. The army of red t-shirts you’ve seen all week are people who not only want to help, but want to have that experience all over again of sleeping very little and dancing excessively. The emphasis is on helping, making sure that everyone arriving at the University of Glasgow has the best week possible, and being incredibly run off your feet – but you get to live it again, sharing your experiences and telling freshers how to make the most of it.
It’s week one of your first year where the excitement happens though. Your classes begin, you see the faces you’ll be sharing lecture theatres with for years, and you’ll build a familiarity with your lecturers. You’re finally studying a degree you’re passionate about at an excellent university – for some, it’s the first time they will actively enjoy education.
Certain schools at the university offer you the chance to take three different subjects. This is invaluable, so use it wisely. You may think you want to study English Literature, it may have said English Literature on your UCAS application, but if you end up preferring one of your other classes, you can switch. Have fun too though – take Exploring the Cosmos even if you’re a History of Art student because exploring the fucking cosmos.
Committees and societies around the university (and particularly in the QMU…) are small communities where you’ll meet people from all years and all degree courses. In my own experience, these are the people you will take with you past graduation and into that other part of life we students don’t talk about. There is a mutual interest that initially brings you together, and through that passion friendships are built which lead to many sleepless nights and experiences that nowhere other than university can provide.
All through school there were worries about social standing, about classes you begrudgingly attended, and how to make your drab uniform look somewhat chic. To adults, Mean Girls is a comedy – to those just out of school, it’s a documentary you recently escaped. There’s none of that here.
No one cares if you’re a virgin, or if you have an emo fringe, or if you’d rather study than go out, or if you don’t drink alcohol. No one will force you to do P.E. (when all you really wanted to be doing was hang out at the music department…) – you study what you want to study. Rather obviously, there’s no uniform. Trackies are just as acceptable as heels.
That’s the exciting part. There is an expanse ahead of you that is full of opportunity without judgement. For those of you just out of school, there is nothing like this feeling. You decide what happens next. If you want to come to Magic every Friday to get pissed and relive the loudest nights of Freshers’ Week, do it. If you don’t go out again, you’ll find something else. You’ll find people, societies, committees, communities – all things that shape your time at the University of Glasgow. Freshers’ Week is the first chapter of a very large book that you’re the author of. Get out there and make this campus your canvas.
[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]