The best things in life are borne out of honesty, so let’s be frank: Freshers’ Week is a train wreck.
That doesn’t mean it’s not spectacular! It just requires a certain cocktail of self-care, rationale, and an artillery of painkillers. My own Freshers experience was an emotional atom bomb, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to coach you all through the chaos, big sister style.
1. OPEN YOUR CIRCLE
– Some of us (God’s favourites) were born with outgoing, extroverted personalities, and delight in meeting new people. However, this does not come naturally to most of us. That’s OK – but, in the name of honesty, you’re setting yourself up for a lonely few years if you start them by holing up in your room. There’s so many ways to get your foot in the door: sign up for all the clubs that tickle your peach at the Freshers’ Fair; get the numbers of people in your favourite class; if you’re in halls and aren’t clicking with the people on your floor, try the floor above! I know someone who met his second-year flatmates by telling a girl in Beer Bar that he liked her hair. Somewhere in this absurdly colossal university are your people.
2. REST, DAMMIT!
– Freshers’ Week may be physically exhausting, but the mental drainage is equally demanding. There is an art to all this, people. The trick is not to burn out. Sleep whenever you can, eat well, and take some time for yourself. My Freshers would have gone a lot smoother if I hadn’t been in a constant state of hangry, sleep-deprivation-fuelled, belligerent hangover. There are some lovely walks through Kelvingrove Park, along the river, and on-campus that lend themselves perfectly to peaceful me-time.
3. CLICHÉ INCOMING: IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK.
– A lot of people struggle when starting University, and no-one bloody talks about it. It can be lonely if you’re not great at putting yourself out there, and it can be a shock to the system to find out how hard it actually is to take care of yourself, especially if you’re moving away from home for the first time. However, the University has counselling services you can access once you’ve signed up to a GP, a nightline to call if you find yourself in distress (you’ll find posters advertising this in all campus buildings), and a host of advisors to help you cope at the end of an email. If you’re struggling with the workload, explain your situation to your tutors; it’s better to be direct than risk them thinking you simply don’t care. My friends and I have reminisced over our respective Freshers experiences, and we all agree that we would have been better off if we’d been open about our collective loneliness from the beginning. Once this was established, we started routine walks, flat dinners, tag-teaming to the Learning Hub – that was when I started feeling properly settled.
To finish us off, I have some general pearls of wisdom that I can guarantee will have you smooth-sailing into your new life as a freshly-minted UofG student (or your money back).
1. Be a good flatmate. Genuinely. Don’t steal food and don’t pile your dishes in the sink. It will not end well.
2. The Library and the Learning Hub both have hot water dispensers – bring your own teabags, coffee grounds, Hell, even a Pot Noodle, and save some cash (you’ll need it.)
3. Take a couple days off a week. Burning out is just as bad as slacking off, except the former takes longer to recover from. Be kind to yourself.
4. Freshers’ Flu is so real, and it’s a b****. Stock up on paracetamol and Strepsils, only drink from your own cup, and sign up to a GP, just in case.
5. Finally, it’s not that serious. Really. Beginning university is a lot like losing your virginity – a rite of passage, yes, but one that comes with a whole load of cultural and societal baggage. At the end of the day, it’s just a new level unlocked in the video game of life.
Naomi Maeve (she/her)
Creative Writing Editor
Image Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/468374430000812056/