The First Term of University: My Experiences and What Goes On
The day of arrival can be a nervous one! The long drive away from home with my whole life packed in the boot of my car, the back seat, and on my lap. A mixture of excitement and nervousness for the whole journey.
After the four hour trip we reach the city, hundreds and hundreds of cars similarly filled to the brim with cooking utensils, sports kit, and pillows. We are greeted by shouting and cheering student reps and directed to my accommodation. We park outside and fetch the keys to my new room.
It wasn't long before I had unpacked my belongings and organized my room before my parents left me to fend for myself in this foreign place that I would call home for the year.
The first week after arriving called 'Freshers Week' was the single best week of my life so far!
I initially was fairly nervous. Would I fit in? Would I make lots of friends? Would I even enjoy it?
There seems to be a lot of pressure on students now-a-days to absolutely love Freshers week, and if you don't there's something wrong with you. However I can assure you that this is not the case. There are a surprising amount of people who hate this week of heavy drinking, sex and hangovers! And everyone understands that it's not for everyone.
That being said, I loved it! There were about 10 'Freps' who were 2nd year students who spent the week organizing events, getting everyone involved, and looking after everyone. They were brilliant!
Every single night was a drunken mess of 80's costumes and togas. Meeting all these new people in this brilliant city was a great experience.
The amount of drinking I did that week was shocking, and it hasn't got any less in the 11 weeks that I've been there. Turns out Freshers Week tends to extend a whole year where your academic work doesn't count and so no one seems to care when you rock up to your 9AM lecture still absolutely bladdered who whether you don't pitch at all!
Sports and Societies
At Uni there are loads and loads of societies to get involved with. During Freshers week there are various Fayres where societies advertise themselves, you go around adding yourself to hundreds of mailing lists which you decide in two weeks time to unsubscribe from since you realise you simply don't have time to attend (or you're not as interested in starting Thai Kickboxing as you originally thought you were).
I joined the rugby club, cricket, mixed lacrosse, big band, football, fishing and probably some more that I've completely forgotten about. And so far I've only had time for lots and lots of rugby, a cricket social, and one game of lacrosse (with a couple of socials thrown in).
The rugby is amazing! Roughly one social every week where the whole squad get totally binned together, chunning is expected (if not compulsory), and cross dressing is frequent. And the initiation was too extreme to write about for now.
Living in a Castle
Yes, a real castle! Yes, Hogwarts was filmed there! And yes, there's a great hall where we eat every meal!
At my university there are individual colleges which on average have about 600 students in each. My college is nicknamed 'Castle'...for obvious reasons.
The great hall has lots of painted portraits or the old masters of the college. Next to the large coat of arms are 20 rifles hung on the wall which are apparently all loaded in case the Scots decide to invade England!
The accommodation in the castle is stunning and is actually a hotel when it isn't term time so as might be guessed, the rooms are beautiful.
The downside of living in a castle is that the college office are extremely up tight about any damage at all which inevitably happens quite often due to the fact that the students are pissed almost 24 hours of the day.
We also have the very best college bar in the whole university where you can get a pint for £1.60!
The college is catered meaning I don't have to spend hours a week shopping, preparing, and cooking food and gives me more time to get drink (and read for my degree).
Food generally is very good in truth although it can be repetitive. Turkey is almost always on offer (the poor man's chicken) and I didn't realise just how many ways you can cook potatoes until I ate college food. Potatoes is assuredly on the menu every single meal of the day, every day of the week, every week of the term!
Seriously, it's basically just potatoes with some meat thrown on the table as well.
How to survive
Throw yourself into the experience!
The one's who don't enjoy uni are the ones who don't get involved in anything they enjoy. No one cares what it is you want to do, no one will judge you. Just join societies you genuinely want to be a part of and meet people who have similar hobbies, tastes and ideas to you.
Enjoy the fact that you have all the freedom you've wanted.
It's the period between strict school and a life of paid work. Enjoy the time you have where you can party hard and enjoy a subject you're interested in.
Don't waste your time! Either socialise or do work. Make the most of all the time you have there. The time goes unbelievably quickly.
The Worst Nightclub in Europe
Overall, uni has so far been the best time of my life! I have met some amazing people, made great friends, and been clubbing in officially the worst nightclub in Europe ('Klute').
The drinks are cheap, the work is engaging, and (importantly) the condoms are free!
I would encourage anyone who is even remotely interested in going to university to go for it and I promise it will be a decision you won't regret!