It's your first foray into adult life and, as every fresher up and down the country knows, it ain't gonna be easy. Here are the eight things every fresher needs to know.
1) There will be other fun in your life, beyond this term. I mean, not loads of it. And you’ll never have booze that cheap or hair that shiny or standards that low again. But there will be other fun, it doesn’t all dry up at 19 – so don’t feel you’ve got to consume every bit of fun on offer now, like it’s an all you can eat buffet and they’ve just refreshed the prawn toasts. There will be dinner parties, and office dos in your future. Sometimes strangers will fall over in the street. See, fun!
2) Seek out your own kind. During my first week at uni, I sacked off a fresher’s party to watch a Fawlty Towers DVD in someone’s bedroom with a group of other alternative thrill-seekers. Those people are still my friends now.
3) It’s ok to make temporary friends. Really. Everyone does it. I mean, on the moral barometer it won’t put you up there between Mother Theresa and Aslan, but making a few emergency pals as human buffers and then ditching them two weeks in when you discover they’re really into KT Tunstall and making their own yoghurt is just a natural defense tactic. Nobody will hold it against you. Except maybe whatshisname and thingumebob.
4) It’s good to make friends with some rich kids. University is all about expanding your horizons, and discovering the diverse world beyond your doorstep. For me, as for many students, this meant associating with rich people for the first time. Not family-gets-an-Ocado-delivery rich, but seriously rich. Doesn’t-have-a-student-loan rich. Daddy-owns-most-of-Wiltshire rich. It was fascinating. Because underneath all the cashmere and acres of glossy hair, they’re really just like us – and nothing proves that more effectively than watching them puke into their own Mulberry bag at the counter of a Chicken Cottage.
5) Don’t buy all the books. Don’t even buy most of the books. Because there’s this wonderful thing called a library, and another wonderful thing called ‘pretending you’ve read them’. Sadly it took me until halfway through my second year to discover the first, but I cottoned on to the second almost immediately.
6) You will either get fatter, or thinner. But most likely the first one.
7) Man cannot live on instant noodles alone. But if you throw in some sweet chilli sauce and a mushroom every now and again, you’re golden. Or you could do what I did, and embrace culinary independence by branching out with your eating in new and exciting ways. I became addicted to peppered mackerel fillets from Tesco. I discovered falafel. I invented ‘pstub’, the official fourth meal of the day. I once spread ketchup on some rye bread, just to see.
8) Create a fun fresher persona. To this day, we still fondly remember Embryology Pete. I couldn’t tell you who he was, how he was significant in our lives or what he’s doing now, but that’s not important. He was Embryology Pete! EMBRYOLOGY PETE. Legend.