Years of anticipating, dreaming, waiting. Months of hoping, stressing, panicking. Weeks of planning, packing, shopping. But can anything prepare you for your first week at university? I don’t think so.
Manchester is big. I already knew that. Well, I thought I knew that; and then I had to find a supermarket, and a bus route, and a bank etc etc. And being in such an overwhelmingly large city seems to do nothing but diminish your significance and at risk of sounding disgustingly cliché: makes you feel like a drop in the ocean.
But flatmates are saviours. Knowing that there were four other confused and nervous freshers just a few feet away from me helped me to feel slightly less pathetic and a little less invisible. And all those fears of being confined to a small space with complete strangers washed away when I ticked off my three main concerns: they were normal (yes, by my subjective definition); they were chatty and; they were as averagely clean and tidy as me. Well that was only about three nights sleep wasted tossing and turning.
And then came the fresher’s events. Top tip here for any up and coming students: do not, I repeat DO NOT, buy a student union fresher’s wristband. That is £40 you will not make back that could pay for a week’s worth of food. While I sympathise with the SU’s great efforts to put on great events, the truth is, people just don’t want to go. There are just too many clubs littering Manchester to entice eager first years who have never had more than 2 options in their grotty home towns. 7 nights + God only knows how many clubs = impressibly bad sleep deprivation. And that is if you don’t drink very much. The poor suckers who drink til they can’t see probably met their overdraft, and their stomach linings a bit sooner than they had hoped.
I realise I am beginning to sound quite negative. Truth is, freshers is great. New people mean new possibilities. You wanna be an Italian masters student studying international law that models at weekends? You go for it! Who will know otherwise? Okay, extreme I know but my point is there are no embarrassing stories, no time-keeping parents and no responsibilities to hold you back.
Oh and top tip number two coming up: maybe pass up on that bar crawl – you have a 9am lecture in the morning. No really, it’s not worth it. I know you bought a ticket and I know loads of people are going but seriously, don’t.