Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Freshers' Flu Blues?

So Freshers Week is upon us once again, and for many of Manchester’s first year students this weeklong cycle of drinking, dancing and Popolino’s pizzas will give birth to numerous anecdotes: “Do you remember that time in Freshers when…?” But for some students however, Freshers’ Week, like many other highly anticipated social events (I’m looking at you New Year’s Eve) may fail to live up to such high expectations.

Before going to university you may have heard epic tales of drunken debauchery involving traffic cones and sprained ankles, but it’s very likely that no-one ever told you that at some point during your first week you will find yourself crying in the toilets of some club with a girl who you’ve just met over how you miss your friends from college and how great they are and how you only just broke up with your boyfriend because you’re going to uni and it just wasn’t going to work anymore. This. is. normal. And inevitable. Moving to a completely new city away from your parents and friends is hard, no matter how easy some people make it look. Think about it, when was the last time you had to create a whole new social circle from scratch? If you’ve carried the same friends through both primary and secondary school and then to sixth form, you’ve probably never been in this sort of situation before AND been away from home. Of course this can be the best thing about university, you can be whoever you want to be and ‘start again’ in a sense, but it can also be the worst thing about university and it’s something many people struggle with.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘everyone’s in the same boat’ one too many times from friends and relatives as you slowly pack away all of your belongings and say your goodbyes, but it is true, despite the fact that it may seem like everyone else is on the party boat whilst you look on from the shoreline. If it feels like you’re sat in your room watching iPlayer whilst everyone else is out enjoying themselves, then do something about it. Get involved: suggest going to the pub after a seminar, join a society, invite people round to your halls for DVDs, add people on Facebook. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself and don’t suffer in silence.

If you’re finding it particularly hard to settle in to university life, then talk to someone. Most universities have great support systems in place for first years. Contact your personal tutor, or one of your seminar leaders. If you have a 2nd or 3rd year mentor, talk to them - they’re great at helping out with questions you might not want to talk to a tutor about. Your union should also be able to give you some help and advice. They most likely have a range of contact options available so check their website or read through all the pieces of paper you’ve been handed at Freshers Fair. You could also contact Nightline, which is a confidential listening service run by students for students if you don’t feel comfortable approaching anyone.

Your first few weeks at university can be amazing, but they can also be pretty overwhelming at times. The best thing to do is to realise this and accept it, and ask for help if you need it. Yes, you’ll miss the group of friends that you had at school, and yes, there’ll be times when you’ll wish that your flatmate would flush the toilet just this once, but despite all of this you’ll make some equally amazing uni friends and some equally amazing memories. With your own traffic cone to boot. 

(me and @jack_efc having an ace time in first year)
(yes, I shouldn't have dressed up as a geisha as it's part of Japanese culture and not a fancy dress costume, but I was a naive first year...)


  1. Now I'm all nostalgic for fresher's again, even though it was only 2 years ago for me it feels like so long ago! (: I definitely went through half of the emotions you mentioned although now I don't know why I worried since most of my friends at home forgot about me and my uni friends are the ones I can always rely on (: xx

    1. 'There's no greater nostalgia than the nostalgia for that which never was.' Which I interpret as meaning you imagine the past to have been better than it actually was. Some parts of Freshers was pretty ace, but some of it was also pretty rubbish too. Just like life I guess, haha!

      Aww that's sad, but good to know that your uni friends can be relied on! I've seen that happen with a lot of people, where they've drifted apart from their friends from home. I'm lucky, as I seem to have a good mix of the two and try and keep in contact with everyone :) Although I often find that sometimes I'm the one putting all of the effort in... :/


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