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All summer you have been waiting for freshers’ week. You have even been waiting for freshers’ week since A-Level exam season. Sick of familiar faces and ready for change, you romanticise the idea of joining new societies, living by yourself and having new experiences. You spend time choosing new cutlery, you load up the car, say goodbye to your hometown and make the journey to university. One thought will linger in your mind. Will fresher’s week live up to the hype?
Most freshers will have asked themselves this same question. I know I did. For weeks people tell you it is a time full of drinking with strangers that feel like instant best friends. They reminisce how ‘it will be the making of you’. UKC put almost everything in place to make this happen.
The University Freshers’ Fayre was a bustle of shouted slogans, free food and people politely telling the Domino’s guy they do not need another massive paper bag. Events were happening at Venue and in Canterbury every night. Day-time activities were happening alongside the late-night events if boozing was not your cup of tea. It could not have been easier to find friendly, like-minded people than in those first five days of freshers. Find being the crucial word.
Welcome week was like one big obstacle course in finding ‘the hype’. That is the part people leave out. It is about getting out of bed, hungover and anxious, and going to your introductory talks. It is about staying up until 2 am playing Twister with people you hardly know and getting lost around campus at least twice a day. In these ways, and more, you can find the things that make fresher’s week worth it.
Looking back on what I thought freshers’ week would be like, and the experiences shared by others, perhaps it did not live up to the hype. That ‘hype’ was overtly simple, based on rose-tinted stories and my persistent optimism. I was more homesick than I had anticipated, found meeting people more tiring than I thought it would. Nevertheless, fresher’s week taught me so much. I had to work for it. It taught me there is no harm in asking. There is no shame in feeling lonely. Sometimes being late is the best way to make friends – banding together, desperately trying to find your way around Rutherford.
It was an imperfect, completely exhausting whirlwind of a week. It forced me to push boundaries, overcome fears, and I had the best time because of that. It lived up to the hype in an entirely different way. A way I did not know it needed it to.