According to the holy grail that is ‘Urban Dictionary’, Fresher’s are people “known for their love of having a good time”, according to the god-father of the internet (Google), it means “not salty” – whilst it could be debated both hold snippets of the truth, I’ve decided this particular post of mine will provide you a full and frank introduction to what it really means to be a ‘Fresher’. Worts an’ all.
A Fresher is a British slang-term for someone new to University (i.e. a first year) and are most notoriously known for their antics during what is termed ‘Freshers’ (a ‘festival’ of sorts, hosted by the University’s Student Union, typically held upon the first week of arrival). The University of Leicester, however, decided that one week of partying, drinking a few too many cocktails and (for the ladies) destroying your feet via the wearing of heels simply was not enough, thus, myself and fellow Freshers were treated to two weeks of absolute madness. Madness, and far too many late night orderings of Domino’s pizza. The most famous, and undoubtedly most popular night at Leicester and Universities across the UK is that of the ‘School Disco’ party; because nothing says we are now mature, fully-functioning adults like wearing a uniform we wore with disgust when aged 12-16. Another personal favourite of mine was the student accommodation Bar Crawl – the wonderful thing about the student accommodation at the University of Leicester is that students typically reside in the ‘student village’ in Oadby and are immediately met with an overwhelming sense of community. Admittedly, living a hefty walk/bus ride away from the University wasn’t the most pleasant of thoughts when I learnt of the accommodating situation within Leicester, but within a few days of arriving in Oadby, I realised I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It’s not just that Oadby is an incredibly picturesque and beautiful village, but that it provides the students with a ‘get-away’ from the busy life they lead at University and most importantly, enables students to meet in a relaxed, stress-free environment. The student accommodation bar crawl is, without doubt, another excellent add-on to life in Oadby, as you can identify other students living within the same quarters of accommodation as you via. the colour of the t-shirt and BAM, you become pals, on a foundation of cheap beer, living quarters and the colour of your t-shirt.
Another less glamorous aspect which comes with being a Fresher, is the deadly, and notorious ‘Fresher’s Flu’ *enters groan of previous victims of the incessant F.F.* In the weeks leading up to my arrival at University, I was warned by knowledgeable friends already struck-down by F.F. that it is a major pain in the butt – myself, being a bit of a clean freak and fitness fanatic, was very sceptical of this so-called ‘student slayer’ and chortled (yes, chortled), when my mum, clutching arms full of paracetamol and cough syrup, emptied what looked like evidence from a robbery of a Pharmacy into my suitcase. However, after one week of far too many games of ‘ring of fire’ and botched attempts at cooking raw-chicken, I was pulling apart my room in search of the former mentioned paracetamol and cough syrup. I was struck. But if I thought I had it bad, the following week of lectures soon silenced any feeble comments of ‘my head hurts’ – the most poignant moment would be when one brave individual would let out a very suppressed cough, which would give way to a ‘Mexican-wave’ of sorts of coughing-fits across the lecture hall. Nevertheless, the deadly F.F. only stays for a week at the most, and once it disappears, it’s almost as if it never happened – a mere distant memory of your crazy Fresher’s festival.
Although the partying is understandably the most anticipated factor of being a Fresher, personally it has been a sweet benefactor – my most favoured aspect of Fresher life is the person I’ve discovered within myself since arriving at University. It’s quite strange that, although you notice no sudden changes within your usual self whilst being at University, at the dawn of the Spring Semester, you look back to the blissful summer of 2012 and realise you have changed quite dramatically. My favourite change? My independence. Being a Fresher has taught me about looking out for myself when out and around a rather large city, successfully feeding myself without being poisoned and just generally being a much more self-assured, confident individual. You suddenly realise that the person you become within your first year at University will determine the person you grow into as a ‘real’ adult; I am in control of the person I will become and I am the force behind exactly how I want to live my life, pretty cool, huh!
I will leave you with just a few important tips for future ‘Freshers’;
– Ladies, the days of wearing heels on every single night out will be long gone by the third day and you are, like my flat-mate, dipping your feet into an emptied bin filled with hot water in a crazed attempt to revive feeling within your toes. Flats become your BFFs. You’re still friends with your heels, but you understand they are very demanding and so only go out with them on very special occasions.
– If you don’t know how to make cheese toasties yet, learn. They will become a staple part of your student diet. Fact. (If you’re very lucky and become a Fresher at Leicester, on the opening night of Freshers head straight for the stage and be prepared to wrestle for various cheese-toastie makers given out!)
– Socialise! Everyone is in the same boat as you, and even though you might think you’ll look silly, just say ‘Hello!’ to people – I think the majority of friendships I’ve made since being at University have been the result of me doing so.
– Be safe. Just look out for yourself and others – if you see someone looking worse for wear, pop them into a taxi or inform the lovely security guards spotted all over the O2.
– Have fun. Freshers was one of the best times of my life and I’m sure when I become a 2nd year student, I’ll long for the days of Fresherdom.
So, for those prospective students to come, enjoy! Ditch those worries, anxieties and heels and embrace confidence, cheese-toastie makers, dominos pizza and flat shoes!
“This transition isn’t about becoming someone better, but about finally allowing yourself to become who you’ve always been.”