I have officially finished my first year at University, waved goodbye to my little hovel in the beautiful grounds of Oadby, packed up what felt like my life’s contents and moved back to the countryside for three months. How. Very. Bizarre.
If you had told the very eager, bushy-tailed and bright-eyed Amy-Rose nine months ago as she made her way for Leicestershire (buried under boxes squished into the car by Super Dad) that it would fly by, I’ve no doubt I would have rolled my eyes at the sentiment and wondered how on earth nine very exciting and new months of my life could go so fast. I would have been wrong…
“Where has time gone?!” I muttered to myself in disbelief as I closed and locked Room 13 Block HH’s door for the last time, (*sniff sniff*) and walked out of Bowder Court after saying goodbye to the most lovely, kind and quite frankly, hilarious people I’ve met since being at University. I took a glance back at my accommodation before hopping into the car and starting my journey home, feeling all of those sentimental feelings I’d have scoffed at just nine months prior. Everything kind of fits into place when you ‘look back’ over a year – all of the ups and downs and the crazy things which have happened are remembered with a warm, fuzzy, Instagram inspired filter (kind of like watching an episode of Made In Chelsea). For me, when people told me that High School would be ‘the best years of my life’, it just seemed like the worst thing ever (who could possibly class turning into a hormonal, spot-infested and awkward teenager as the ‘best’ years of their life, in any sense of the word?!), but as soon as I looked back up at my little squared window and remembered how fun and exciting my year had been, it kind of ‘fitted’ into place in my mind. For me, and so many other people, University is the place you really work out who you are and where your life is going to take you, just as High School had been for those before me.
There have been so many amazing and funny memories made during Freshers and throughout the year that it would be impossible to re-tell and reminisce about all of them, so here are a few favourites and the main events and nights which every Freshers experiences!
Firstly, at your so to speak ‘beginning’ of Fresherdom, you will experience a widely loved and appreciated student ritual – the bar crawl. Most major nights at University centres itself around the mention of the infamous bar crawl and you will most likely have experienced, or are going to experience the delights of it one day soon! My first ever bar crawl was that of the ‘Battle of the Uni Halls’ night and it was my second favourite event of the Fresher Festival (1st prize going to S Club 3 (I think there were three of them anyhow)) simply because you were able to meet so many people and make so many friends who lived near or around you in a really relaxed, fun and chilled-out atmosphere! Everyone was lovely, talkative and just as happy as you to make friends. It was great.
Secondly, arguably the biggest night out or event for students is that of Halloween – it is, without doubt, one of the funniest nights out simply because of the variety in outfits! If there is one thing students know how to do on a budget, it is to dress up. As a Fresher, you’re going to need to either a) have a very extensive box of fancy-dress, or b) be incredibly creative with a bin-bag or a roll of toilet paper.
Finally, one of my favourite memories of my first year at University was that of Bonfire Night. Myself and some pals went on an adventure to find a fireworks display, walking across half of the city before eventually stumbling into the biggest firework display I have ever seen! I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the park we ended up at, but it was huge and packed full of so many people. It was great to feel involved in something local and see a really spectacular firework display at the same time. Also, the freshly made doughnuts went down a treat!
To round off my final farewell to Fresherdom, I’d just like to say to any potential Freshers, especially those at the University of Leicester, don’t hold back. Put yourself 110% into the experience – no just dipping your toes into the water, dive straight in and go with the flow (*doesn’t apply to the swimming facilities – sidenote; you may be asked to leave if you start dive-bombing!). Try your hardest to push aside those feeling of anxiety and worry – you’ll be great. One of my rules for life is that your life is your attitude, and so long as you go into this whole experience with positivity, you’ll be okilly dokilly, I promise.
Here are a few words of advice and tips from some of the cool folk I’ve met over the last year;
“Get involved with everything you can. Don’t say the word ‘no’ in Freshers!” – Laura.
“If you find yourself in undesirable accommodation, don’t panic! Get yourself out there and go to as many pre-drink parties as possible. Don’t be afraid to say ‘hello’ to strangers in those first few weeks.” – Kate.
“If you’re living in Oadby, the year bus pass is essential. Also, be aware that making the journey to University on a busy morning whilst hungover or tired should be avoided at all costs.” – Lucy.
“Bring a bike!” – Lydia.
“Be yourself. You will always find someone exactly the same as you and make loads of friends, as you’re all in the same boat.” – Beth.
“You probably won’t need to buy the Freshers wristband unless you plan on going to an event every night for two weeks.” – Kate.
“Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry, or you will buy EVERYTHING in ASDA.” – Beth.
“Don’t be worried if it all feels quite overwhelming. Chances are everyone is feeling, or has felt the same way as you at some point of another throughout their first year. Also, use your personal Tutor! It’s what they’re there for.” – Monica.
“Make the most of it regarding everything. Good balance of making friends, spending money, passing modules and eating good food so that you can really get the best out of the year. It flies by, so enjoy it!” – Sara.
“Get involved! It can be anything! Sports, fitness classes, charity work, anything! Do something so that when you finish your degree, it’s not just a ‘bog standard qualification’… you’ll need that little bit extra. It also helps you make friends quicker too!” – Melissa.