So that time of year has come round again. Questionable posters, carefully chosen to reaffirm your coolness, have been rolled and packed, wistful adults are gazing down at you from behind piles of mortgage repayments and overdue bills sighing as they inform you that you are about to embark on the ‘best days of your life’, and in some dingy flat lecherous second years are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of fresh meat.

But be warned, dear first year, freshers week is one of the most atrocious ordeals of your young adult life. University is great, and has a habit of getting greater as times goes on, but freshers week is a baptism of fire. No exaggeration. You arrive in your halls, watch as your parents drive off into the distance and the realisation hits you that you are about to spend a year sharing cramped living space with a variety of strangers. This seemed exciting, now as you look at your housemates, it’s terrifying. What if they have a heavy metal fetish? Is that a thing? The mad friend rush begins, everyone suddenly transforming into a Finding Nemo seagull staggering round emitting squawks of ‘Friend? Friend?’ at passers by.

That guy you bumped into while having a cigarette outside who spent fifteen minutes talking to you about bronies, clearly a friend for life; the girl in the flat next to you who you caught surreptitiously smuggling a paddle and handcuffs into her room, obviously best friend material. You barely know these people, but you haven’t had to make new friends since you were 13 and the process is slightly lost on you.Unfortunately, you’ll never see the bronie guy again except once skulking around Sainsburys in a fedora and the girl next door will only be known to you by the books falling off your shelf and alarming whipping sounds on a Saturday night. Freshers friends are generally makeshift friends, you’ve all found yourself stranded in a strange city, parentless and free for the first time and it’s inevitable that you will latch onto each other as you struggle to find your feet. Sometimes they stick, and that’s okay too; having friends nearby is always great.

The week dissolves into a blur of Tescos basic vodka and endless games of ‘never have I ever’. You didn’t want to know about everyone’s sex lives but hey, now you do. You will inevitably find yourself in the worst club known to humanity, watching the one who looks like a potato from Made in Chelsea attempt to DJ, drunk people crooning over them. Paralytically drunk you attempt to coordinate a dance to Nikki Minaj ‘starships’ with a stranger, all the while assuring yourself and others around you that of course you’re having a great time, you’re the life and soul of the goddam party, better snapchat it so you friends at other unis know all the fun you’re having.

Eventually things will mellow out. The accumulative hangover will hit and you will become disenchanted with your adopted friends and start to meet people that you have actual things in common with. You will never return to the worst club in humanity instead branching out to nights you actually enjoy and finally start to settle down. Freshers week is a manic rush of confusion, names learnt and forgotten, alcohol consumed and violently ejected over the back seat of taxis, memories made and embarrassments kept in storage for some future therapist. You’ll come out the end a hungover shadow of your former self, probably call your mum, calm down, and get on with the serious business of enjoying University life beyond the ordeal of freshers week. Good luck little one, you’re going to be fine…just don’t trip down the stairs when you enter a lecture late.

Illustration: Sophia Maria

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