Preparing for (and enjoying!) University life – a mini series….Part 2

The first few weeks…

Two words.

Freshers. Week.

I had no idea what to expect. Of course, when you have settled in your room and got your internet up and running, you start to get information about events that are taking place. Registrations, welcome seminars, module choices, Societies, clubs, teams to join. So much to do, and only one week in which to do it.

That’s not exactly true – I’ll be honest, I think we had the admin side of stuff nailed on day one of freshers week. I can safely say that, for the rest of the week, we lived like Kings.

Alcoholic Kings.

What happens when you get a floor full of lads, freshly topped up bank accounts (thank you student loan company, although I’d been working prior to starting Uni, so had some excess spending money)?

You have parties, you get ready to go out, and you have more parties.

This was the era of the Pound Party. All the bars on Campus (there’s only one now I think, but in the time I was there, there was Cwrt Mawr, Rosser, and the Student Union), had bottles of beer, or alcopops, for £1 each. Normally topped up with a “6 for £5” offer or something. Every. Single. Night, we went out, and ended up either in Town, or mostly, at the Student Union, for whatever feature night was being put on. I think I became addicted to Orange Reef and Smirnoff Ice, washed down with Stella. A lot of Stella.

It was a key part of the bonding – it wasn’t just the alcohol, but it was meeting new people from new circles. On my floor, were 4 or 5 other computer science students, Law students, English Students, Physics Students, Film & TV students. We had a total mix. It was key to our social group becoming so diverse. Within a few weeks, we had a group of around 25 that would be pretty much inseparable for the duration. Every night during fresher weeks, our group got bigger. I’m sure it’s the same at all Universities, but to me, in Aberystwyth, it just felt special. The people there were all of the same mindset. Fellow Aberystwythians.

The best part of Aber, is its size. It’s such a small place, you could almost guarantee that no matter where you went, you’d know someone. Some people may hate that, but I enjoyed it. You never knew where your night was going, because you just didn’t know who you’d bump in to in the next bar. Of course, as time goes on, this was also a huge negative thing.

I don’t think I joined any societies in Freshers week – I certainly don’t remember joining any, which means I didn’t attend any. I did, however, form the foundations of a friendship group that would be there, through the good and the bad times. I also don’t think I went to many lectures during that week (yeah, there were lectures, like, welcome meetings etc). I’d made my choices, I knew when lectures-proper started, so I was going to enjoy myself.

We’d soon created a Network on our floor – so we could play LAN games between our rooms. When the wardens weren’t around, we’d run network cables down the corridors and play against each other. I was shit, I always have been, so normally I’d just end up watching. And if we weren’t gaming, my bedroom door was always open (remembering the advice from my first post!). My room soon became a place where people would just drop in and say hello as they were walking past – I liked that. I honestly don’t think my door was shut that much. I wanted to talk to people, and make friends – imagine how lonely a place can be if you’ve no one to talk to. If I can offer at least one bit of advice from this series of posts, then it’s just that, keep your door open, say hello to people. Even if you find it hard (who doesn’t!), it’s totally worth the stress of saying hello first. Trust me, you’ll make awesome friends!

So yeah, Freshers week – it passed very quickly. I was slowly collecting ticket stubs from nights out at the union – a pile that, over the first year, grew massively. I can safely say that it was rare that we missed an event at the Union. More on that to come…!