Imagine if the University gave you a video camera to record your first two weeks as a Fresher…

That is exactly what happened to me, and is one of the best opportunities I have ever been given. I have an idea of what you may be thinking: “How on earth did you have time to make such a commitment?” As an ECS (Electronics and Computer Science) student – and we have plenty of time on our hands (!) –  this question had most definitely appeared into my already fretting head.

‘Vlogging’ – video blogging – is being championed by the University as a way of engaging Freshers with their new surroundings

Then, I asked the biggest question of all: “Will my morals survive Freshers?” Fresher or not, it is very easy to cave into peer-pressure. I do not drink alcohol, I am a vegan with food allergies, and I am vastly outnumbered by males in the ECS department, with the workload causing me to think my social life may reach extinction.  However, all of these factors (in addition to the responsibility of video recording my experiences daily) actually produced unprecedented positives.

My video camera was a friend magnet; it was the saving grace of my initial Fresher trepidation and it calmed the early jitters of being in a new environment.  I recorded many corridor parties, Beer Pong tournaments and a birthday celebration, as well as my team winning the ECS department’s Jumpstart Challenge.

Completely excluding yourself from alcohol in University is as impossible as slamming a revolving door

I found it was best to be honest with my flatmates within the first few days of arrival. They accepted it (I was warmly invited to play Beer Pong with water) but if they had not, it would have been their loss. In some ways, being a non-drinker detracted my vlogging experience. Hilarious as it could have been, being sober made me completely aware of my right and wrongs. So, there are no video recordings of my flatmates’ drunken re-designing of our corridor – for their sake!

Whether with alcohol or water, beer pong is always a stable pre-drinking game!

What I cannot fathom is the emphasis on drinking alcohol during Freshers’ Week.  Fine, societal events can be held in pubs and nightclubs, but problems arise when the itinerary is alluring to those who drink alcohol. To have a brilliant time without having a sip of alcohol during Freshers’ Fortnight is possible! Yes, really: the trick is to stick to your guns. Your order of lemonade at The Bridge is just as welcomed as Vodka and Coke, Jack Daniels, and Beer.

As I vlogged around campus, I dreaded when my stomach started to growl,

My veganism allowed me to discover things about the University that many students are unaware of.

 but being a Vegan turned out to not be a detriment. Rather, it is the unsung hero of my vlogging experience as it has allowed me to discover things about this University that majority of students are unaware of. Did you know that there are allergy and dietary food labels beside prices around campus? Just look inside the SUSU Shop and The Bridge menu. Even my catered halls have made extra effort: they prepared tofu for me!

In my department I have more male friends than female friends, purely because of the male:female ratio. Friendships are established on common ground and good conversation so being ‘gender-blind’ is a good trait to have for ECS females. Nevertheless, I certainly did not complain whilst I video recorded the free pizza event held by the ECSWomen group!

I have made lots of new friends during Freshers’ Fortnight. Of course, I give credit to my sparkling personality and cracking sense of humour, but the video camera was fundamental. Upon reflection, my videos were certainly entertaining and even enlightening – “Do I really sound like that?”

A Fresher’s best friend?

Perhaps taking videos will be my new favourite pastime, and perhaps your life could do with some personal vlogging.

After my University vlogging opportunity, I can confidently say that my Freshers Fortnight is something that I will never, ever forget.

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