Falling victim to the dreaded, infamous Freshers’ Flu, I missed some of the events which took place during Freshers’ Week, but of course it isn’t just about socialising. Not totally anyway. SUSU provided lots of little perks for students, such as a quirky photo booth and free barbecues, as well as Independence Day, which promoted keeping safe and looking after yourself at university.
For many people, university is a massive new step in their lives, and these first few weeks are very important in helping you to settle in and feel comfortable. You suddenly have to quickly get used to living in a building full of other students, surrounded by people you’ve probably never met before you arrive, learning to live independently, and remembering to buy toilet roll and do your laundry all by yourself. If you’re in self-catered or private-rented accommodation, cooking is also a relatively new daily task for most people.
Tip: try not to be the person to set off your building’s fire alarm; try to ensure that, in a real emergency, people would act appropriately and not assume it was another mistake. Cooking without ventilation in your kitchen, leaving your bathroom door open when you shower, and thinking it’s a good idea to light a candle or incense in your room, can all lead to a large crowd of incredible disgruntled students standing around outside at some ungodly hour. You can probably pick out the angriest ones in the crowd, because they’re the poor, semi-naked people made to leave the building in the middle of a shower because someone didn’t open the window in their kitchen.
One of the major events of the first week was the Bunfight, Southampton University’s original fair, held to allow every society represented at the university to come out and convince hordes of fairly acquiescent students to join all sorts of different student-run societies, from water polo to cake decorating. It is honestly one of the most manic parts of the week, with people doing everything they can to support their society and convince you that you should join in, and there is something for pretty much anything you could think of. Aside from the immense queues to get in, and the fact that by the end of it you might come to regret having a name as long as mine when you have to write it out so many times in a row on all the different sign-up sheets, it’s a lot of fun.
Then comes the Freshers’ Fayre, a similar idea to the Bunfight, but for the all the local companies to promote what they have to offer. As interesting as it is to see all the different things on offer in the Southampton area, a massive benefit of it is, of course, the freebies. Most people end up with enough free pens to last them for the whole academic year, as well as sponges, playing cards and offers to local clubs, and let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with a free slice of pizza.
A very innovative promotional stunt was Nando’s Spin The Wheel, where each person got to spin a large wheel in the hope of landing on one of their offers of a free meal. At the very least you might get the chance to hug a giant chicken, which is always a plus.
Tip: try to get there as early as possible – we arrived at the Bunfight 20 minutes before it opened, and queued for about half an hour. If you arrive much later than that, you could be queuing for a couple of hours, and you’re definitely going to need that free pizza.
To read more about some of the amazing events and socials organised in Freshers’ Fortnight, see Part 1, and to read about the Freshers’ Fortnight’s big finale, the Freshers’ Ball, and more, keep an eye out for Part 3, coming soon.