Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
Take it from someone who’s been a Fresher twice: you don’t have to be doing the backstroke in your own vomit to have a ‘good’ experience. Conventionally, going out every night of the week will be good for social interaction – you will be seen as somebody who’s fun and you won’t be short of people to go with. However, you need to ensure that you’re doing this for yourself rather than using it as a mechanism to make friends. And most importantly you need to remember that it’s far from the only mechanism, and if that’s the case then you aren’t any ‘less’ of a Fresher.
This image of Freshers that we have, after all, is based on a stereotype. Is there some truth to it? Of course. Young people are living alone for the first time and are able to do all the things they want with no restrictions. However, as with most stereotypes, this has blown hugely out of proportion. Some students may go wild following freedom from their parents, and others might just want a beer or two in Spoons. Others might (gasp!) not even drink at all.
For example, when I started sixth-form, I was convinced that my lifestyle would replicate that of Effy from Skins. I would get into all the clubs underage without question, experience recreational drug use and get up to a variety of drunken young-adult shenanigans. Instead, the most rebellious thing I did was go home during my free periods. That was the expectation for a lot of my friends too because we live in the real world. And real life doesn’t always make for good stories, so the small majority is made to appear to be the norm.
You don’t need me to tell you that making friends starts from having some common ground. As with anywhere in life, you will come across different ‘circles’ of friends at university that share interests and characteristics. You might find a common ground that involves going out to the different Freshers events every night, with the daytime activities becoming secondary to that.
I, however, found common ground with people like me: they just wanted to take in this new environment and see what it had to offer. They wanted to take it slowly, sign up to too many societies and get a bunch of free pens. It might sound mundane to some but for me, looking back at my scrabbling in a Double Decker van with someone I now call a best friend is something I’ll always treasure. Fundamentally, I enjoyed Freshers because I surrounded myself with people who weren’t huge partiers, meaning that our friendship grew due to experiences that made sense to us. Pretending to enjoy something you don’t will get you nowhere.
However, I want to emphasise that there isn’t one option that is better than the other – so don’t look down on people for going out drinking or consider those who don’t as ‘boring’. Whether you do one, the other, or a mixture of both it’s your decision and frankly, it’s nobody’s place to judge you on it.
At the end of the day, university is a personal journey. It’s all about your intellectual and personal development, nobody else. It’s your life, and if going out drinking isn’t part of your narrative then so what? The most important thing to remember is that you’re not at school anymore, and you shouldn’t feel as if you need to change who you are as a person so you can ‘fit in’. So sit down, have a cup of tea and own it!