Freshers’ week: that magical time that comes around but once in your university career (unless you want to be that creepy fourth year who still hangs around Pollock Halls). For the uninitiated it represents an optimistic promise of youthful abandonment as you meet, bond and unavoidably embarrass yourself in front of your fellow first years. However, for me and so many others, it is nothing more than a haze of groggy memories, so please learn from our mistakes so that you never find yourself asleep on The Hive sofas with ink on your face.
“I’m not a girl, not yet a woman”, heed Britney’s wise words. For most of you, university will be the first time you’ve ever lived away from home for any prolonged amount of time. The severing of the parental tether is an incredibly freeing experience, so take full advantage of this magical gap between the innocence that was once your childhood and what will one day be crippling responsibility when you fully enter the adult world. Best of all, don’t forget that you are surrounded by people that are going through the exact same thing.
There is no better way to get to know someone than by doing as many stupid and irresponsible things as possible. Just don’t be the person who pulls the fire alarm at 4am. No one will find it funny and everyone will bear that grudge for the rest of your time at university.
The University of Edinburgh is large university with plenty to offer you. Go to the Societies Fair and join at least one. Similarly, don’t be afraid to try a new sport or try to get into a university team. Just remember that when you inevitably see someone walking down the street naked, take pity on them because they are going through initiations and have more than likely had to do something horrific the night before. Just don’t make the mistake of joining twenty different clubs and only going to two events all year. With all that the university can offer, it’s easy to forget that the city itself can offer even more, and as fun as the nightlife may be, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a little culture every now and then. Try to escape the fresher bubble and explore places that aren’t George Square. Unless you really do want to see the D-list celebrities that EUSA has booked.
You’ll hear a lot of people say that your first year is essentially a freebie, that the workload is minimal and lectures are pretty much optional. Although first year doesn’t count towards your final degree mark, don’t forget that whilst the nights out may be fun, the main reason you came to university was to do a degree. Keeping this in mind as you make your pilgrimage from halls to lectures each day should make the Edinburgh weather just that much more bearable. Just don’t forget that the work will always catch up with you. It’s your choice if you want to do it slowly throughout the year or in one giant non-stop Red Bull and caffeine tablet fuelled session in the library.
In short, the worst thing that you can do with your Freshers’ Week and your first year in general is to do nothing at all. Don’t let your time at university pass you by because you were too scared or too lazy to experience new things. Far too soon it will all be over, and another set of wide-eyed first year students will continue the cycle.