Looking back on Freshers two years ago, I realise just how little I knew at the time. University seemed like this magical place where I would somehow grow up, complete my degree, make some great friends and partake in a variety of opportunities. And while that’s all true, there are definitely some things I definitely got wrong.
Before I first stepped foot in Warwick, I was under the illusion that a lot of the people there would be into the same things. They’d be from a similar background, listen to the same music and eat the same meals every single day, somewhat like the people at school. I’m now aware that many people believe this, and think that they have to change themselves significantly to fit in, or become someone else in order to ‘start afresh’ – and yet as a Fresher, completely unaware that others were in the same boat as me, I felt apprehensive.
I was proven wrong as soon as I moved into my flat, which was bursting with a menagerie of personalities each as unique and contrasting as the last. Being placed in an environment with a group of such varied individuals certainly proved interesting, and over the course of the year I learned that difference was great, and that university was truly the first place where many learn this lesson. University’s a big place (probably a giant understatement), and you can guarantee that there’ll be an entire crowd of people who like the same obscure band as you, enjoy your favourite Netflix original or even share your intense passion for ultimate Frisbee. My flat was just the beginning. There were many others on my course who came from a multitude of backgrounds, and even more still in the societies present at the university, each of whom I found unafraid to be themselves.
Another pleasant surprise was just how easy it is to make friends at university, especially at the beginning – generally, everyone is just as out of their comfort zone as you! You’ve all been thrown into a foreign area amongst people you don’t know, and so friend-making should be most people’s top priority. It’s also easy to find common ground between yourself and others because of the sheer amount of new things you’ll be introduced to as the year goes on.
I remember that when I started a lot of people (including myself) weren’t particularly capable of looking after themselves. Cleaning was a new experience to some, organising a schedule was completely unheard of and cooking was a mystery only a few lucky ones truly understood. Although my flat were often eating frozen pizzas at the start we eventually found ourselves hosting our own version of Come Dine With Me in the final term because we’d just progressed so much. Since then, I’ve continued to enjoy cooking as a hobby and thus I’m very glad I went through the experience of living out in my first year.
Freshers was a crazy time for me to say the least. I learned a lot from the experience, and it helped make me into who I am today. It’s important to note that you’re only a fresher once, so you may as well enjoy yourself while you can!