Gilby’s Guidance #1

No Fooling This Fresher.

Image: Ewan Munro. www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/
Image: Ewan Munro. www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/

It seems difficult to remember a time before the long awaited experience of freshers. Before it was a constant reference point; the embarrassments your friends just wont let lie, the people you choreographed dance routines with, now awkwardly sitting next to you in the library, and something I will never forget is the terrifying feeling of not knowing what any of your university experiences are going to end up like yet.

When embarking upon freshers you feel like the importance of it is that it’s ‘the beginning’, a start as you mean to go on. However, in retrospect, I think to the get the most out of freshers you have to embrace it as something separate from the rest of the year.

Stumbling round in the darkness of drapers, knowing no one and having nothing to lose is never going to happen again. So here are some tips on how to make the most of it.

 1.  First Impressions Are Void

As supposedly intelligent students, our ‘meet new people’ response is to set out a foundation that could be built on in the long term. If you get on with someone you’ve been talking to (talking= shouting at and getting them to repeat what they had said over and over again), then it is natural to try and polish up your drunken slurs into something more coherent. DON’T BOTHER. The amount of times I saw someone who I had spoken to a few nights previously and before I’d had a chance to look in completely the opposite direction, caught them doing exactly the same thing. (And no, the strange sensation of relief and unjust offense never did lessen.)

2.  Being Nice Gets You Nowhere

There is no need to entertain the weirdos. A few of my favourite freshers anecdotes come from my friends not being able to shake the clingy crazies but I will never be able to muster sympathy for people who don’t know how to escape social situations. It’s a waste of time and is only funny for a few minutes tops. You would be surprised how quickly a polite response can make you the proud new owner of an unwanted lurker. Try and avoid being the sucker who is too scared to say, ‘I’m just going to the toilet’, when the first ten people they’ve bugged have had enough sense to

3.  Embrace Drapers

Being a drapers snob will get you nowhere in this town. We all need a student loan friendly bar in London and somewhere close enough that we have the option of being carried home. The best nights are always born out of low expectations.

4.  Power Through

You have all year to make a good impression on the people on your course. Spend the introduction classes with your eyes only open enough to check that no one you offended last night is sitting next to you.

5.  Revel In My Success Story

The first two girls I spoke to on my first night of freshers have become two of my favourite people and I definitely owe them a lot of credit in making my first year what it was meant to be. We queued up making awkward conversation about what we were studying, alarmingly found out our common interest was tequila and by the end of the night had made too much a fool of ourselves to ever go back to pretending we were the cool one in the group.

I feel like this taught me the most valuable lesson for the beginning of my university life, to trust my instincts with who I felt were people I wanted to be around.

Do what you want, don’t worry about the consequences (i.e. the rest of the year) and most importantly, use it as a way to gain some perspective on the kind of mates you are going to value the most for the next three years.  But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. Doing it wrong might be how it’s meant to be done?

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