After years of intense revision; what seemed like hundreds of personal statement redrafts; countless mental breakdowns…Finally, it was time to start university.
Saturday (moving day)
Such a huge build-up to this event led to enormous expectations. I dreamt in my head that leaving home would be an adventure: I would cross the water from my little island and arrive in Bristol to glorious sunshine, with a team of university staff greeting me with smiles, and striking instant friendships with the first people I met.
Of course, this didn’t happen. I left home bleary-eyed and stayed that way for the rest of the day (thanks for booking the 5.45am ferry, Dad.) There was no glorious sunshine: the weather was strange – gloomy, but hot; stuffy and oppressive. Now being a student of English Literature, every detail has significance. THE WEATHER HAD A DEEPER MEANING. Perhaps its unpleasantness signified the difficult reality of leaving safety – leaving everyone and everything I loved at home, to begin again, alone, in a huge new city. Perhaps the humidity and closeness represented the future stress and perils of university life: essays, deadlines, dissertations….
Or perhaps I should leave the pathetic fallacy for lecture theatres and seminars.
I clung onto my parents for as long as I could, but eventually they had to leave. And so, I was alone in a tiny room with a grubby carpet and a decidedly damp smell. Yay, Freshers’! I knew this was the time to start socialising, but all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and listen to Sam Smith. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to bring a duvet, so I made my way to the kitchen. And, lo and behold: people were nice! I’d definitely struck gold with my flatmates. Boringly, they are all really good people. Nobody with any weird habits (that I’ve noticed yet) or annoying quirks. They are nice people.
After a quick sobbing session in bed (once I’d purchased some bedding) and a nourishing bowl of spaghetti hoops, it was time for the first FRESHERS’ NIGHT OUT.
Expectation: Out all night, blazingly drunk, waking up on the floor of a club
Reality: Left club at 1am-ish, picked up by a group of kindly 3rd years*, returned home 4am-ish
*Mum & Dad, if you’re reading, don’t worry – they were good people and they walked me home
Looking back, the first night of Freshers’ Week was not the time to be leaving clubs alone and befriending Third Years (although they were great fun…)
Overall, though ‘Leaving Home’ had been far scarier and much less glorious than I’d hoped, it hadn’t been a disastrous first day.
Woken up by church bells. Bleary-eyed, (again) I decided to explore Bristol. SOMEHOW I ended up outside the hugest Primark I’ve ever seen: the place was majestic, illuminated by the morning sunshine. I was overwhelmed and overawed – perhaps that’s why I spent more money than I thought was humanely possible in a place where a pair of pants cost just £1. Triumphantly wielding two bursting brown paper bags, I headed to the next revolutionary bargain shop: Wilkinsons, where I picked up a faux sheepskin rug. Who says university life can’t be luxurious?!
Sunday was an improvement on the sobbing front: much less, and more socialising. Which led to the second FRESHERS’ NIGHT OUT. Much of this is a blur, thanks to my chosen beverage combination of vodka and Becks. Sunday night was fun – I arrived home with my flatmates at 5am.
WOKEN AT 8.15am BY MAINTENANCE MEN LETTING THEMSELVES INTO MY ROOM AND REPLACING MY SINK. Bearing in mind, I had arrived home just 3 HOURS earlier. Still intoxicated with the lethal vodka and Becks combination, I remained in bed and covered my head with a pillow in an attempt to stifle the deafening banging coming from my bathroom. This was a weird start to the day.
Bleary-eyed once more, (this was becoming regular now) I went to an English Lunch. Once again, people were NICE. On this night, the girls from our flat decided to stay in; I was introduced to the world of Downton Abbey. It was good to see Maggie Smith, but otherwise I don’t really understand the hype….why would there be an exciting house fire if nobody dies?! And how bloody awful is that woman’s American accent?!!!
Rest of the Week
Unfortunately the rest of (not so) Freshers’ Week is a bit of a blur. This is partly due to excessive alcohol consumption, obviously, and partly due to the crazy nature of spending a week in a strange new place with people you’ve only just met.
Some things I do remember:
- Having a Great British Bake Off night with biscuits and chocolate (Woo! Freshers’!)
- Waking up one morning and realising I’d completely missed the bucket beside my bed. Bad start to the day.
- Being woken up at 8.15am AGAIN by house wardens checking the maintenance men had replaced the sink. Once again, too intoxicated to understand anything.
- Watching Wretch 32 and actually knowing his song lyrics despite not having one Wretch 32 song on my iPod
- Answering ‘Nature’s Call’…outside…with my female flatmate friends.*
*Sorry again, Mum and Dad. Definitely not my classiest moment.
So…Freshers’ Week. It was definitely a week of emotional highs and lows. Despite the intense excitement of living in an amazing new place with amazing new people, it’s impossible to shake off the intense sadness of leaving behind much-loved friends and family. (And my beautiful bedroom with its clean carpet with no bars on the windows.) I’m still adjusting to student life, and thinking about home still brings serious pangs of melancholy. But I’m determined to keep looking forward, (bleary-eyed) and to focus on the next three years of intoxication, inebriation and insobriety.
Oh, and working really hard for my degree.