With a car full of Amazon-ordered kitchen essentials, warm clothes and various bits of cleaning equipment I was yet to fully understand, I left home. People talk about ‘leaving home’ all the time, be it in a passing anecdote about their own experience or in a lecture about newfound responsibilities, but when you’re sat in the front seat of your mums hired Volvo with all of your possessions behind you, it starts to sink in. Luckily for me, I had a 4 hour, traffic infused journey in that seat for the idea of leaving to play on my mind. The static brain noises of anxiety and excitement are not ones that can be dulled by a One Direction song.
If you have a mum like mine, you are not only very lucky, but also probably very used to trying to calm her down.
She’s a fusser. With a heart as big as she thinks her waist is (and incidentally, is not), and the very best of intentions, she will worry about absolutely anything and everything that could go wrong for you. Are you going to be warm enough? Will your bed be comfy enough? Will the people in your hall be nice to you? Will you be safe? The trip up to Uni was broken up by these interjectional qualms that definitely took my focus away from my own nerves. My dad on the other hand, is not a worrier. At least, he emits this external calmness that only falters when you question his “because I said so”. Classic Dad behaviour, he only had one piece of advice for me, “beware of boys”. Needless to say, he was less than excited when I told him that 80% of my flatmates were, in fact, of the male gender.
I think I’ve been pretty lucky with my life up to today- and Uni so far has mercifully followed the same trend. I think for most people that is how it goes. You show up to your room on the first day knowing nothing and no one and OF COURSE you’re scared out of your mind. But by the end of the first evening- for us, what was advertised as ‘an awkward school disco, but with booze’ in the College canteen- I had completely forgotten what I had ever been worried about. The fact that my flatmates saw me in my 1D pyjamas on the second night (I quickly broke the promise to myself that I wouldn’t mention boybands until at LEAST Term 2) and didn’t kick me out on the spot definitely gave me fast reassurance that I had landed myself with some great people. A few quick rounds of ‘Never Have I Ever’ swiftly brought the room on familiar terms (perhaps even too familiar) and we were sorted.
And before I could even tell it was happening, Fresher’s Week was in full swing. You’ve all heard the rumours, a week of drunken sex and vomit and the best nights you will never remember. For some, I’m sure this is what Fresher’s Week actually consists of. For most (myself included), it is a happy middle ground that might not leave you with alcohol poisoning or an STD, but certainly with memories (if a little blurry) that will never leave you. It involved a lot of Ring Of Fire around our tiny kitchen table, a lot of more than questionable dance moves, a lot of gross cheap vodka (as if vodka can be anything but gross) and SUCH. A LOT. OF. FUN. I think you can truly call someone your friend when you’ve heard them chunder through the (very) thin walls of Uni accommodation. Even if you are one of the people who ends up with zero coherent memories of the week, you’ll definitely be left with at least one lasting Fresher’s reminder- Fresher’s Flu. I’m a month into Uni now, and still I have to strain to hear the lecturer over coughing (often my own). If you make it to Thursday without a sniffle and start getting cocky, don’t. You can rest assured that it’ll get you eventually, no one escapes the Flu. Thankfully, I was armed with plenty of cough mixture and DayNurse, which fast became a necessary crutch to my uni survival.
BUT OF COURSE (hello parents) it has not just been about drinking and partying and staying up all night. It is amazing how quickly work starts coming through, thick and fast, and it waits for no one. Some are lucky enough to have their lectures recorded, which allows for some leniency when you are tired or hungover or simply can’t be bothered to rock up to the lecture hall and endure what is likely to be (but not always!!) another boring, possibly wasted, hour of your life. Others end up fighting the fatigue, whether through choice or necessity, and try to keep their eyes open listening to a professor who almost never deviates from a soporific monotone.
It has genuinely been, however, despite the spluttering cough and constant tiredness, some of the best few weeks of my life, and I can already feel like the term will end before I’m ready.