A Day in the Life of a Fresher
Looking back, first year seems like a distant memory, or even a dream. Yet the sheer volume of things I did during my first week made it a memorable week, indeed.
I had always wanted to go to university – it was something that I had spoken to family and friends about and, although I’m from the ‘traditional-working-class-background’, I was always quite optimistic about applying. My mum, who had previously worked at a university, was always set on me following the route into medicine. Sadly, the sensation of nausea I experienced when dissecting a lamb’s heart in Year 9 never quite worked in my favour. Instead, my love of texts and voices blossomed around Year 12, and it was from that moment on that I knew English Language was the subject I wanted to study.
When researching different universities, I found places I liked and places that I didn’t like. I always thought that I would get a place at the University of York, because it was close to home and the campus was quiet. After coming to an Open Day at the University of Liverpool, it clicked. There was something about the campus, the people and the city which screamed “this is it, Jordan. This is where you need to be!” – so much so that when it came to picking my first and second choice universities, despite Liverpool offering me a place with relatively low grades, I put it as my first choice. I was over the moon the day I found out my results and I received my welcome email from the university. Liverpool it was!
In September 2015, I had my final week at home. I won’t lie, I had butterflies for days before leaving because I knew this was a massive jump. I had never been a big fan of sleepovers when I was younger, so I had no idea how ‘almost fully’ moving away from home was going to feel. Me and my parents went on a huge shopping trip, buying all the uni essentials: pans, cutlery, bedding, desk-laps, blu-tac, soap, wooden spoons… you name it, we got it. I remember telling them how major this was for me – I hadn’t even considered how major this was for them too.
Moving day came very quickly. We drove down the M62 until we reached Liverpool. I saw other cars stuffed full of clothes and all the equipment you could ever need, heading in the same direction.
I had accepted a room in Crown Place, in Block G. Having already found a handful of people from my flat online, I was eager to meet them. When we arrived at the campus, a student ambassador pointed us to the car park, and then into the reception, where I signed in and got the keycard to my room. We were then taken upstairs, luggage in tow, to where I would be living. The whole thing was pretty surreal, but really exciting. I was shown around the flat, into the kitchen with pretty decent views of North Campus and then to my room. Asking the student ambassador questions really helped to put my mind at rest, and alleviated any worries my mum and dad had.
As we were unpacking, one of my new flatmates was also moving in and I walked past her room to say hello. It was strange at first, but as more people appeared in the flat it became much easier. I’m still very good friends with the people I met in my flat – though I know it isn’t like that for everyone. Sometimes it’s just pot luck who you’re with – but even if your flat aren’t your cup of tea then don’t worry – it’s only a year. Still, that shouldn’t restrict you from being as much of a social butterfly as you can be, particularly throughout your first year: say hello to everyone you meet on campus and just talk to them about something random. Good conversation starters include ‘what course are you doing?’ and ‘which halls are you in?’ – take it from me, you’ll ask these A LOT in first year.
After promising to call my parents as soon as they got home, and waving them off (my dad in tears), I went and sat in the living room and met the rest of the flat who were moving in at the same time. We spoke about what we would be doing that evening; coincidentally we’d all bought wristbands for the LGOS’ Welcome Week 2015 – so we decided on heading to a DJ set at the Guild and grab some alcohol to pre on (the essentials, of course) beforehand. After cooking a really easy dinner (super easy – a ready meal, I think) one of our flatmates was already on with contacting other people in our block, and so later we welcomed a few new faces into our flat and got familiar with our neighbours on different floors.
That evening, I had so much fun – it was so nice to feel comfortable with people who I hadn’t even known for 12 hours, and it was in that first day that I had already come out of my shell an awful lot. Though it took a lot of effort on my part, simply because I hadn’t really been in this position before. Being on campus was also incredibly convenient, and I felt safe making my way through the city.
Throughout the week, we attended loads of other events at the Guild and out and about in Liverpool. A friend I met on a course kindly took me on a tour of the city and we went shopping after one of our introductory lectures. I went along to the Welcome Fair and signed up for more societies than I can count on both hands (Ellipsis, of course, ended up being my favourite!) and battled a rather hectic timetable, activating my computing accounts and picking up my student card.
At the end of the week, I was exhausted. There’s just SO MUCH STUFF and that’s not an exaggeration. But, now in my third year, I can confidently say it was one of the best weeks of my life for that reason. I met so many people in such a short space of time and did things I never thought I could (savoury thoughts here people). If I could go back and do it all again, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
My advice – on your first day, don’t be stingy with your time. Plan around your lectures but enjoy yourself. Stretch your comfort zone if you’re not one for talking to new people: you’ll begin to realise that there’s so much more to Welcome week than just socialising. I threw myself into it, and I’ve never looked back since. Though – of course – I still call my mum and dad every now and again!