First term went in a blur as those strangers I met on day one moulded into a set of friends; seeing each other 24/7 meant we became close incredibly fast. As term developed, we explored the area and got to know Norwich – the beach being a short train ride away meant visits to the seaside on quiet days and the campus lake and unexpected sunshine made for a first term full of BBQs and sunbathing. Boredom is never long-lived at university; with so many people, societies and sports, there’s rarely nothing to do. By this time I’d gained friends from my course and other flats and campus was really starting to feel like a mini community.
Knowing in fresher’s week that the Societies Fair was an integral part of getting involved in university life I’d signed up to Concrete, the student newspaper, and this society has been a huge part of my university experience. You’ll quickly find that some societies have more reputation than others; the Assassin society for example, where members take part in a league to try and “kill” one another about campus was particularly well known. A housemate once spent hours trapped in our flat as his “killers” set up camp outside the front door.
My own membership to societies didn’t really take off until second year where I started my own radio show and founded Literature Society. Society involvement is one of the most rewarding parts of university and means making lots more friends. For most courses, first year doesn’t count towards your final degree and that luxury means less pressure on work and more time to throw yourself in and try a bit of everything!
The final night out of first semester is always a big one and it’s the mornings after times where the less glamorous realities of life away from home really sink in. I awoke after this particular night to find the kitchen covered with sticky playing cards, cans and bottles in amongst the gross pile of washing up that one housemate refused to do.
We had a cupboard in our kitchen that anyone who’s lived in halls will be familiar with – the dumping cupboard. In this grim corner of the kitchen lived everything people no longer wanted to deal with looking at. Full of plates and pans covered in unidentifiable leftovers, the cupboard is nothing to be proud of but seems an inevitable part of living in a flat of lazy students, away from home for the first time. It’s things like this that mean the idea of going home for Christmas is not quite so unwelcome. Although sad to leave new friends, the prospect of clean cutlery, clothes and home-cooked meals can begin to sound like paradise to the first term fresher.
By this point the workload had also begun to catch up. After the first few weeks of being eased slowly into degree work, by Christmas most students have coursework or even exams and that reading you meant to do over summer, and then during term, but never actually finished, finally catches up with you. By the end of semester one the fresher lifestyle was certainly starting to catch up with me, and partying three times a week suddenly didn’t feel like the best study strategy! The best use of the holiday is without doubt to prepare for the second term of study. You know when you get back you’ll be raring to go on that first night out, so prep your academia now, and you can spend a little less time stressing when you return!
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