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The Fresher Reality

We always hear about people going wild within their new freedoms, the huge nights out, epic sexual conquests, and the relentless use of alcohol. How much of that really happens at QM?

Living in halls is likely to be an experience. For those who didn’t gap year, it’s the first time you live away from home, family, old friends, and everything familiar. For those who did, it’s a chance to talk about just how surreal and mind-expanding Thailand was. Comparatively few freshers actually live on campus – from mid-August onwards, people were desperately seeking flatmates on Facebook and applying to massively expensive private halls.

Fresher Jack, 19 from Kent, moved into Scape, opposite campus, after being rejected for QM halls. Despite paying more than he would for campus halls, Jack has a new studio with masses of facilities and “easy access to Drapers”. If money is less of an issue and you care about meeting new people whilst at uni, don’t start panicking if you don’t live on campus.  He went on to say; “I also met more people from QM here so it was easier to make friends”. The general consensus is that for a ‘typical’ Fresher’s experience, living in halls matters, but they don’t have to be within QM.

Other unis have legendary stories that make it online through Spotted: pages or Tell Him/Her, but nothing’s come out of Queen Mary that comes anywhere near matching Southampton’s Jesters stories, or the paralegal happenings in Maple Bank at Birmingham.

This year’s Queen Mary equivalent ‘QMUL Confessions and Proposal’ actually began as a fake page; its creators now get more real submissions than fakes that they initially made up, although it’s about “half and half” on whether they’re believable or not. Other experiences are less impressive; anyone who went to see Katherine Ryan and Rob Beckett at the Griff Inn, you’re in the minority.

There were more people still outside waiting in the queue to try and get places than there were people actually let into the venue. Friendships for life were forged in that line; comedy bridged Mile End and Whitechapel, as medics and linguists met for the first time. Mixed reports came out of the Zane Lowe and Ms Dynamite night at Fabric – it turned out to be a UCL takeover as it kicked off their Freshers.

They don’t know how to Fresh properly either – there were more people outside begging cigarettes off each other than there were dancing, being told to “get your hands where I can see them” by a vocally hyperactive Kiwi who didn’t take requests.

Is it just because there’s too much other stuff to do? Shopping, cooking, laundry, clearing up the wreckage from the night before and treating the £9000 tuition fees as an investment in education definitely get in the way of red beer, instant noodles and sucking face. Or is it just too embarrassing, expensive and knackering to go out out every night for a week? After years of freshers swallowing their own vomit for the fifth night in a row, choosing between buying a round or the weekly shop and missing enrolment due to alco-sleep syndromes, have today’s freshers learnt something?

We definitely don’t try to do anything new. Pub crawls are pub crawls whether you get invited by friends or buy a general access wristband online before you even move away from home. People are anxious about starting a new course and giving up three years of their youth to study just one thing with a whole lot of people they’ve never met before. We’re allowed feel nervous, lost, alone and stupid during Freshers’. Privately, we don’t mind. We just don’t want to be constantly nauseous, broke, and STI-positive. Go to Drapers.

Drink the red beer. Dance to generic EDM and pull whoever feels like pulling you too. Just remember, it’ll all still be there next year.

Image: QMSU

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