If you’re coming to The University of Nottingham, or any university, the chances are you’re either dreading or really looking forward to Freshers’ Week. It’s designed to ease students into the uni lifestyle; in short, get drunk and make friends before the term starts and you can’t go on a night out without feeling guilty about your 9am lecture. Although this is supposed to be the most exciting time of a young person’s life, there are parts of it that I found to be absolute hell, yet others that I loved.  So is Fresher’s Week really worth the hype? That depends.

Before you even get to Freshers, you have all these events and tickets thrown at you. Personally I think the way Nottingham handle this isn’t brilliant. Tickets for the finale’ event normally go for more than the price of a weekly food shop, with no guarantee of quality. And ironically there’s no student discount on the student events.

And how the hell are you supposed to know if your new flatmates enjoy going out, or that they would want to go to the same events as you? Two of my flatmates had no interest in finding out who they were going to live with and didn’t bother getting in contact with me beforehand. The only way to get round this is to buy the tickets when you arrive, but just make sure you have a good amount of people to go with, otherwise you’re that awkward person selling your ticket trying to find somewhere else to go.

You will dance to Rick Astley, and you will love every minute of it

On the other hand, any Ocean Freshers’ event you can get your hands on is guaranteed to be good, and most Nottingham students who love a night out will probably tell you the same. It’s usually fancy dress during Freshers’, which is a love or hate thing. I nicked some guy’s goggles which ended up constituting my Baywatch costume last year. There’s something about dancing to nostalgic music with hundreds of sweaty people you don’t know that makes a really good night. There are no modern ear-splitting, beat-dropping mosh club songs in Ocean, only cheese. You will dance to Rick Astley, and you will love every minute of it.

Onto the social aspects of Freshers’ Week. Having spent my first ever Freshers’ in the largest self-catered accommodation in Nottingham, I was completely swallowed up in the pressure of socialising with everyone around me, and I can honestly say that I saw it all and met every kind of person there is to meet at a university. I expected to find sociable people who were up for a night out and yes, I did find a few of these, but I also found some absolute tools.

By the end of the week I had worked out that anyone who asked me “What A-Levels did you get” or “Was this your first choice?” in the first five minutes of meeting them was going to be irritating. Being at a very academic uni like Nottingham, I found this happened quite often. Here’s some advice: if in the first night of Freshers’ you don’t have fun with your flat, knock on other people’s doors and you will be adopted, and they will be your friends for the rest of your university experience. Take it from someone who knows.

Socialise, prioritise, have an open mind

I can say I’m glad that I’m moving into a house with my chosen friends, but part of me did enjoy meeting these bizarre people. During Freshers’ Week you will do things you have never done before and talk about things you have never talked about before. There’s always some posh kid who claims they invented water or air and went on a ‘gap yah’. You meet people unlike anyone you’ve ever met and this can be really interesting, as long as you’re open minded and don’t chuck your drink at anyone.

You’ll get through it, and maybe even enjoy it if you get yourself out there and meet as many people as you can. Hindsight is a great thing and if I could tell 18-year-old me this then I would.

So is Freshers’ Week worth the hype at Nottingham? Socialise, prioritise (Ocean, Ocean, Ocean), have an open mind, and yes, it can be.

Rachel Boyle

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Image courtesy of ClarenceWret9665 on Flickr

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