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Findings of a Fresher 30/10/18

Kirsten Murray realises that surviving uni actually takes effort

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Image: Kirsten Murray

So I'm now over a month into my first term of university and it seems a lifetime ago that I was nervously awaiting the huge change of moving away. I hoped my flatmates wouldn't be complete weirdos and I hoped I wouldn't seem like a com- plete weirdo to my flatmates. Slowly, I watched as the spare room became swallowed by every pos- sible item that can be purchased at IKEA.

Strangely, even though the last two years of hell (aka A-Levels) were completed with the aim of going to university, the idea that I would ever get here didn't become a reality until I arrived at York, and sometimes I still cannot believe it now.

So after the overenthusiastic, over-happy, potentially awkward introductions, you begin to have normal conversations again that don't just consist of: "what course are you doing? What college are you in? Where are you from?" Real- ity and routine begin to form and you realise that yes you may have gone out every night of Freshers and somehow survived (just), but that cannot last forever. You also realise that perhaps sharing drinks with every person you met in order to seem friendly probably wasn't the best plan as you now have Freshers' flu. But are you going to swerve that night out to sweaty Salvos? Probably not. I can also confirm that Freshers' flu is not a myth and despite my "I'll be fine, I never get ill, my im- mune system is strong" attitude, I did get ill and just when I thought I was recovering it would rise again. Strepsils became my best friend. At the point when my flatmate was swigging cough med- icine from the bottle instead of vodka I knew that in retrospect I had got off lightly. Freshers' flu also meant the first week of lectures was more a battle of the coughs, than a discussion on the rise of the novel in Defoe's Roxana.

Another thing I forgot when coming to university was that I came to get a degree. Yeah, I think we all forgot about that in the blur of fresh- ers, and we are now inundated with all those so- cieties we signed up for in the heat of Freshers' fair. (I'm pretty sure I never even signed up for the York Juba Anthology Society, but they email every week.) By Week 3 I realised, yes I may only have 10 contact hours, but I have hundreds of hours of reading, and pro-tip, if you try to read in bed, you nap. There's no avoiding it, it's inevitable. Lecturers also talk at the speed of light, hence my notes are filled with '...' as whilst writing down the start of the lecturers sentences, I miss the end; thank goodness for lecture capture... Not that that should be used as an alternative to attending the lectures. Of course not.

Next lesson: food doesn't just appear. Fridges aren't naturally full. However, don't get too carried away filling them, as only you are eating your food (unless you have a snaky flatmate) and stuff will go out of date. Trust me, out-of-date chicken is not something you want to mistakenly cook lots of, hence the amount of Dettol that was sprayed that night. Now I understand I have the luxury of the catered lifestyle, and all I can say is thank God I do, because otherwise I genuinely would forget/be too lazy to eat. Meal planning for the weekend has become an event in my week, as well as planning when to do laundry. And not just planning when to do my laundry, but using my sixth sense to predict when every other man and his dog wouldn't also be doing theirs (yes - I was that person who sat and watched my wash spin for over an hour because I was not making that unsuccessful trek back to my accomodation, after failing to find a free washing machine for the fourth time that day).

But what definitely needs a special mention is everyone's favourite place to end a night out (well maybe not if you're sober). That's right, it's Salt & Pepper: the famous chips, cheese and gravy, cheeseburgers and my personal favourite, the cheesy garlic bread. Seemingly a good idea to scoff before getting on the bus, but quickly becomes a regrettable decision. Not that any of us will ever learn.

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