Starting university is a whirlwind of new people and new experiences and it’s great fun. By the end of the first week, you’ll be able to reel off your name, college and degree like a mantra having met so many people. By the end of the first month, you’ll have cycled through such a catalogue of emotions, from excitement to exhaustion, happiness to homesickness, that you’ll feel in need of a quiet night in. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some classic TV shows to watch (or rewatch, or rewatch for the 5th time, crying every time your favourite character is on) to get you through your first few weeks at York.
My first recommendation applies not just to your first week but all year round. Gilmore Girls; the premise of which is a girl who studies a lot, fuelled by copious amounts of caffeine (which basically sums up my experience so far). To backtrack slightly, one of the biggest concerns for many people when beginning university is about coping with the workload and seamlessly transitioning from A-level to university study. It is not an easy leap to make despite the immense amount of support offered by the staff and students in York, which is where Gilmore Girls can be of assistance. I mentioned coffee and studying before, as being core values in the show and I’m not suggesting you pull an all-nighter with seven red bulls but grabbing a drink with a friend or coursemate and studying together can be a great way to motivate yourself and make those first assignments feel a little easier. York campus has many, many cafes to study in (trust me, I’ve sampled them all) which you can read about here. I also love to explore the city on quieter days and study in one of the cafes there, which provides a helpful change of scenery from time to time.
The next parallel between TV and uni life can be found in the popular show Bridgerton. You might be thinking, how on earth is uni like this Georgian series full of eligible bachelors and full skirts? However, for some people, the start of university is akin to entering one of Bridgertons debutante balls (albeit one with less waltzing and more clubbing) where everybody is looking for someone, whether that is a partner, a group of friends or just someone who can show you to the library. The comments of Lady Whistledown after every ball are like Snapchat memories after a night out, which always seem to come back to haunt you. My advice would be, don’t rush. Friendships and relationships take time so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find your match or to be the ‘diamond of the season’. Simply enjoy meeting new people and the rest will follow.
I’m just going to warn you now, walking into your uni accommodation for the first time will feel oddly reminiscent of walking into a prison cell - blank walls, empty shelves and a slightly sterile scent. In fact, one of the blocks in James College is endearingly nicknamed ‘The Prison Block’ for its prison-esque decor. Orange is the New Black therefore, might feel like a relatable show as it follows the experience of Piper, a new arrival in prison. After the initial shock however, of having to share a bathroom and sleeping in a single bed, I quickly realised that some tastefully arranged pillows or houseplants can make a place feel like home (even if it is slightly embarrassing when a third year carries your heart-shaped pillow across the carpark on arrivals day). So, my first tip is don’t forget to personalise your room. Similarly again to Orange is the New Black, Piper’s long, emotional phone calls home in the show are comparable to my own during those first weeks. Homesickness is something which most of you won’t be a stranger to at some point or another. It is normal to miss your family, your dog, your bath (this was a big one for me) but you should also remember that everyone is in the same boat and you can draw upon the new connections you make at uni for support.
Last but not least, this list wouldn’t be complete without Friends. This show never fails to make me smile and it is perfect if you are having a bad day, feeling low or just need some down time. Just like at university, Friends has a whole cast of quirky characters and unique personalities. Your first week may feel similar to the experience of watching the show as you are gradually introduced to new people one by one (though without the laughter sound effects playing in the background). You’ll soon realise that everyone is different and everyone has their place at York, as it is a diverse community which has room to accommodate all. You need only look at the almost overwhelmingly long list of societies to see this, including skiing, dog society, pole dancing, hummus appreciation society…(practically every niche interest you can imagine). So take every opportunity to get involved, meet people like you and remember that there are friends to be found everywhere. In the words of the Rembrandts someone will ‘be there for you, when the rain starts to pour’ (which it will do, we live in England!) so lean on the people around you. I hope you all have an amazing start to your university life!