As incredible as the university adventure is, you can never really prepare for the many enormous, sweeping changes to your everyday life; new people, new environments, new experiences and new challenges. For green, fresh-faced first years, these changes will come as shocks initially. And despite thinking that, at eighteen, you’ve seen and done it all, these changes will hit you like a brick wall. Here are some of the problems you will face as a fresher…
Convenience: a word synonymous with students. This mindset can seep into all aspects of student life; and none more so than one’s food intake. Whether it’s an unwillingness to make the effort to buy and prepare nutritious meals, a lack of funds to do so, or the inability to actually cook, it normally means calorie-packed frozen food and pitiful, mushy microwave meals. And when you couple this with consistent alcohol indulgence, your metabolism can deteriorate faster than a soufflé on a hot day in hell. You won’t realise how bad the situation is until you return home for Christmas, and a distant relative comments on your three chins. Time for a salad?
The subject of halls could fill an entire article alone, but we’ll just draw attention to the main issues of shared accommodation. Much like dietary requirements, cleanliness and tidiness quickly become peripheral issues when it comes to a new student’s priorities, meaning your communal kitchen can turn into a landfill by the end of freshers’ week. There’s also the incessant noise, loud music and paper-thin walls to contend with. During the term time heights of debauchery, your halls of residence will feel more like a beachfront Ibiza apartment than a peaceful student haven. Don’t worry, it’s only for 10 months!
With frequent late nights and a random lecture pattern, you can soon find yourself keeping the body clock of a vampire - not seeing daylight for weeks during the winter months. When you’re sat eating a bowl of cereal at three in the afternoon, or thinking about what to have for dinner at midnight, you’ll miss having a parent to drag you out of bed every morning. It does work for some students, though. If you can embrace the thick, black bags under the eyes and the zombified demeanour, perhaps you can use the evenings productively; exercising, studying or spending a night at the library, for example. Failing that, just turn off the snooze button and hibernate until January…
Chicken costs how much?! Having always had parents to do the shopping back at the childhood nest, the majority of students have absolutely no concept of how much anything costs - making budgeting a genuine nightmare for freshers. And no, things don’t come cheap these days. Delicacies such as cheese will become unobtainable, and you might have to decide between eating and washing your clothes from time to time. When your hefty rent payments leave you with a few hundred pounds to last the term - and the intensity of your degree doesn’t allow for a part-time job - developing a fondness for beans on toast might be your only option.
A classic. We’ve all turned our favourite white dress or t-shirt pink after a naïve, ill-judged washing cycle. Of course, the art of successful laundry is something you could’ve easily picked up at home; but why bother when your mum was always on hand to wash your smalls? Besides, shrinking every garment you own is a valuable lesson, and one that you only need once. We don’t recommend turning everything inside out for extra days of wear, but it’s your prerogative if you can live with the bewildered looks and mockery from your coursemates.
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