I’m a second-year student now … scary! How did that happen? Everyone always says time flies but you never think they’re actually telling the truth! That got me thinking, what are all those things you take for granted as a first year? So here we are, those fresher favourites that you better take advantage of while you’re young!
Firstly, the heating. Whether you’re living on Campus East, West or Student Castle in first year, all your bills are included in your accommodation costs. This means you can have the longest showers, the hottest rooms and the brightest lights you want all day every day. I was in Goodricke College on Heslington East and let me just say, the radiators there are incredible! Make sure you fully take advantage of them before you have to live the rest of your days in your dressing gown and leavers hoodie in a cold house in second and third year – if you choose to live off-campus, that is!
Next, if you’re catered for, eat as much as you can! Now I didn’t have this luxury but no one will ever understand how envious I was watching my boyfriend finish a long day in lectures and then have someone else cook him his dinner. No washing up either, that’s the dream. The lovely people who cook all the food for catered students are really talented too so you’ll never be forced to eat burnt toast or mushy pasta like you would if you were cooking it yourself. It’s a miserable reality to fall back to earth to when you remember you have to cook for yourself from next year.
I also really miss friendly first year lectures. Of course if you’ve done your research and picked a course you love, your lectures are always going to be fun and interesting, but the atmosphere in first year modules is just really nice. Everyone’s meeting new people and learning new things and you get this overwhelming feeling of fresh knowledge; there’s so much more to learn than I could ever have dreamed! Your lecturers are so understanding and everyone’s wants to make friends – entering a lecture theatre is like walking into a room of excited puppies. By second year everyone’s more relaxed which is good but sometimes its nice to be wanted as a friend by everyone in the room!
How can we forget Freshers’ Week? This is where the Student Union, your individual Colleges and your department put on events all week for you to get to know your way around and make some friends. It’s so lovely to have so many social activities planned for you. The Language and Linguistics Department put on a meet and greet activity nearer the end of Fresher’s Week for our year so we could all go and chill out and eat cake on Friday afternoon. It was so lovely to meet the lecturers too. At school there’s such a divide between those teaching and those being taught but at University there aren’t really any boundaries. Things like meet and greets help you realise that your lecturers are humans too. Although they know a lot more about your degree than you do right now, they don’t know everything and they want to learn new things and make new friends just as much as you do!
When I was thinking of all the things I miss about first year I realized there’s one massive one I should’ve taken much more advantage of: college community. At the University of York every student is put into a college that defines where on the campus they live. As I mentioned earlier I was in Goodricke college which is on Campus East and I miss the massive sense of community so much! We were all excited first years looking for friends; you could just go and knock on the flat next door and make a new friend if you wanted to. We had college events in the nucleus (a building in the centre of the college where you can meet and hang out) like films nights, baking evenings and information talks. We had barbecues every week and so many people to just hang out with in the comfort of your own flat. Do not take for granted how easily you can have fun and feel that sense of college spirit – it’s one of the best things a fresher can do!