There’s a certain legend cultivated around Freshers’ Week, that it should be the best and wildest week of your university experience. But although Freshers’ Week can be a lot of fun, for most people, myself included, university gets a lot better afterwards.
My first day
Arriving with my parents to move into Alcuin felt very surreal. It hit me how far from home I was, and no matter how nice the accommodation was, the dorm layout was going to take some getting used to.
When they left, I plucked up the courage to venture into the kitchen and mingle with my new flatmates. We’d had a group chat set up before arriving, so I vaguely knew who everyone was (though a Facebook profile can reveal surprisingly little). Lizzie remembered me from pun exchanges we’d had on the group chat, and we immediately hit it off.
The first day went incredibly quickly, and soon we were pre-ing for our first night out, which was held at Derwent’s Courtyard Bar. The theme was ‘animals’ with each Alcuin block going as animals corresponding with their block letter. In Q Block, we chose Queen Bees! Though it was a great night and I quickly discovered I’d a very friendly bunch of flatmates, I headed back early, exhausted from the long journey to York. As did my flatmate Beth, and we sat and had a cup of tea before turning in. Although I was very homesick, I was still having a really good time.
Freshers’ Week clubbing
Though I’m not much of a clubbing person, I was determined to get my money’s worth out of my Freshers’ wristband. This is one aspect of York’s freshers’ week which is very different to a lot of other places. At some other universities, freshers are left to their own devices to choose which clubs to go to. As there are so few clubs in York, the wristband system prevents overcrowding. It also ensures that you get to see pretty much everything that York’s nightlife has to offer.
Another unusual thing about York is that you have STYCs (Second and Third Year Contacts) looking out for you all week. Each flat has two STYCs assigned, and they’re there to help you out with any worries that you have. They make sure that everyone gets to and from the clubs safely. Though some people found this a bit overkill, I found it reassuring to know that someone was there if I wanted to head home early. Plus, it really helps to have someone take you to each club, rather than needing to rely on Google Maps. Jordan and Molly were absolutely lovely, and still say hi to us when they see us out on the town.
The next night out was to be at Kuda, with a superhero theme. We soon realised after arriving at the club that we were the only ones that had bothered with fancy dress! Regardless, it made for some great photos. Everyone around us was too busy having a good time to notice our costumes. I seldom went to Kuda after Freshers’ Week as the music isn’t to my taste, but at least I can say I gave it a chance.
Introductory lectures and other activities
I don’t know how I managed to go out five times that week, considering that’s more than the total times that I’ve been out in my first term of second year. Did I mention that the English department also had introductory lectures during my Freshers’ Week? If your course has these, don’t skip them to stay in bed. These lectures give a great overview of the module. They’re often hosted in places where you’ll have your lectures in future – attending helps you get your bearings.
If you aren’t sure about the clubbing aspect of Freshers, don’t feel pressured into it. There were plenty of non-drinking activities on offer like bowling, trampolining and movie nights. I think that the STYC system helps those, like me, who don’t feel so confident on nights out to give it a go safely.
After Freshers’ Week
It’s likely, whether you have a great or a subpar Freshers’ Week, you’ll have better times ahead. For me, Freshers was certainly a week I won’t forget. But once I’d settled in properly, I was able to enjoy nights out and other social events more.
Hopefully, you’ll love your course, and you’ll have the chance to meet loads more lovely people outside of your flat. There’s so much of York to explore that a singular week simply can’t do it justice!