Cautionary tales of fresher fails

Former freshers tell all about the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences from THAT week

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Arriving with a reputation

How could I forget my first night in Oxford? I’d basically spent the whole summer shitposting in the offer holders’ group, and had gained a rep of sorts. At subject drinks, a third-year historian told me that I shouldn’t want to be a ‘BNOC’ because “everyone knows of you, and no one knows you”. I was instantly reminded of Gilderoy Lockhart’s words of advice in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets: “Fame is a fickle friend, Harry: celebrity is as celebrity does, remember that!” I never could quite live it down and spent the whole of freshers’ week thinking, “what have I done?”

I spent my first night out dodging awkward lean-ins

My freshers’ week was a hot mess of drinking, dancing and regrettable life choices that somehow managed to end up being very enjoyable. Naturally, I went out every night on principle, and each night contained a golden moment of embarrassment: peeing down an alley, stealing a bow tie, and even attempting to pole dance in Plush – but I’ll focus on the first. After numerous shots, I was delightfully binned in Emporium. On a break from my sixth form boyfriend, I’d spent the night dodging awkward lean-ins and dancing away from meaningful eye contact.

Finally, I was caught. A well-timed snog from the boy I’d been chatting to sent me running. I was in no mood to keep dancing, so it was a miracle when I bumped into another fresher from my college. We left the club for a drunken adventure round Oxford, during which my new friend attempted to teach me how to pick locks with 0% success (I now know he can’t pick locks for shit). We wound up back at our college, lying on the quad, laughing about the ridiculous fines we’d receive if caught, and having DMCs till it got too cold to stay out.

Going clubbing for the first time

Before you start reading this, it is important to know two things: I am not cool, and I hate clubbing. However, when coming to university, I decided I was going to make myself like clubbing, and thus become cool. This is the story of exactly how that went. Actually, there is no particular narrative to the first portion of Monday evening. Essentially, I just consumed alcohol in the desperate hope that it would make the rest of the night fun (spoiler: it didn’t). We set off to the club and I was in high spirits, laughing and trying to chat with everyone on the way to make some new friends before the week was out. The first hour was totally alright (I didn’t love it – why would I?) but, shock of shocks, I seemed to have made a club-friend. This was both a blessing and a curse because we kept buying rounds of Jägerbombs for each other. I wasn’t drunk, but the copious quantities of Red Bull and all the corresponding sugar did not serve me well. I had to lie down in the street to avoid throwing up until a FREP took me back to college. At 9am the next morning, I had to sit very, very still at University registration. I did not go out again.

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The scouts found a condom in my room

My scout refused to clean my room for a week because I left a used condom in my bin on the first night of freshers – I had to buy them lots of chocolate to earn forgiveness.

I got with a total stranger

On the Wednesday of freshers’ week, I went to Emporium and within 20 minutes had lost my friends. I found myself in an inescapable crowd of total strangers, but got the impression they were second years. I saw a guy I thought I recognised and suddenly ‘realised’ he was my college dad. I introduced myself, referred to him as “daddy” and my memory is a little fuzzy from here on. Later, sober, I realised this was not in fact my college dad. Not at all. Total stranger.

A late night detour

It was a particularly intoxicated evening, post-Blinds, and I decided, upon seeing the queue for Bridge, that I simply couldn’t last 40 minutes of waiting, especially with a bladder full of wine. Of course, the logical thing to do was not to run into Spoons to find a loo, but to return back to college. The guy I’d been walking down to the club with agreed, and we headed back arm in arm. Upon arrival, I realised that I seriously needed to pee, and said I’d just run to the loos and meet him “by his room”. Unfortunately, it turned out I had no idea where his room was, and although he sent me very clear directions, my wine-sozzled brain interpreted these as cryptic clues leading me through corridors that had become a maze. After wandering through several quads, I met another person, and decided to explore the college with them, leaving the poor first guy to worry about/look for me. The next morning, I found the very clear messages and did my best to apologise for my behaviour, but sadly nothing came of this adventure.

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Spotted in the nude

My room had a pleasingly big window, but not a great view. It overlooked a large building on the other side of the quad, which to my untrained eye appeared fairly empty. Over the course of freshers’ week, I did what any normal fresher would do: showered, dressed up for nights out, changed my clothes at various points. All very innocent, or so I thought. Fast forward a week, and I was sitting opposite a friendly second year boy on our college football crew date. We were having a chat about which buildings we lived in, and it soon transpired that – *oh God* – he lived in the building opposite me. Turns out, his kitchen was the floor below my room, and enjoyed a crystal clear view into my bedroom. “O-hh,” he exhaled, the light dawning in his troubled eyes, “You’re the naked chick!” I haven’t been out since.

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