This is it. This is your whole year on Facebook. Or most of it. Discounting those who don’t have Facebook, obviously. Quickly scour through your pictures, think twice about giving a blow by blow account of the saga that is your packing experience. Freshers’ group etiquette is difficult to judge but there some very basic pitfalls to avoid. Oh, and the really helpful second years… they’re judging you.
Stupid questions will come back to haunt you.
For most it’s the excitement of a notification followed by a groan of disappointment. Yeah, people have questions; no one knows what to expect. But no, college doesn’t do your laundry for you. Yes, bring a bike. And saying you might bring a Segway instead isn’t funny or going to make you many cyber friends in advance. Frankly, you look like a bit of a prat. The contents of your freshers’s group never die. You will probably be reminded somewhere down the line, when renowned as the college’s biggest rugby player, that you once asked if you needed to bring an ironing board and an apron. The stupid questions carry on once you start too, and probably well on into second year. There is the tired, nay exhausted, frape, but asking a couple of hundred-odd people if you can borrow a pin gets old really very quickly.
Eagerness is embarrassing.
The problem with Freshers’ groups is that they breed keenness and, if there’s one thing you don’t want to appear if you’re going for that air of disaffected cool, it’s keen. Apathetic and disinterested are much better for your social standing. This is by no means restricted to incoming freshers. For every interviewee who posts a picture of their college from the last time they’ve been up (still looking fundamentally the same as it has done for the last 500 years, although perhaps augmented with a squirrel/snow/large group of Japanese tourists), there’s that second year who just has the be the first one to answer any questions. Sometimes this turns into an arms race, with two people frantically trying to be the quickest to reply or the most helpful. They say it’s good intentions, but chances are it’s just to make sure they’re the most recognisable one on the RnB floor of Park End…
You think you’re a LAD? This will impress no one.
We’ve all been there: this is your very first opportunity to stake your claim as your college’s premier LAD/ LADETTE, and it’s time to get in there first. Stories of your banter will be whispered in hushed tones as you stagger around the quad, nursing a hangover and a bruise from that particularly brutal match or race. It’ll be ok though, because while you stagger you’ll have at least one, maybe three, other freshers doting on your every move, just waiting to hear stories of your intrepid derring-do, the time that you scored that try or the time you got so drunk you were thrown out of three clubs and STILL pulled. Trust me when I say this, the time to demonstrate your laddish tendencies is not the freshers group.
Don’t brag, you’re not that great.
You’ve managed to get yourself an Oxford offer. You either got lucky or are genuinely intelligent. Well done. It might come as a surprise to you then that every single incoming fresher is in the same position as you. You are not exceptional. Gently informing your peers that you managed to achieve 100 UMS marks in your Chemistry January exams will just piss people off. Sugar coating it with humility by insisting that you are “so surprised” or that you don’t know how you “managed it” is even worse. You will not come across as a shining beacon of intelligence but as very insecure.