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Freshers’ Week – the highs and the lows

For about a month prior to coming to Oxford, I was a bundle of nerves. Freshers’ Week would be “a blur” I was told by nostalgic second-years – your first taste of Oxford, but yet entirely different from any other week here, no matter how you choose to spend it. Upon arrival, you’ll probably be subjected to an uncomfortable meet and greet over tea and biscuits in the JCR – which for me, was definitely the low point of Freshers.

I had come straight from lugging pretty much all my worldly possessions up three flights of stairs, and was acutely aware that I was bright red and soaked with sweat – definitely not the first impression I envisaged. Opting instead for a tactical shower, I then spent the next forty-five minutes too nervous to go back down to the JCR.

But things improved. Over dinner in Hall, I met a group of people that I immediately meshed with and proceeded to stick to them like glue for the remainder of the week – and the entire year as it turned out. Whilst this won’t be everyone’s experience during Freshers’, as you drift from one activity to the next you’ll quickly find some people you can at least tolerate for the next five days.

Whilst lots of people complain about the initial Freshers’ Week essay, in all honesty I found this to be a welcome source of structure. After enduring two days of the abject strangeness that is listening to Mr. Brightside on a near-constant loop in Bridge, I was relieved to meet the other students in my subject and our tutors. Although apprehensive, (especially given the essay topic was Bleak House, a novel I am yet to read in any detail), I remember feeling glad to have something concrete to focus on.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of freedom we had. Despite the ‘whirlwind’ stereotype of Freshers’ Week, I felt I still had time to unpack, adjust to my surroundings, get to grips with my first essay, and sample a taste of Oxford’s sophisticated nightlife. Yes, I still was victim to a bout of the inescapable Freshers’ Flu, but it was still very much ‘my week’ and one that I will definitely remember forever.

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