Rating a year in the life of an on-campus Fresher
Christopher Murphy talks to some of his fellow first years about their initial university experiences as their Fresher year draws to a close.
For many of us, our first year is almost over. It’s been a period of change in our live – altering where we live, who we know, what we do with our time. While everyone’s first year experience is different, each is probably more similar than most of us would think. So I asked around a group of fellow first year students to see how they lived, relaxed and felt about their first year as a whole. Most of us, me included, didn’t know terribly much aboutKeeleUniversitybefore we came here. We knew it looked nice, had a high student satisfaction rate and focused on dual honours degrees. None of us were quite sure what to expect, the general guess being summarised best by Graeme Milling, English and American literature student, as “read a lot, drink a lot.”
We seemed to know we’d be meeting new friends though, but the question was where? Certainly, there’d be no shortage of pools to choose from. The people I spoke to seemed to co-operate just fine with the people they were lumped together with. Some groups became like new families while others just existed in the same space barely interacting, but most people fell somewhere in between. The usefulness of on-campus blocks was succinctly expressed by Jude Sheppard, Biomedical Science student, in that the block situation “makes you make friends.” Blocks mixed freely with little cliquishness, even with off-campus first-years, who just “make friends with everyone” according to History and Law student, Allison Coles.
Even in the least harmonious homes, the dreaded spectre of social isolation was avoided by the sheer variety of events and places to meet other people. The effectiveness of societies varied, mainly because everyone either didn’t turn up to what they’d signed up for (or didn’t sign up at all in a few cases). Particular stand-outs societies in terms of their integrative capacity among those I asked were KRAP, Drama, the Yearbook and the many sports offered by the Athletics Union. They planted the seeds of countless first-year friendships. For people who either didn’t connect with their block-mates and/or were uninvolved with societies or sports, there were always the people who also studied what they studied. That close friendships came from here is hardly surprising, after all, you’d be hard pressed to not find someone who had nothing in common with everyone else on their course.
While partying and drinking are viewed by some as essential to the first-year student experience, there are people who beg to differ. For example Emma Carter, Psychology and Philosophy student, said “[I] thought it would be very difficult to find friends considering I didn’t drink, was quiet, [and] didn’t like clubbing but it turns out it was easier than I thought to find like-minded people!”
Both the on-campus rooms seemed to have served people well. Rooms were spacious and needs were met, put pithily by Xixi Lee, Media and Philosophy student, “If you can’t handstand in your room, it’s a cubicle.” The conditions of the kitchens were more dependent on the users though. Lowenna Lucock, Midwifery student, warns those who follow her to “be prepared to live with pigs”. To the credit of the first-year students I spoke to, privacy and boundaries were respected although “friendly pranks definitely become an issue if you’re silly enough to leave your room unlocked for any period of time”, recounted Eleanor Samuel, English and American Literature student.
Everyone felt their academic achievements were good and many were happy with their social development and growth as a person. There were a few regrets; rather there were resolutions to be more sociable in the second year. Overall, the first-year students I spoke to have had a good time and we can only wait in anticipation for our second year.
This article has been reproduced the Deputy-Editor Design from Concourse 2011/12. The original author is created above.