Largely hailed as the “best week of your life”, Freshers’ is like a year’s worth of forced fun packed into seven days, with freebies and screaming teenagers and a constant underlying fear of upcoming classes.
Needless to say, I wasn’t overly excited about returning to The Bubble for my fourth year. None of the main events caught my eye, and a week of films and pizza with my housemates seemed more appealing than braving the streets of St. Andrews. Then, while talking to a friend about a missed craft event, I caught myself saying “Ah well, there’s always next year.” But for me, there really isn’t. So I decided in a haze of paranoia about ageing and the real world to grab St Andrews by the (many wonderful charity and society) balls.
Bracing myself for inevitable sweat and forced conversations, I braved the Freshers’ Fayre, signing up for everything from Craft Soc to Opera Society. Unlike fresher me, I’m actually reading the emails and going to events. To my surprise, the visions I had of awkward writers’ meetings and tense rehearsals couldn’t have been further from the truth. At every event and social I went to, the committees were helpful, welcoming and inclusive, whether I was singing, crafting or learning about fundraising. Though I know that won’t keep up with all of the societies I signed up for, I’m really glad I at least tried them.
In my eternal pursuit of freebies, I also took part in the scavenger hunt run by Student Services and the giveaway event run by StAnd Re-use. My thrifty urges were more than satisfied, and queueing and running around taking embarrassing selfies in front of cat statues turned out to really be worth it. My team ended up winning this scavenger hunt, so those ten miles we walked about town really paid off as we now reap the rewards (i.e. free food). At the recycling event I even got baking trays, kitchenware and stationery to add to my continued attempts at looking like an adult.
Uni flies by, and every year before this I was full of excuses. In first year I concentrated on making friends. In second year I focussed on the few societies I was a part of. By third year, Freshers’ was dominated by adoption panic and actual coursework.
So here I am, a fourth year and finally taking part in all St. Andrews has to offer. (Apart from sport, as it would take me another four years to prepare to do anything physically demanding). 2016 was my last real chance to experience the frustrating, strange and overwhelming week that is Freshers’, and I took away a lot more than I had in previous years. I’ve decided to pursue writing, and I’ve pushed myself to do things I’m passionate about and to meet new people.
So if you feel like you didn’t push yourself enough during Freshers’, or want to try something out but didn’t quite manage it in your first week, just remember: It’s never too late.