There is no ideal way for students to approach Freshers’ Week

or an unrivalled experience of socialising, giving students the chance to meet an immensely broad cross section of people. For a few weeks, students are faced with seemingly suspiciously high levels of interaction; everyone seems to want to know each other. Yet, cynicism should be cast aside. “What’s your name, where you from, what you studying”? A perpetual rotation of similar questions that will take you from bar to bar, club to club, riding high on the thrill that you are not just getting the pints in with new friends, but, that you have also left home.
There is a preconceived notion of how Freshers’ Week should be experienced, one that although for some provides a framework for meeting friends which they may know for years, can, for others, fuel a sense of heightened expectations. One where friends are quickly made; where any capacity for homesickness is absent; where niches are immediately found. This can easily turn out not to be the case.
There is no consistency or universality in students’ experience of Freshers’ Week; there is no c’correct’ approach. No amount of marketing should let you think otherwise. However, this should be embraced. If you are dancing the night away at the Big Cheese, and feel that hedonistically downing VKs, and attempting to join your new friend’s passionate rendition of S Club 7’s nuanced tunes is not quite the night out for you, then fear not. There are plenty of places to go out in Edinburgh. You may not be living with, or even near, your friends in First year, but luckily Edinburgh University is in fact a remarkably small campus, where students ultimately live a hair’s breath away from each other.
Group mentalities predominate throughout Freshers’ week; it can sometimes feel as if you are simply following the herd. This can help students to socialise with others who are effectively put in the same boat. Equally, however, it can create a restrictive experience, whereby groups of individuals with different interests socialise together, arguably at times for a sense of security, but which prevents these students from exploring their own curiosities.
Freshers’ Week, although positively embraced by many, can impose heightened expectations upon students, which may transpire to be unsatisfied in the short-term. The collective mania of Freshers’, whereby meeting large groups of people, in a very short space of time, means some individuals can be subsumed under the sheer pace of socialising. Unfamiliar faces and the outward happiness of many other students, who seem to have adapted quicker than others can lead to underwhelming comparison.
Students will begin University undoubtedly eager to broaden their horizons, make new friends, and live independently for the first time in their lives. Yet, this eagerness is reinforced by a sense of pressure to swiftly adapt, to what is certainly a large, new environment, which may not be as easily capitalised on by some as it is by others.
It has to be acknowledged that not all students will find their feet as quickly as they would like to. It is not the case that the people you immediately become friends will define you for the next four years. There is plenty of time, and indeed, there are an abundance of people who will share your interests. It is simply quite hard to cherry pick individuals from a student body of 30,000 people to join you in a session at the pub in your first week. You can embrace the diversity of other students’ interests, whilst finding friends who share your own.
Everyone eventually adapts, it just takes a bit of time. When it does click, you will see this bizarre week in a new light.

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