Tom Fennelly: My shit week so far

Tom shares his thoughts about freshers

Photo Credit: Kate Mitchell

Photo Credit: Kate Mitchell

Welcome, dickheads.
There is a certain amount of animosity that that everyone has for freshers, so, in a slight deviation to the usual content of this column, I’d like to dedicate this one to the new intake of dickheads that are about to grace our University.

For another year, all of the incumbent students of this fine institution will, once again, be embarrassed and considerably irritated by the alcohol and banter-fueled antics of the fresh-faced dickheads we now have to share a city with.

Of course, freshers aren’t actually dickheads; they’re just labelled as such because of an underlying jealousy and a begrudging of the previous generations of freshers. Everyone was a dickhead once, a phase many of you haven’t seemed to have grown out of.

Needing only 40 per cent to pass a year that doesn’t count to your degree, the incentives are certainly there to piss about in your own filth for a year while you whittle away your student loan on Lucia cocktails, strawpedoing (which I’m sure will be the next verb to be added to the OED) bottles of Merlot and trying to befriend campus geese.

There are certain things that I don’t miss about being a fresher, however. Comparing Oxbridge rejection stories certainly got tiresome, for instance. Playing Top Trumps with gap years is equally as draining (“Well I went to Camp America and walked fat kids by a lake”, “Well I went to Bangladesh and built a school for the children”). Admittedly, I found that there was a lot more fun in placing bets on who will sleep with who on your floor; or, as it’s more colloquially known as, shitting on your own doorstep. That being said, you can top yourself off as chief dickhead by using Uni Baggage’s latest service called ‘Very Important Fresher.’ It offers students the chance to arrive to their halls in a supercar, helicopter, private jet, or even a horse and carriage in the ultimate game of decadent bourgeois one-upmanship. Why not go a step further and turn up in something more quirky, like a hearse. Your credibility will certainly turn up in a hearse when you land a helicopter on top of one of Derwent’s many quadrilateral buildings.

Yet for us returners in second and third year (or fourth year if you delayed going back into the real world by cycling round France and teaching kids English – I think it’s called a ‘year in industry’), life is a hell of a lot more scary.

When I returned back to my new house to finally settle in, I could barely open my door for the mountain of post, most of which were utility companies threatening to take us to court unless we paid them their money. Further inspection of the house showed that the boiler didn’t work and that the shower that didn’t rely on the boiler had two settings: off, and a level of radioactive heat that most Geiger counters wouldn’t go near.

Then there’s bumping into all the people you tried to avoid last year, with each awkward hello always being followed by the inevitable question: “good summer?” The people, I find, that pose this question don’t actually have any interest in your summer; rather, they want you to politely ask the question back so that they can gloat about their cushy PR internship or the article they got published in the Mirror and the job they’ve got lined up the day after they graduate. I tend not to give them the pleasure.

Anyway, I guess the message that I’m trying to get across is that freshers need to take full advantage of being a dickhead as much as possible because you’re only a fresher once. If there’s any time to be a dickhead at uni, it’s your first year. And if anyone gives you grief, it’s because it’s inherently rooted in an undying lust for another a year of ultimate liberation. But in the mean time, fresher, think of the rest of us who are sat quietly in their cold rooms, drinking beer, listening to Robbie Williams collaborations and patiently waiting for the next Pink Floyd album whilst desperately trying to think up a dissertation question. Or is that just me?

FENN’S FUN FRESHERS FACT: Only Morrison’s shopping bags will fit the bin in your campus room perfectly.

One comment

  1. 3 Oct ’14 at 5:44 pm

    Sam Hickford

    “It offers students the chance to arrive to their halls in a supercar, helicopter, private jet, or even a horse and carriage in the ultimate game of decadent bourgeois one-upmanship. Why not go a step further and turn up in something more quirky, like a hearse. Your credibility will certainly turn up in a hearse when you land a helicopter on top of one of Derwent’s many quadrilateral buildings.”
    I’m not some twatty student journo back-patter: with that in mind, I just wanted to comment that this paragraph made me laugh a lot. You are a marvellous stream of gold in a concrete wasteland.

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