Anthem from a Doomed Youth

New columnist hopes you’ve had a super-amazing, splendid and phenomenal Freshers’ Week

Greetings, fresher! I shake you warmly by the hand, except actually I don’t because this is Freshers’ Week and by now you’ve probably got syphilis. Or the plague. Or something new and exciting they’ll name after you.

Assuming you haven’t got this newspaper so you can fashion a crude nest with it as you stalk coots through the underbrush for food (student debts and all that) you’ll have a room by now. Already, you’ll have filled up your duck-soaked patch of concrete and insect nests with the usual accoutrements: a tangle of fairy lights to stick it to The Man and his fascist fire safety regime, a wall full of photos of friends and more cheese-graters than you’ll probably ever use while you’re here (so one cheese-grater, basically).

You’ll have met your flatmates! You’ll also have met your STYCs – some of whom might have provided a night of scandalous passion if you’re into mild authority and shirts with names written on them. Drunk on the thrill of finally being able to buy alcohol, and also on drinks, you’ll have embarked on a magical plethora of games like ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Never Have I Ever’ and ‘Drink Until People Stop Asking Me What Degree I’m Doing’.

Incidentally, yeah, the three acceptable topics of conversation for the next two weeks are ‘where do you come from?’, ‘what college are you in?’ and ‘what course do you do?’, endlessly looping like a broken sat-nav or the world’s easiest round of The Chase. Feel proud if you remember about ten names by the end of the week, and just smile and nod if anyone asks you if you know where Witney is.

And together, you’ll all have headed out into the bowels of York’s nightlife for a week, wandering around clubs you’ll never visit again while pledging undying allegiance to whichever college let you in like a sobbing war veteran saluting a flag. You’ll have had some fun, made some friends and created new memories. Or possibly one single, blurred-out memory. Of the vague smell of facepaint and shame.

You’ll have had some fun, made some friends and created some new memories. Or possibly one single, blurred-out memory

So by now, you’re probably playing host to more species than Jurassic World. Not to worry – everyone else is probably the same by now, having collected pestilence like Pokemon cards, and soon every one of your lectures will be half-drowned in a sea of sputtering coughs, as if accompanied by a slowly dying orchestra.

Not to worry, though, because that’s pretty much it for settling in. There’s Freshers’ Fair – where you can get coaxed in by the student-summoning incantation of “FREE CUPCAKES”, frantically shed your email address at everyone like a threatened tarantula, and get emails from the Skydiving Society for the next three years. But then, unfortunately, people are going to start inconsiderately insisting you get some goddamn work done.

You’ll be able to see where that road leads by studying your local third-years. They’re the ones you might see stalking the halls of JB Morrell like the Ghost of Dissertations Yet To Come, wearing the expression of a polar bear pacing its enclosure just before it decides to lunge at a tourist and get shot.

But until then, you should be alright. Good luck!

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