The drive-up University Road to Derwent College was the most terrifying road journey since Mad Max: Fury Road. I was a bucket full of nerves, mostly due to the infinite questions about what freshers’ and first year were going to be like and how I would adapt after my gap yah. These questions bounced in my head all through freshers’ week. But, with all the new Ikea cutlery put into the communal kitchen in Derwent and freshly bought vodka and mixers. I was as prepared as all the other freshers’ in the country were for what university was about bring.
Freshers’ began with the iconic game, Ring of Fire, led by the STYCs. It was followed on by the queue at Revs, and a trip to a get a photograph that will be your cover photo until you find more original poses to do against the wood floorboards of the wall at Revs. It was your average student night: music, drinks and horrible dancing from me. It culminated in dancing on a sticky floor full of drinks and music being pumped through your body. Then, we were just put in a Streamline taxi and taken back to Derwent, ready for the next night the following day.
As one fresher and second year now pointed out last year Unay is a place of ‘no parents, no bedtime and no vegetables’. With that saying now ingrained in my brain, university is also a place filled up to the brim with alcohol everywhere. It might be everywhere, and students drink a lot of it, but some people think it has gone too far.
Sir Anthony Seldon, educator and biographer of David Cameron, believes “many universities turn a blind eye to excessive drinking, believing that what students choose to do with alcohol, and indeed drugs, is none of their business.” Along with this view, he thinks universities should offer alternative events, which do not involve drink and drugs. Furthermore, in his report on universities, Seldon thinks that first year should take psychology chooses teaching them about their own wellbeing and how to have good mental health.
Seldon is right in that universities should be teaching students about mental health issues such as depression. This because in 2016, according to YouGov, one in four students were found to have mental health issues of one kind or another. Nevertheless, work is being done at universities across the UK, including in York, with Derwent College now having a specific position based on the wellbeing of students in their college. This is along with other initiatives run throughout the year by the university to help us with Yutalk, the doctors and your own friends to talk about it. Furthermore, the wellbeing officers are not just there to help with drunkenness, they are another place to if you do have a problem and need someone different to talk to about it.
However, it is not for Sir Anthony Seldon to lecture us on our own drinking habits as it is up to us to realize when we have taken it too far or whether we want to go to alternative events offered without alcohol available. Furthermore, we are legally adults now, we no longer have parents – as the second year noticed – helicoptering over us in freshers’ week. It goes without saying that you stick to the well-known advice which says you should drink moderately and responsibly, and have friends or be the friend to watch and care for you and others, if you do get a little too drunk. It doesn’t need another person to tell us what we have all known since we started drinking and going out.
Freshers’ week and first year will stay with you for the rest of your life, whether you go out clubbing every night or just stay in watching The Great British Bake Off with tea and friends. I will never forget first year and freshers’, and I’m pretty sure you won’t either.