As freshers week hits yet another group of students I can’t help but look back on my life as a student. Although I’m still in education it’s that excitement of leaving home for the first time and the concept of what the future may hold which I envy those starting this year. It’s true to say a pang of jealousy hits me when I see status updates of excited friends who are returning to University or just starting out.
I never had a gap year, so going to university was the first chance I had to learn things for myself. growing up in what can only be described as the private all girls school bubble I’ve got to admit my teenage years were pretty dull, containing few life experiences so I was enthralled with what was to be found in what seemed like such a grown up environment.
In chosing my university I was inevitably attracted to somewhere with a renowned “banging” student life. I originally wanted to go up north to get as far away as possible (it soon became clear, for reasons which I will not go into, that this would have been an unwise decision in the long run…) but after viewing Exeter this dream was soon undermined by the pull of the south. Exeter is a beautiful city with a fantastic campus-those who know otherwise, feel free to prove me wrong, i only saw it on an afternoon of shopping with my mum! so i was devastated when I got rejected.
My mum always used to say things happened for a reason. She liked things like that. And in her life she did have a lot of things which could indicate some sort of fated path. Things just seemed to work out for her I guess. Fortunately for me she was right and rejection from Exeter led me to some of the best 3 years of my life. September came round and Southampton bound I travelled.
Many believe freshers week to be full of drunken encounters and the standard “f*** a fresher” shenanigans. I can safely say, not in a geeky way, but this did not happen for me! although I did end up in a relationship with one of our freshers reps during the first term and I cannot express how cool I felt to be going out with a second year and to be hanging out with his friends!. Nevertheless this was not a long relationship as I ended up doing my usual useless at relationships thing (little did i know that this would continue throughout the next three years including leading to some of my own upset. Lucky for you I will not go into my relationships at uni at this point, maybe a later date will allow me to bore you with al the drama in that area, let me tel you one hing,it as not smile!). But he did pull through in the first week when I got left in the middle of Oceana on my own and had no idea where I was or how to get home! But to be honest, freshers week was just so busy and took forever to get served (don’t even get me started on carnage!). Reliving it in second year was better as I knew where to go and who to go to get served. I guess wasnt as out going as some of the others at this stage.
First year was fun but if im honest there’s not much to tell, I hung out with people from halls and it was your average away from home situation. I learnt that I was fairly adaptable and didn’t need to be at home all the time. However my disorganisation and dippyness left a lot to be desired and often led to me sobbing down the phone to my parents when I thought I had lot something…again! Many a time did I wake up thinking I’d lost my purse, student id, driving license, credit card and all. Only to find a few months down the line that a friends had all my cards in his wallet. To this day neither of us know why or how this happened….I know other halls had massive cliques but I don’t think i was at that stage confidence wise to be part of something like that at that time and I was happy with my 1st year. I thought it was amazing at the time and that was all that mattered. Although looking back I think I could have had a better time. But that’s in comparison to other people who I met later and by that time, lets face it, who cares, we managed to work our way into a variety and diverse group of people by the end of our three years and for that I am truly grateful.
2nd year was easily better. I had finally managed to work my way around, found a lovely house in the perfect locations with a fantastic group of people. I even managed to get a job at a local club; apparently one of the worst clubs in the world but what I’d like to call my second home. Literally who cared about Oceana and clubs in town when you had Jesters. It is famous. A place you have to visit. you either love it or you hate it and as you can see I love it! In my final year I left but was informed that I was one of the few people who had left and become more integrated into the staff. Oh Yeah!
What I regret about my first year is not really joining any sports or clubs. Luckily my house was extremely sporty and I was roped into joining our lacrosse club. Failing ball skills and lack of coordination, in addition to little interest in sport itself did not bode well for the physical side of the sport as much as i would have liked but the social side, wow. Seriously, AU night was “the one”.
We gradually built up a sturdy group of friends. We were lucky to be living in the middle of two groups of our friends. Belmont road was the place to be. Belmont became the hub of all social events including, im proud to say, our after grad ball party. It was home to stupid phrases and dramatic love interests but we loved it. I’ll tell you what, leaving that house at the end of third year was a sad time. so many memories. i know that even some of the boys could not enter into the lounge after it had been stripped of all that we had built up.
2nd and third year seem to merge into one to be honest. We lived with who can only be described as an absolute arse but im pretty sure there was something decent in him deep down. and being rinsed by the rugby boys was often a common occurence making a compliment from them seem like the most amazing thing ever. Us girls often found ourselves telling each other, “oh my god did you hear what Tom said today, he’s being so nice!” while most other people who did not live with us say “err really?!” What can I say, you gotta love those Southampton rugby boys. I most certainly love Wessex. (I’d like to explain here and now that this is because we lived with 3 rugby boys and the rest of our friends were from the rugby team. Pure banter genious’….some of them…ha).
One of my favourite stories from 2nd year is when my housemate put his rugby fresher into hospital after he willingly drank way too much wine! that story will go down in history! another was when our house got bricked by a couple arguing across the road after a night out and there were ambulances, police, the works! but our next door neighbour came back with some girl and didn’t even ask what had happened, just continued to walk into the house to continue his night of passion! N.B. NO one was hurt in the making of these stories.
It’s amazing how one house can be host to just so many memories. My room in particular got egged one summer by our friends next door thinking it would be a funny joke. Honestly, it was a joke, it wasn’t like that scene out of Never Been Kissed were a geeky Drew Barrymore gets egged by the most popular guy in school before prom. “BAV!” they shouted, next thing i knew my window was caked in it. it did not come off! Another time was the boys fundraiser. us girls were sitting in the living room and before we knew it the entire SURFC team were in our lounge asking us to sew up their army costumes. it was like a scene from the full monty.
A particular favourite evening of mine would be a Belmont rendition of secret santa. Pick names out of a hat and buy that person ridiculous clothes they have to wear to the SU one night. its bad enough that no one actually goes to the SUSU club but going in the most unflattering clothes was a nightmare. I will never forget the sack my housemate bought me to wear. yes a sack. Bright red with the words, “dear santa, ive been a very good girl this year…well almost…” written across the front. thanks mike!
I think 3rd year hit some of the boys a little too much and they went on to experiment on drugs and whatnot. Personally that sort of thing never appealed to me so i left them to it, to the delight of my parents i might add. One of my biggest regrets of all is the way our relationships changed after those few months, I started to argue with a really close friend of mine and anything between us was somewhat irreplaceable after that. It has never been the same again and I regret that but it was his choice and I was not there to stop him. No matter how much we tried to be the voice of reason. And things change, that’s something we all have to accept sooner or later (Although this part of my uni life is probably the moment i will look back on and still regret even though there was little i could do myself) But they were fine. It was just a bit of experimentation and nothing bad came from it.
I know parents worry for their children going away and the temptations that await them in the big bad world. But seriously, if you have a strong mind and are sensible there’s no need to worry. Most of the time uni is a safe place to experiment. You’re around people who have grown to care for you and lets face it, it’s probably their 1st time with that sort of thing anyway so really everyone is there for each other if things go wrong but as I say I could be wrong, I cannot speak for myself but this is what I observed.
There’s so much to say. So many experiences to look back on, relationships to ponder over and probably a Jaeger mister or two less to drink. Leaving was sad but when you reach the day where you can say I’m ready to move on that’s when you can go back and reflect on it all properly. This happened to me earlier this month. A sudden load was taken off my mind when i realised I can live without those guys who can messed me around, like it or not I can live without Jesters, and sooner or later I will find a place that will be just as good or something even better. University is most definitely the best time of a person’s life and no doubt I will be back at some point sooner or later to divulge more about my experiences (whilst hoping not to bore you at the same time!)