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Freshers is a daunting thought for some. Will I make any friends? Will my new friends be anywhere near as cool as my home mates who can flatten Fosters cans on their head? Is it true that at LSE we spend freshers reciting Keynes to one another while debating whether J.S Mill is truly a Utilitarian or Feminist? Or can he be both? For those of you caught in this pit of despair, I have prepared some pointers on how to make the most of your first few weeks.
1. EXPLORE AS MANY OPPORTUNITIES AS YOU CAN
So let’s imagine for a second that you’re Mike from south-east London and you have shaved hair and listen to grime. Or you’re Janice and just aren’t into anything that isn’t Mozart. Whoever you are, please don’t be put off going to something because you don’t think it’s ‘you’ enough.
Yeah you may be that self-confident fresher who knows he/she is merely using LSE as a stepping stone for some wider mission of world domination (aka CEO of Goldman Sachs), but why not have fun at the same time!
No better way to network than to drunk garbage talk to your new best friend of that night (who you met 5 minutes ago) on your hall’s kitchen floor about how much you miss your cute little pet chameleon Suki. And how your mum is probably not feeding that cute little Suki the perfect amount of chameleon food every evening and you are worried. Sure, it may not be the best first impression but at least you have got talking to someone and probably had a good night beforehand.
Whoever you are, give stuff a chance. Whether that stuff is a Justin Bieber remix at Saucy, a volleyball game with a group of intimidating-looking-6-foot 3rd years, or nominating yourself to rap in front of a hundred people while being given a fizzing tablet that makes your mouth froth like a giant housing bubble (economics joke- sorry), you may actually enjoy something you’d never even thought about before.
2. BE YOURSELF
You may be that strange guy who likes to cook fish fingers in the communal microwave at 2am and worry that no one will want to be your friend because the corridor stinks for the next ten days. But uni is full of people and chances are you will find someone called Barry who equally likes things that can swim and maybe he will introduce you to calming dolphin music which you can both listen to while cooking your fish fingers. Uni caters for a vast range of different personalities, so don’t be afraid to be yourself. You will naturally tend towards things that suit you, and meet similar people along the way.
3. DON’T TAKE ON TOO MUCH
Some days you may just want to lie on your bed and make yourself into a caterpillar cocoon with your duvet and watch fifty episodes of 90210 even though you watched those fifty episodes two weeks ago but it is comforting because you know what to expect and that is a reassuring thought. I totally get you. We all have those days, and not every moment of freshers has to be dedicated to finding the ‘new you’. Relaaaaax. If things get too much take a deep breath and maybe spend 5 minutes learning the Bollywood dance to Major Lazor’s ‘Lean On’ (I totally don’t do that…). You don’t want to exhaust yourself after Day Two, so it’s okay to take a breather.
4. DON’T BE SCARED TO SAY NO
Some things you will never be willing to try, I get it. Par exemple, if you’re me, you would sooner be in a pit of alligators who haven’t been fed for the past two days than play netball. Maybe that was an exaggeration, but still it brings the uneasy reminder of my 14 year-old-self quaking in her trainers while staring at the netball which may as well be a flying fish you’re that unlikely to catch it with the teacher manically screaming ‘THE BAAAAAALL, CATCH THE BAAAALL’. Point being, I just don’t want to play netball. And that’s okay. Everyone has a different idea of fun. Just look at all the options and do your best to try something new, because chances are those opportunities will seldom arise again.
5. DON’T LOSE HOPE
So you’ve just heard that Justin Bieber remix at Saucy and you didn’t like it and actually you’re pretty offended by it because you are a diehard Justin Bieber fan. Maybe it’s got you thinking this isn’t the right uni for you. But please don’t give up, give it time! Freshers week is one of a kind and things will change constantly.
Sure, it may have been a mistake to flirt at the club with the guy who lives two doors away, and yes, you may find yourself doing a little prayer every morning that you won’t run into him while making your toast in the kitchen, but time heals and soon you will find more important things to stress over. Like writing a 2000 word essay on whether there is a contradiction between Hobbes’s account of the origin of sovereignty by institution and by conquest. Whatever that means. Point being, it may take you a while to find your comfort zone, and you may feel like everyone is settling in perfectly apart from you.
For some it takes longer, and if it’s taking too long you can always ask Barry for that calming dolphin music. But seriously, the freshers experience can be a bit like a sine graph (a bumpy line with highs and lows for those of you who didn’t study maths), but with a little exploration you will find your place.