With the term now well under way, and the general Freshers’ circus fast disappearing into the rear-view mirror for another year, I’ve had some time for a spot of reflection.
When I arrived at university last year, I had already read countless articles telling me what to expect. This didn’t slow upon turning up, with seemingly anyone who’d ever sported a Willow stamp wasting no time implanting their sage advice into my clueless fresher noodle. A year on and I realise that I have now become a part of this endless cycle, not just through that exercise in human sheep herding they call STYCing, but also by my contributions to this year’s vast sea of Freshers’ content that we in the campus media do love so much.
Advice and information then, aren’t at all difficult to come upon as a first year university student, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. But having finally now settled into the altogether different kettle of fish that is second year, I’m starting to feel not just faintly aggrieved at the lack of information available on what I should expect this year, but also painfully aware of the irony of having spent the last few weeks impersonating a guru on all things university, now finding myself being sideswiped by life in a 4-bedroom semi in Osbaldwick.
For example, nobody, not even those acquaintances of mine who had experienced second year already, felt the need to inform me that all of my house furniture would essentially fall apart within the first few weeks of autumn term, having been purchased from some sort of Ikea equivalency located in a Nicaraguan shanty town. Nor that first year, where nothing is ever more than ten minute walk away, makes you lazier than Paul Gascoigne living in a meat pie factory with a year’s supply of Carling, meaning you end up feeling like Ernie Shackleton every time you complete the routine journey from house to campus.
On the upside, being second year does give you a certain gravitas, and the opportunity to see university from the other side of the fence. Wearing the STYC t-shirt instead of the Fresher one, sitting on the chairs behind the desks at Freshers’ Fair and welcoming the latest batch of newcomers into your societies, in which you’ll probably never be more important or influential than this year, due to the apparently unavoidable side effect of third year forcing you to move into a tent pitched outside JB Morrell.
But ultimately, it doesn’t get you much. I had some sort of cockamamie dream last year that my student media scribbling’s would eventually get me recognised in the street, cause women to throw themselves at me and presumably ask me to autograph their cleavage in the Willow queue.
In truth, every rung I climb gives me more of one thing, work. In terms of name recognition, I’m convinced there are people in this newspaper who still don’t know who I am, and in terms of impressing women with my achievements, I’d have more luck trying to convince them I’m the man who invented the pencil sharpener, and they’d probably be more impressed.