I cannot even begin to express how badly I am not over being a Week One rep. I’m chanting in my sleep. I’m tattooing my face with marker pen before I head to campus in the morning. I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to deface property belonging to Rutland Hall. You get the gist: after a week of being the most enthusiastic it’s possible for anyone to be about freshers and their arrival at university, now that they’ve all moved on to Week Two and beyond, I’ve suddenly found myself without a purpose. Oddly it would seem that within the space of seven days, guiding the young blood round Nottingham’s finest licensed establishments became my entire raison d’être, and a bloody brilliant one at that.
No nightclub floor was too adhesive for the Florence Boot freshers. No 80s rock anthem proved too corny to sing along to at a deafening volume, no fancy dress theme too obscure, no novelty item from Portland Atrium too ridiculously overpriced, and bollocks if they were ever going to get tired of Week One’s mandatory, 24 hour-a-day, anti-any-other-hall-which-happens-to-be-nearby chanting. Bollocks if they were going to back down in the face any of the bigger halls on campus either: FB seems to have a reputation for being a bit quiet, a bit sultry and mysterious, skulking round the West Entrance, loitering just outside Beeston like a chav on a BMX, but this year, by God did we hold our own. It’s worth noting that one of our freshers in particular took our good-natured (ahem) anti-Rutland banter to heart more than any other in living memory, and in no way am I condoning what he did as a result of his feelings, but suffice to say it will remain the stuff of Florence Boot legend for many years to come. If I was allowed to, I would say that I thought that the man in question’s act of vandalism was brilliant. But I’m not. So I won’t.
And now it’s all over, and the only reason I have for getting up early is if the cars going up and down Derby Road are being particularly noisy, and the only way you’ll catch me in fluorescent yellow clothing again is if I take up part-time work in motorway maintenance. I feel like a housewife whose best days are already behind her: the kids are all done being raised and before she really noticed how great it felt to have them reliant on her, they’re leaving home. Suddenly they’ve got better things to do with their lovely freshy lives than stay in touch, and shiny new Karni reps to consult for advice instead of me. They’ve found better, younger friends, friends who, just like them, are at liberty to do as they like because they’re sitting pretty in the only year of uni where anything goes because nothing really counts. Right now they’re dropping me the odd text and waving when we cross paths on campus but there’s a bitter, second-year voice somewhere in the back of my head hissing “You KNOW it’s only a matter of time before the Facebook status comments dry up and the blanking in the queue for Chicken Joe’s will begin… FEAR IT. FEAR THE INFLUENCE OF THE KARNI REP.”
I spent a week screaming at the top of my lungs that I’m “FB ‘til I die”, and somewhere along the way, while I was getting the fresh all riled up, I managed to be entirely taken in by the camaraderie myself, embarrassingly probably even more so than they were. Through what felt like early onset emphysema and a mild dose of swine flu, I screamed that mantra across campus and city alike, necessary or unnecessary, with others or alone, breaking the ban on chanting on Uni territory, consequently hiding from the Week One executive, loving every second, and meaning every word. I am FB ‘til I die, not just because I swore my eternal allegiance a year ago, but because this new batch of freshers have reminded me of why I was so proud to be a part of my hall in the first place: because it is inexplicably and indisputably full of the best people in the entire world. Fact.