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Ronan Sullivan: Freshers’ Column #1

The Oxford English Dictionary defines fresher as a “young frog”. In many ways, we are all young frogs. Born small into the big pond flailing, thrust into a world we know nothing of, battling to stay afloat amidst the copious amounts of liquid swirling around us (the liquid in our case being Jaeger bombs, VK, and piss). Another definition is “One who or that which comes fresh”. Being from London, I normally only heard “fresh” next to either “vegetables” or “crepe”. That was it.

I jest. The real definition we’ve come to know and love is one that derives from the U S of A: “freshman”; a student in the first year of University or “College”. Jeez Louise, do I hate Americanisms. Oh, boy. But is that definition not too simple, too basic? Lacking in that true depth of feeling that doth come with being a Fresher?

“Don’t worry if you feel a permanent Dunce cap attached to your head – we’re all in the same extremely rocky boat”

Are we not more than “fresh men”?

Are we not more than those ducklings, those “young frogs” chucked unto the void, the breach, the yawning, ever-widening, Domino’s pizza box-filled chasm?

Maybe not. Maybe on my first night out in Freshers I had a litre of gin and tonic, danced like a vino-pissed dad, and threw up in Pryzm toilets.

Maybe, on another night, I got too into Angels by Robbie Williams, slipped over, and hurt my elbow because of all the condensed smoke on the floor (I cried during the chorus).  Maybe I then proceeded to fall in the road at the end of the night while trying to get into a DG seven-seater taxi, thus embarrassing myself, and everyone I was with twice.

“I wouldn’t change anything about my Freshers’ experience for the world, apart from all the bad things I’ve mentioned”

Not that stupidity need involve drink, I’ve turned up late to almost all of my lectures, seminars and workshops, and the sight of people looking at me as though I’m an ingrown toenail they got rid of a few weeks ago is something I know all too well. So, don’t worry if you feel a permanent Dunce cap attached to your head – we’re all in the same extremely rocky boat.

Alas, to be bogged down in the negatives is self-defeating. Why?

Because I’ve made friends that I know will be around for a long time. I’ve learnt so many things I didn’t know before (bit of a given at university, but still), and I wouldn’t change anything about my Freshers’ experience for the world, apart from all the bad things I’ve mentioned – I would definitely change those, 100%.

“Oh, Freshers, I call thee”

So, let’s do it. Let’s take the bull by the horns and ride it to God knows where, we’ll see; let’s sting like a butterfly and float like a bee; oh, Freshers, I call thee, from Beeston to Lenton, from Sutton Bonnington to Jubilee – hear this rallying cry: we are going to knock this university sugar out the park.

Ronan Sullivan

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Image courtesy of uclu photosoc on Flickr.

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One Comment
  • final year student
    6 November 2017 at 21:34
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    your optimism will be gone by the end of term

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