Monday, 30 September 2013


Although why you’re all called that I really don’t know. There’s nothing particularly fresh about that first fortnight apart from the guys trying to get first-time hands into first-time knickers. Bar that shuddering experience – and not in a good way – that first two weeks of freedom will mostly be rolling up to lectures in yesterday’s clothes, coping with the student squalor of a second or third year’s home (think House of Horrors by way of Pat Sharp's Fun House), living almost exclusively on dry shampoo and Dove deodorant and never having enough loo roll or washing up liquid to hand. See, distinctly non-fresh.

Apart from cleanliness though, starting Uni is very much like a breath of a 'fresh' air. It’s a brand new start. The first step towards the greater you. It may be a faltering step but it’s all contributing towards Your Grand Plan.

As you embark on this next stage of your life most people are telling you WHAT TO DO – apart from your weeping mother who will alternately tell you she loves you but NOT TO TAKE DRUGS. But for the most part, your friends and the media will have tips and ideas on what you should be doing. I however, am going to tell you what to stear clear of.

Don't do Initiations: You’re desperate to make a name for yourself. You want to be funny and brave and reckless and impress the rugby squad/Bullingdon Club/chess team. But don’t forget that everyone has a camera phone and that delightful image of your freshly shaven bollocks hanging over someones’s nose whilst you drink the entire top shelf through a funnel, will end up on social media and that’s tougher to get rid of than your fresher flu or, heaven forbid that delightful remnant of a truly forgettable and less than savoury liason. Which leads me on to..

Don't have Sex with the First Person you Meet: You have just swum down the river of youth and reached the ocean of opportunity, paddle for a while.  Don't forget, your beer goggles will be firmly on for the best part of a month and therefore your judgement will be severely impaired and so cannot be trusted. Although on the plus side, a near-stranger during the winter months is cheaper than paying for that electric heater.

Don't be Tight: There is nothing worse than a parsimonious person. We’re all broke – and it’s going to get a lot worse, but in your first week, put your hand in your pocket and buy a bloody round. That study book isn’t going to help you laugh your way through the coursework all-nighters but friends who you've shared a bottle of Pinot with, will.

Don't Be the Gap Year Bore: Yes, we’re impressed that you helped build a school/visited Machu Pichu/had The Best Time Ever at a full moon party but unless you’ve truly done something one off, then change the record. And banish all clothing and accessories you compiled along your year of discovery.  

Don't Live on Pasta: You think it’s your cheap, cheerful, easy friend now – two months down the line though and you’ll be wondering where the third chin came from and why your face has exploded with acne you thought you'd said adios to at 15. Buy some vegetables, they’re better for your waistline. No they won’t cure your hangover, but your body has already taken a nueclear hit of jaegermesiter, it doesn’t need to be asphyxiated with carbs too.

Don’t be a Version of Yourself: I get it, you’re in your late teens, you’re in a new city you’ve barely visited, you’re thrown into a melting pot with people you don’t and, perhaps rather not, know, but enough with the self angst. Be yourself. Not with false bravado, a dodgy accent or a host of stories based on your much cooler, older brother. You’ll get caught out. And it will be awful.

Don't be Political for the Sake of it: You're an idealist who thinks they'll change the world. And maybe you will. In ten or twenty years time. Now, you're just avoiding 9am lectures, being neighbours from hell and spouting rubbish from the pulpit of not paying tax or slogging it in the office.

Don’t Ignore your Mum: You may think that five texts, two phonecalls and 20 emails a day is a bit overboard, but she won’t stalk you quite so much if you just reply once. She thinks youre dead, pick up the phone. 

Enjoy, you only get this opportunity once. Or you should do, so DON'T fail your exams. 

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