Fresh(ers) Meat – A University of York Perspective

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Ah, University. A mythological world of academics that I’d only heard about through ‘American Pie’ films and ‘Disney’ Sequels. Yet, as the calendar months rolled on, it wasn’t only Andy’s turn to pack up the various belongings and ASDA ‘Smart Price’ cans, but that of thousands of other students across the U.K.. A new city, a new start, a new list of cliches. Just looking at my Facebook news feed, I could see the excitement brewing.  Yet, there was one fear that I held deep in the dark depths of my subconscious brain, a place where I do a top-notch Homer Simpson impression and adding jelly beans to my student meals is deemed ‘creative’. That fear, was that we first years would be ‘Freshers Meat’ for the rest of the university.

As much as I’m fond of America’s mainstream culture, it was the ‘GET THE FRESHMAN!’ theme that was so apparent in the ‘College’ genre of films that really brought this thing on. The ‘head in the bog’, the ‘super wedgie’, the ‘human basketball’. I expected my student life to be a David Attenborough-style hunt for survival across campus as I fled a group of third years, just trying to convince me that ‘the water in the lake doesn’t taste that bad’. Would a top ten university really condone this sort of animalistic behaviour? Was it really like that? No, not one bit.

This new sense of independence can feel a little daunting for some, even exaggerating itself towards isolation. Yet, fresher’s week and beyond at University of York could not make the common first year feel more at home. There’s a real sense of community that’s shared across all of the students studying here. YUSU’s Viking Raid went down a storm and was a great way for the first year to clank their pint glass with a fellow blue/green/red shirt, no matter what grade of student. And nothing, nothing gives a sense of community quite like screaming ‘Vanbrugh ‘till I die!’ with a bunch of people you haven’t even met before!

And so, my fellow first years, maybe university life isn’t as bad as it seems. Maybe with the help of a wonderfully ambitious student’s union, a colony of feathered friends and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, we may just survive this first year. Heck, we might even find it to be the best year of our lives. Just don’t eat bread with blue bits on it; no good can come of it.

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