Fresher’s Week – welcome to hell and heaven, heaven and hell. You’ll make friends, you’ll have good times, you’ll start smoking to fit in, you’ll have fun, you’ll have times when you’ll be sat k-holing for the first time in a stranger’s flat and will see unrelentingly vivid images in your mind’s eye of your father’s disappointed face when you got your A-level results, but most of all you will grow from a tiny child into a useless adult.
Anyone with an ounce of intelligence – which you definitely have now you've finally made it onto that course you probably want to spend £28k minimum on and bumped up your sixth form’s statistics – will understand the utmost importance of dressing perfectly at all times when learning. Also important is making snap judgements on others whilst at uni based entirely on what they wear. See:
The clever thing about this outfit is that it can be worn every single day – same artfully scruffy trainers, same artfully rolled up corduroy jeans – the only components changing being the £45 vintage designer rugby top/fleece and the £35 vintage baseball cap. Vintage Manboy knows this, and so in preparation for university tactically stocks up on these items spending a cool £1k+ on variations of the exact same outfit, paying no mind to the expense. It’s worth it, he tells himself. This will secure my new cool and aloof university personality.
Very probably called Toby and very probably studying Philosophy or History of Art, Vintage ManBoy will ask you for rizla and filters in the smoking area on your first fresher’s night out and will not stop doing so until the day you graduate.
INCREDIBLY WEALTHY INTERNATIONAL STUDENT
These people can afford to buy designer clothes. You, I’m afraid, cannot. You may think you are fairly good with money – you had that job in sixth form, didn't you, you saved up a bit before you came to uni, you might have even set yourself a weekly budget – but I am here to tell you that you are not. You are terrible with money and will never in your life be able to afford designer clothes. By the end of fresher’s week you’ve hit your overdraft best case scenario, maxed it out worst case scenario. The Incredibly Wealthy International Student does not have this problem. They can wear Louboutin trainers to walk, in the mud and the rain, to Tesco to buy some cereal without even flinching.
Accept financial defeat now, tiny fresher, and try to do some food shopping once in a while instead of spending your entire student loan on UberEats.
People still do sports now you’re a grown-up, this is a sad fact. Despite finally escaping PE and the cold dread followed by meticulous faking of vague faint aches and pains to successfully avoid doing any strenuous exercise that wasn’t ping-pong during school, the sporty people – people who actively sought out the thrill of competition and inexplicably seemed to remain at a relatively normal skin shade playing football instead of instantly turning bright red and remaining that way for the rest of the school day – still exist, and you will be living with one in your first year.
You will meet them once properly when you move in, already somehow wearing full colours for an unnamed sport at your chosen university, a somehow graceful and decorative sheen of sweat accessorising their pristine trainers, the weird fluorescent ones Nike makes for doing specific Proper Sports, and from that point onwards they are like a weirdly competitive ghost in your flat, leaving endless hockey sticks and water bottles flung akimbo around the communal living area.
This girl could be failing at every single aspect of life – I mean she could literally be on bail from a prison sentence – but you will still feel constantly inferior to her because every day she appears to be wearing an entirely new vintage designer Very Branded outfit courtesy of Depop, alongside a headband – there is for some reason always a headband – and infinite pairs of new trainers. She doesn’t appear to have a job and you will never truly know how she has the ability to live inside a cloud of Dior monogrammed headbands, hoop earrings and Moschino, but some nights you will find yourself lying awake wishing you were her. If you ever catch yourself seething in jealousy the best advice I can give you is to put on some passably clean clothes, walk to Primark and buy yourself a nice £2.50 necklace. Void = filled.
ASPIRING TECHNO DJ WITH WEIRD TROUSERS
“Close your eyes”, he says, his phone rigged up to some heinously expensive speakers with an aux cord, “and imagine, yeah, just imagine me opening a set with this fucker.” You close your eyes, still unsure as to how you ended up in this boy’s halls bedroom at 3:30AM and even more unsure as to why you’re actually closing your eyes on demand, and a samey-sounding thudding noise fills the room.
You open your eyes and watch him Get Very Into This Song in a very intense way, sitting there in his zebra-print bootcut jeans and pristine trainers, and amongst fleeting wishes of home, of your own bed and a radiator that you know how to work and a shower that doesn’t resemble a dribbling baby, your main priority is escape.
Escaping Techno DJ’s bedroom at that exact moment is a good decision. These people will only become useful later in university life when you decide that you’re having a party and you desperately need someone for the music who has aggressive opinions about Berlin nightlife.
JUST A ZIP-UP HOODIE
Everyone has at least one ill-fitting zip-up hoodie, this is a fact. Maybe you splashed out £39 when you left school for one with 200 tiny names printed onto the back of it, or maybe you bought it in sheer panic whilst camping in the rain after discovering that your tent wasn’t waterproof and all your clothes were irreversibly soaked through, but you definitely have one and so does everyone else. Around Day #6 of fresher's week all your fellow freshly-released-from-home miniature grown-ups will also not understand how the grimy card operated washing machine system in your accommodation works and resort to wearing this hoodie, leaving their stylistically fresh but physically quite dirty garments in identical IKEA washing baskets mum bought for them in the big pre-uni shop.
Everywhere you turn you will see a grey hoodie with white zips – possibly stained with foundation around the neckline, possibly not – with a tired and terrified looking face peeking out. Smile, be kind to each other, for you are now all in this together: whether it’s your First Proper Comedown or you’re Actually Really Into Drugs And Have Been For A Good Few Years Now Haha. The grey hoodie is the leveller. Embrace the community of this horrible garment and accept your awful awful running-across-the-courtyard-in-the-rain-at-2AM £5-per-wash-and-dry-cycle fate for the next year.