I’ve been informed by literally everyone who’s graduated from university that 95 percent of decisions made during this three-year period are deeply regrettable and should never have happened. From spending more than half your maintenance loan on Woo Woo pitchers at Wetherspoons to embarking head-first into a needlessly long and tiring relationship with an IT student called Mark simply because they know how to work computers better than you, these heady years are famous for the serious mistakes that punctuate their passing. Luckily, there are rarely any corresponding serious repercussions.
Much of this poor decision-making happens during the first week, leaving many Freshers crying and serotonin-deprived, staring at the ruined glob of rice that has fused itself to the pan before them, wondering how they will ever be cut out for the adult world. It's all good though – because it’s exactly those mistakes that shove you into the adult world. Or not. Depends if you learn from them. So if you're going to uni, here’s every decision you’ll come to regret during Freshers:
Either massively over-packing or massively under-packing
This largely depends on the vibe in IKEA while you’re doing a big shop with a reluctant parent or guardian. If you are taken by a calm and doting mother who knows every item you could possibly need for the rest of your life and can survive intensive retail environments without having a public and furious breakdown, for example, you will end up bringing at least seven different saucepans which you don't use. If you have to suffer through your father firstly not knowing which cutlery set to get, and then, as a result, loudly shouting at a crying and defenceless toddler in the Kitchen Accessories department before driving home in stony silence, you will have a halls kitchen cupboard empty bar a tin of beans and a bottle opener.
Immediately covering your walls in pictures
Probably disposable festival pictures, slapped onto the wall with reckless abandon using fat and glutinous globs of blu-tack in each corner of each picture, your understanding of rental deposits reeking of beautiful, youthful innocence.
Undergoing some kind of dramatic hair change days into Freshers to cement a new and extremely cool personality
I know that this is a thrilling time in your life and you’re filled with a combination of adrenalin, dread and vodka Red Bulls, but bleaching your hair in the shared bathroom / letting that girl with the line tattoo of a face on her arm hysterically cut your hair using a bowl at afters because you really fancy her is not going to be a good idea in hindsight.
Sleeping with your flatmate in halls who looked semi-fit when they were a stranger
Seems like a fun thing to do after a particularly raucous game of Ring of Fire in the kitchen on a Wednesday night doesn't it. Not so fun afterwards, when you have to awkwardly avoid them for months on end in the corridor before realising they have an angry long-term girlfriend at home called Charlotte who instinctively hates you when she comes to visit.
Buying a Freshers Week wristband for £40, giving you access to a wide variety of relentlessly awful events, most of which involve writing your name on a t-shirt
“ALERT!” shouts a sponsored message through your Facebook feed. “Do you want to have fun during Freshers Week? Or do you want to be sad and alone throughout, cementing your entire university experience as pathetic and friendless? If YOU answered YES to the first question, BUY YOUR FRESHERS WRISTBAND NOW. Exclusive entry into FOUR BANGIN clubs. NINETY EIGHT PERCENT OF TICKETS SOLD ALREADY!!!!”
You mercilessly begging your mum to lend you £40 for this wristband because you’re “completely broke until the loan comes in, what do you want me to do instead, have a shit time at uni?” is the first but not only occasion during Freshers where your sense of better judgement is savagely snatched away from you by your desperate fear of missing out on the heady, wavey university experience you feel you inherently deserve.
Going to one of the aforementioned events on the first night, leading to a truly terrible experience that will maintain its status as The Worst Night Of Your Life long into adulthood
There is a near-lethal combination here of both drinking far more £1 Jaegerbombs than your tiny brain can handle, and being surrounded by people who are all trying so desperately to secure lifelong friendships in the smoking area of Tiger Tiger that looking after you and your loud and unattractive vomiting / dramatic misreading of the Citymapper (leaving you stranded at 3AM on a dual carriageway) is simply not high on their list of priorities.
Firmly ignoring the desperate plea of your course leader during your induction lecture, who is telling you to “Please, please, good Lord I hate this job so much, go to all your lectures and don’t do too many drugs.”
What on earth could he possibly know that you, a 19-year-old from Hemel Hampstead who has not only been to Aiya Napa but also to Thailand, don’t know?
Calling the number on a business card given to you by a dealer who calls him / herself “Pharaoh”
“Makes sense”, you think to yourself, “makes complete sense to call this number. Why would a man who literally jumped at me from a bush to shove this business card into my hand while I was walking back from my first lecture have anything but my best interests at heart? What could possibly go wrong here?”
Taking the free pill given to you as a pure-hearted gift when you first pick up from Pharaoh, your tiny voice echoing the words “sick” and “safe” repeatedly around the thick air of his Honda Civic
On the bright side, you’ve managed to escape the seemingly relentless onslaught of sticky and heaving Chris Brown-blasting clubs, have found someone on your course wearing a Boomtown wristband and are now clinging to them for dear life. On the less bright side, here in the dark and thudding club that you’ve paid another £30 to get into, you have secured yourself a fate arguably worse: you must now not only suffer the effects of this terrifying-looking lime-green pill but also simultaneously listen to a fellow Fresher talk about how he “picked my uni choices based off Resident Advisor, didn’t I”.
Cheering yourself up from this so far terrifying Freshers Week by getting the bus into town and spending an alarming amount of your student loan, treating yourself to £215 worth of clothes from Urban Outfitters – how are these scraps of fabric so consistently overpriced? – all of which you see multiple replicas of that night in the smoking area of whichever tech house event you’ve chosen to grace with your presence
Bit of a rookie mistake to get the Fila Disruptors, wasn’t it.