9/15/2014

Six types of student you'll meet in freshers week

During freshers week you'll probably meet lots of new people for the first time. This is likely to include university staff, older students and also your fellow freshers – an inevitably colourful cohort, to put it kindly.

Now far be it from me to force the new wide-eyed recruits into tiny tick boxes, especially after the tiresome stereotypes broadcast to the world in the Secret Life of Students.

However, there are certain characteristics you are likely to find among your new peers and, as a final-year student, I'm happy to give you some warning of that.

Here are six people you're likely to see (or perhaps turn in to) in your first few weeks during a freshers fair:

Freebie fresher

One of the first people you'll see in a freshers fair, around the bustling market-place of student societies, is a student making the most of the free hand-outs.

"Freebie fresher" has discovered to his or her delight that, in an anxious bid to hit a target of members set by the student union, most societies are giving away food, pens and gift bags to get newbies to sign their names on a membership form.

You'd think that a student with the sole motivation of getting free things would annoy the stallholders, but fear not, they are happy to collect the signature.

However, as a law society stallholder, I must warn you: once you've picked up a slice of marble cake, you'll have to listen to someone like me enthuse for the next 15 minutes about their society. If it looks too good to be true...

Foodie fresher

After the academic societies, you'll see the sports and hobbies stalls. And over in the cooking societies' corner, you will find "foodie fresher".

Here is a sly student who has realised the way to make a quick quid is to cook meals for others. One of my coursemates who was particularly adept at using an oven managed to bag himself a job at his student flat; not only getting paid to cook by his flatmates, but getting his own meals for free. In the land of the first-year students, the pan-wielding fresher is king. Or queen.

Forklift fresher

In the corner carrying several bags is "forklift fresher". Said student is still expecting a cargo load of goods to arrive this week, and another next week. Oh and there are a few bags coming in after that, too.

According to forklift fresher, your ability to cope in halls without the full contents of your house marks you out as some sort of Bear Grylls survival freak. Who knew?

Freezing fresher

In the corner, next to the radiators, is "freezing fresher". This first-year student is from London. You'll know this because they will repeatedly remind you. London, they will insist, is "much warmer" than wherever they've fetched up – even though it's only, say, two hours away.

They will complain that their new surroundings are quiet, slow and rainy, compared with their bustling, exotic home borough of Harrow. They will be the first victim of freshers' flu, so it's only fair to allow "freezing fresher" time to adjust to our regional ways, poor soul.

Fireball fresher

You may find yourself walking over to an almost deserted corner of the union to look at the three biggest stalls. You edge towards them cautiously and find that, aside from the fact that each has a very strong preference for a different primary colour, it's hard to distinguish between them.

You notice that one of the stalls has a cynically placed "it wasn't our idea to raise tuition fees to eye-watering levels" banner hanging above it, while the other two have cynically placed "things can only get better" banners over theirs.

It may look like a horror movie to you, but it doesn't frighten "fireball fresher", who has been a member of a political party for years and is raring to campaign, for pretty much anything.

They all seem relentlessly nice and sincere in this corner, so you tell yourself you'll come back at some point to find out more. You never actually return, though, and it is sometime before you realise with wide-eyed terror that you will face the same three stalls every five years in real elections forever more.

Fancy fresher

Outside the union hall, you will spot a group wandering about in rather expensive formal wear. These are the students who have taken dressing-up to a new level and are practicing their marvellous skills in suit-wearing.

Knowing what to wear is not something you need to worry about, though, because everyone will be too self-conscious to notice what anyone else has turned up in. And, for what it's worth, by the end of the fortnight everyone will arrive at lectures in worn jeans with their hair shoved messily into a hat.

When I was a fresher, I have to admit that I belonged to most, if not all of the aforementioned groups, because – regardless of what they show on TV – students can't be categorised into walking clich├ęs; they are young people trying to make the best of being in a scary new place.

First year seems long and intimidating now, but when you look back, you'll feel like it was over before it had begun. And you will have lots to laugh about.

(Source: TheGuardian)

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