By Amy Leung
I think we’ll all agree that starting university is daunting even under normal circumstances. This year especially, I didn’t know what to expect.
With my one parent allowed behind me, I walked into Hertford full of nerves. It was different since I had been at interviews, gone was the grassy green quad and in its place was a marquee, complete with Hertford bunting, picnic tables, and the charmingly named ‘NTB’ (Not The Bar) as Hertford’s underground bar was closed. I met my housemates, found out triumphantly I had been allocated a newly renovated kitchen, and began to unpack. It’s been a whirlwind of figuring out how to print things (got locked in the print room a few times), trudging up to the porter at all hours of the night (got locked OUT my room too many times) and of course, trying to learn how to work the washing machine.
What followed was a freshers week to remember. We’ve had a socially distanced Fresher’s Formal, complete with free wine, bento boxes, and a speech from the principal. Our Hertford marquee has stayed strong and I’ve wandered over to friendship bracelet making with biscuits and settled in with my household for drinks in the evening. There’s been scavenger hunts, city walks, and far too little reading done. I’ve toured Oxford at night and tried to take a selfie at every college with a friend (we only got to four before running off to Westgate) and bought far too much food.
I’ll admit it wasn’t all perfect. Locking eyes with someone in the marquee and having a mutual nod of understanding that no, I cannot come and talk to you or the staff will yell at me for walking around wasn’t great. Neither was walking halfway to hall before realising you had forgotten to book lunch the day before. I’m also keeping a tally of how many times my internet has already cut out. Right now I’m on six and online tutorials haven’t even started yet.
But we’ve sung high school musical songs in our household kitchen and I’ve chased Simpkin the college cat around the whole of Hertford. I’ve bought £10 Oxford sweatshirts in every colour imaginable (my bank account has regretted it) and gone crazy buying pizza bagels. Work has only just started creeping in so I’ve spent most of freshers meeting up with friends and wondering if we could recreate our college drink, the Pango, in our kitchen.
Freshers really is what you make of it. It may have been a little different this year, but it’s been an amazing introduction into Oxford life and I’m looking forward to making more socially distanced memories in the city!