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Things I wish I’d Known as a Fresher

By Elle Bennett

Heading to university is confusing anyway, never mind during the dystopian nightmare we’ve found ourselves in. There are a thousand things you learn every day, most of them outside of the lecture theatre! Since some of you reading this will be heading to uni soon, I thought I’d compile a little list of things I wish I had known when I started university, all of which still apply in the era of COVID!

1. It is okay for freshers not to be the best week of your life

In fairness, this year nobody will be going out every night, meeting dozens of people. However, I know Colleges are doing everything they can to make your first week the best it can be by organising online and socially distant events. Although it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and get to know people, you don’t have to find a group of friends in fresher’s week! In fact, it’s highly unlikely that you will. Be friendly and talk to everyone but if one night you fancy curling with with a cup of tea and Netflix on your own, go for it!

2. Get to know the porters and scouts!

You’ll be seeing them a lot and will need the occasional favour from them, plus they’re just lovely people! Have a socially distant conversation with them and be sure to thank them for all of their work. Often their efforts are taken for granted but College couldn’t run without them.

3. Your first essay will never be your finest

You have no idea what you’re doing - uni essays are unlike anything you’ve written before. Do your best but it’s completely fine to just get something down and submit it. You are there to learn after all, you wouldn’t be at uni if you were already an expert!

4. You’ll soon work out what all of those weird words mean and will soon also be annoying everyone with Oxford jargon

You too will soon be planning your ‘vac’, fretting about ‘collections’ and dressing up for ‘matriculation’. Nobody is trying to isolate you, Oxford lingo becomes part of every student’s vocabulary and often we forget how we felt upon arrival and forget to translate these strange words into plain English.

5. You are good enough

You, yes you, got into the best university in the world. There’s a rigorous process to select the best candidates and I promise they didn’t make a mistake. You’ve got this, you just need some time to find your feet.


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