First month as a Fresher: Out of the Frying Pan

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FOR THE majority of First Year students, it’s been a month of rather sizeable change. The transition between living at home and living at University has been massive, and it’s fair to say that quite a few of us will have struggled with the adjustment, I for one am included in that group. Moving away from your parents can be a challenge on its own but on top of that, trying to live with a set of complete strangers who call themselves your ‘flat-mates’ can prove to be an even more daunting task. Writes Andrew Eldridge

As a first year student, I’ve just gone through exactly what you’ve gone through, and I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that the transition hasn’t be without its ups and downs.

The initial change that came about on moving-in day was a real indication of what was to come. Following a long hug from my mum, and a firm handshake from my dad, my parents popped in the car and off they went. That was it, I was on my own. I didn’t really get much time to reflect on what was going on though, as pretty soon after that the ‘open door policy’ was introduced to our flat. As we all still needed to get to know one another, all flat doors were propped open with the assistance of whatever was available in the immediate vicinity. Most commonly this seemed to be the easy chairs for the rooms, and pizza boxes for the kitchen door. I would like to say that we’ve developed our system in some way in the month that we’ve been here, but I can’t. I suppose the old phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ applies.

The introduction of the ‘open door policy’ is also something that is quite different from what I’m used to at home. The prospect of people filtering in and out of my room at home is something that I would always strive to avoid, I mean we all know what parents are like, but here at University I almost welcome it.

Living in Singer Hall, I have to take on the daily tasks of cooking and cleaning for myself. Like many others, I was also lulled into a false illusion of how easy washing clothes would be. As I’m sure most of you have noticed by now (or maybe the lucky few who brought their entire wardrobe might not have yet) Coventry University have tried their best to make the washing facilities easy to use. I still however managed to shrink my clothes… Genius! 

After washing my clothes on a Super Cycle (that extra 20 pence charge is totally worth it) and putting my clothes in the tumble dryer, I came back to check on them and found that they were still rather damp. I should’ve taken them out and hung them on a clothes airer, yet I decided the best course of action would be to stick them in the tumble dryer again for another cycle, big mistake. Never double tumble. Ever.

Nights out are certainly more vibrant in Coventry, and the clubbing scene is far more varied than what I’m used to. Coming from a small town near Cambridge, the concept of having more than one choice of where to go on a night out is quite unheard of. Kasbah appears to be the winner for a Wednesday night, although Lava and JJ’s seem to be great for the rest of the week. I can’t speak for others, but I’m not a big fan of the Students Union – I feel it’s far too crowded and the drinks too expensive, although the weekly flirt nights are obviously quite good as they regularly draw in quite a crowd of people.

Coventry University also offers a fair few societies for you to join. I would recommend to those of you who haven’t got stuck in yet to join as many as you can, however that recommendation does come with a caveat. At Coventry University, you have to pay to join the vast majority of the societies available. I’ve had a word with a couple of friends at other Universities, and although they don’t have to pay anything to join the societies available to them, what is available to them appears to be greatly limited compared to Coventry. You can argue the toss really, but I think we Coventry University students are getting the better end of the deal overall.

There have been some problems though. On top of trying to make friends, I’ve been struggling to get to grips with my course, and although the concept of lectures isn’t too much of a stretch from A-Level, it’s still a bit daunting to walk into a room of 100 odd students and quickly take a seat. I’m yet to experience Seminars, but I should imagine the same level of awkwardness applies. Still, it’s all a learning curve – and it will get easier with time.

The price of books has meant that I’ve had less money available to me to spend on nights out, and I’ve had to spend far more nights in that I would like in order to prep for the following weeks lectures, but I think this is reflective of University on the whole; you need to adapt to survive.

By Andrew Eldridge, First year Law student

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