Are Freshers prepared for university life?


By Pamela Head,

Being a fresher is an exciting experience. For the first time in your life, you’re independent. Don’t want to get up until 4pm? Then don’t! Want to cover yourself in neon paint and spend all night in a club? Why not! Want to live on baked beans for three years because you don’t know how to cook? Ah.

University life is more than studying and making friends. For most students, it’s the first time you’ve lived away from home and suddenly you’re faced with the prospect of cooking all of your own meals and doing your own washing. This reality doesn’t factor for a lot of people when the preparation to move begins. Excitement takes over. As a result, you can be left facing a cooker and saucepans and no idea how to produce the spaghetti bolognaise that your parents make with apparent ease.

When you live at home, your parents take care of everything. They do your laundry, keep you fed and clean the house. The only thing you potentially may be responsible for is cleaning your room, and most people don’t even bother doing that. So arriving at university where you’re responsible for everything can be a bit of a shock.

You’re put into a situation where if you don’t do it, then it won’t be done. This means a life of pot noodles and living in a room covered in debris from nights out. Unfortunately this can have consequences, with students losing their deposits because of a lack of basic cleaning skills, suggesting that some kind of teaching must be considered before arrival.

When I was a fresher, I lived with a mixed group of people. Some had jobs and knew how to cook and clean. Others had never seen a mop before and fabric softener was a foreign concept. One housemate thought that you had to put the contents of a pot noodle into the kettle in order to cook it. Once, we woke up to discover that someone had tried to cook an egg in the microwave. This resulted in a big explosion, and an even bigger clean up.

Eventually, though, we began to teach each other the things we knew. Experience taught us more in the long run. While freshers may not be prepared for university life when they arrive, within a few months the necessary skills can be picked up and the mistakes end up as funny anecdotes. It does pay to be prepared… but at the same time being unprepared can be an awful lot of fun.