Since being a fresher is such a weird and different experience this year, I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts about my first month as a St. Andrews student. This can either act as a way for older years to have an idea of what it’s like for the class of 2024 or for other freshers to know they are not alone in some of their experiences.
I’m not going to lie, this month has been hard. I am grateful for the fact that I am able to be in person at the university and that I was lucky enough to have flatmates that I really get along with, but it still has been challenging. The main problem that I am having is that I feel like I don’t know many people and have no idea how to make more friends because there is nothing really to do. I find myself doing the same dull, repetitive activities every day. My schedule usually goes as follows:
7:45: I wake up and go down to breakfast
8:30: I come back from breakfast and clean my room
9:00: I start to do the work I need to do for the day (i.e., pre-reading, lectures, tutorials)
12:30: I go down for lunch
1:30: I get back from lunch and start to do more work
6:00: I go down for dinner
7:00: I come back from dinner and do more work in preparation for tomorrow’s lectures 12:00: I go to sleep
I mean, I go and talk to my flatmates for a bit in between all the work I am doing, or sometimes I will go do work in their rooms, but I honestly feel like I never stop doing work. I don’t have any distractions or people to see throughout the day. It’s just tough to be at a new place and feel like you only know a few people. Also, it’s frustrating that this is the time that I am meant to be the most social I have ever been, yet there aren’t opportunities to do so. And of course, I understand that we need to be safe during the pandemic, but it doesn’t make it feel any better. It also feels like I have now lost my chance to meet anyone new. In freshers week, everyone was so open to being social, but now people have set friend groups, and the time to make friends has slipped away before it even started.
From the few people I have met in my tutorials, and what I have heard from my flatmates they are enduring the same sort of struggle, so at least we are all in it together. I cannot even imagine what it must be like for the people living outside of St. Andrews. I genuinely don’t know what I would do without my flatmates; they are definitely the reason I have made it through this first month and a half.
Don’t get me wrong, though; I don’t want to come off as too pessimistic and miserable because I’m not. I have also had some enjoyable moments, as well. Having drinks and playing card games with my flatmates, learning my way around town, and overall learning how to be an adult has been an exciting experience, to say the least. I have also joined Futsal, which is so unlike me, and even though I am terrible at it, the other girls on the team are so nice that I have loads of fun at the training sessions.
I think the overall theme that I have found thus far is that being a fresher in 2020 is complex. You have to find fun in the little moments and do your best to get some excitement in a rather unexciting time. This first month isn’t what I thought it would be, and I have had to come to terms with understanding that it is okay to be upset about that. So if a fellow fresher is reading this, I hope you have realised that you are not alone in the slightest and if you are from an older year, just know that I am lowkey jealous of you.