Freshers’ Events Can Piss Off

(because social interaction is for … popular people?)

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the social side of university; not just because, after seven years of a single-sex school, I’ll be able to interact with ‘women’ on a regular basis (if by necessity as much as anything else) but because I’ll be able to live with people, and get to know them on a more personal and real level than any of the people you only see at school. And this isn’t because I lack friends outside of the classroom, I’m just more likely to trust and be comfortable around the guy who I’ve shared rent with for a year, as opposed to the guy who lent me some Geography notes once.

And so the, apparently, UNMISSABLE FRESHERS’ WEEK is rather annoying. Part of me dislikes anything advertised in block capitals and with stars on a Facebook event title, another part rejects anything that involves pop music, but the larger part of me thinks that this is all a bit artificial; I;m going to spend three years hanging out with some of these people; is it really necessary for me to spend a few hours in their general vicinity at a concert or a party?

These events are also cop-out interactions, because they seem to focus on uniting people as friends, but those people rarely engage with each other in a meaningful way; going to the cinema is a classic example, as you can tell yourself you hung out with a friend, but you only sat next to them in silence for two hours, before a (maximum) fifteen minute-long discussion about that film, where the opinions expressed are probably more instinctual reactions, as opposed to considered, meaningful responses.

Also, who the Hell is organising these events? The universities would have the resources, and while their intervention would be appreciated and could be a nice gesture, there are so many of them, and are all so similar, that they become more of a distraction than anything else. If prospective students are arranging them, then it’s a bit pretentious and ignorant to assume people you don’t know will like the things you do, when your only shared characteristic is your age, regardless of how well-meaning your intentions are.

And this is perhaps the most annoying aspect of these events, that they are trying to bring people together and provide them with activities to do to smooth over awkward first impressions, but they just end up being annoying and repetitive: there are more ‘official’ Freshers’ Weeks groups than there are kids starting their degrees this September.

So attend these meetings – little more than glorified Facebook chats with Dart Punk playing in the background – if you really want to, but I’d rather prioritise more personal interactions with people.

The irony, of course, is that in my pursuit for more meaningful relationships with students, I’ll not interact with any of them for about two months. Logic!

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