(because dumb social interactions are for stupidly popular people)
Having waded through almost two whole terms at university, thus giving me the necessary experience to comment on this three-year span of my life, and look back at Freshers’ Week (which took place about six months ago) with the sort of ‘back in my day…’ rose-tinted spectacles I reserve for passing judgement on Pokemon Colosseum, I feel in a position to comment that freshers’ events still suck ass. Last year, I wrote about them being annoying and repetitive on Facebook, now I’m bitching about how they were annoying and repetitive, because Redux Week fraks with time like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.
I argued last time that they’re a kind of artificial social interaction, that getting five hundred people into a club exists largely to say that you went out, rather than so you can actually make friends. And having done the revolutionary thing of making friends before I started going to clubs, I can safely say that the relentless invites on Facebook by promoters disguised as real people can lead to great bonding with people you already know, but suck for actually meeting people. Getting drunk (or at least watching everyone else get drunk) and dancing in charmingly embarrassing ways is fantastic to generate a sense of the natural and the comfortable in your relationships with people, as you feel okay shuffling around like a prat with them, but the inability to actually communicate with people at these events, beyond miming ‘I’m going for a drink / piss / better time somewhere else without you’ means you don’t know if the people you’re about to try to get comfortable around are actually decent folks.
I’ve found its much better to reverse the meeting of people – tolerate them first by talking to them, then like them by going out – rather than trying to skip the first stage altogether and trying to have a relaxed, open evening with people you’re neither relaxed nor open around.
Freshers’ Week is also full of apparently compulsory events like this; everyone in London has to go to XOYO or Loop or some other shitty basement that sounds either like a subgenre of BDSM or the name of the self-titled debut EP of a particularly pretentious indie band with more crap haircuts than well-played notes on the entire thirty-minute record, which deindividualises the whole experience. I’ve enjoyed going to Club De Fromage – a silly, self-depreciating few hours of old pop songs – because my friends are awkward and cool like that; and while going to a Smiths night at another club wasn’t as fun, at least it was relevant to most of us who were going (because apparently I’m the only person on my course without a Smiths shrine in their bedroom).
So don’t let the glowstick-filled, bouncy castle-involving pictures on Facebook fool you; you might have a good time in Freshers’ Week, but you won’t have a time in any way tailored to your interests, or those of your newfound friends.