I am feeling very nostalgic lately. This is primarily because it’s Freshers’ Week here in Manchester (in loads of other student cities too), and it is the first time I am experiencing it as a non-student.
Living near the rowdiest campus in the city does not help. For example, as I was brushing my teeth this morning, I was interrupted by a loud drum beat. When I looked out of the window, there was a whole group of drummers dancing around, accompanied by a Nando’s chicken mascot. They kept going for two hours straight, giving out Nando’s vouchers to excited, chirpy students. It looked so fun ! While I had a busy day ahead of job hunting.
I did make an appointment at the university’s careers service this week though, and for the tiniest moment I felt like a student again. I got the bus with them and managed to avoid accumulating flyers being given out every few metres. Everyone was making conversation with strangers, and there were older students posted around the city in order to help students out. It was such a comforting feeling to be surrounded by all that again.
It reminded me of my few years at university, especially first year. My first Freshers’ week was one of my all-time favourite weeks in my life. Having moved schools often as a kid, inevitably being the new kid a lot, I loved that this time everyone was new. We were all in the same boat, trying to figure out where we fit in. That week, I could literally start speaking to anyone anywhere and it would be totally acceptable to ask for their number, make plans with them and become instant friends. I went out for all 8 Freshers’ nights in a row, and loved every one of them ! I always ended up wandering off on my own in the club, and I met the craziest people and had the strangest experiences. This was probably easier for me to do as I don’t drink, and it was the best thing ever. I ended up salsa-ing with a randomer, getting a piggyback ride home, and even ended up at the funniest after-parties on campus. The only downside to not drinking was that people tended not to always remember me. I met a girl three different times in bars throughout the year and she didn’t remember me until I met her in my labs – she was on my course !
It’s kinda sad looking back on first year because I am only still in touch with a handful of people from then, even though I had spent time getting to know so many ! After the novelty of a new city and a new-found independence wears off, you sometimes realise you made friends with people who weren’t quite right for you. I was unlucky enough to have to end things on a bad note with people I met in first year, but I won’t get into that right now. I think they were the perfect friends for that first unbelievable year, but we were always going to grow apart. And that’s okay. We had the best group nights out, where they would protect me from creepy guys who were high on all kinds of substances. We would have the best nights in, when I couldn’t get them out of my room until 6am because we were all laughing too much. We were in catered halls, so we always caught up on our days while we ate dinner together every week night. We went on spontaneous trips. They always came to me for life advice. They helped me through a break-up.
I sometimes wish we were all as close as we were back then. Then I remind myself that they changed. A lot. They got into some stuff that I was in no way interested in. But I changed too. I got more involved with societies in university in second year, and stopped prioritising my social life. For me, that was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It probably ensured my graduation. So I don’t regret it. It’s just a shame that those I cared about so much are now out of my life. I will never get used to how people can sometimes just leave your life. It’s such an odd occurence.
Just a thought..