All’s Fair in Love and War

Today was the day of the Fresher’s Fair and I sensed (but also I was clued in by the fact that the ATM’s apparently ‘run out on days like today’) that – in my brain’s own words – “something crazy is about to go down.” And it didn’t disappoint. I deliberately put off going until mid-to-late afternoon hoping the swarms of people would have died down, but I made a fatal miscalculation. Since most students would have been out drinking the night before (while I was happily marathoning ‘Hannibal’ and avoiding fresher’s flu which has already infected 2 of my roommates) they wouldn’t be conscious until 1pm the following day, and not stumbling onto campus until 2pm. So when I arrived at 2:30pm, skipping along to find a society to join, I got swept into a lazy wave of freshers.

I come from a town called Tunbridge Wells where a lot of the population walk around like Londoners, constantly rushing for some train somewhere, and so I’m used to that stream of people not the occasional dawdlers at the fair who would stop in the most inconvenient places. As a philosophy student I feel like I should have more patience but when I have a goal or place to be I’m like a moving train with no brakes – I can’t be stopped.

Also, the Tunbridge Wells girl has a browsing technique when we shop; we don’t stop moving unless something catches our eye, even then it is to a suitable location so as to not be an inconvenience to others, but at all other times we ‘scan’ and pan round with our eyes. The technique doesn’t seemed to have infiltrated the south west so I’m having to adjust and acclimatise in this new environment. I came out successful, however, with some free packets of Haribo and my memberships to the creative writing and philosophy societies.

From what I’ve heard it’s standard procedure to oversubscribe, join more societies than you’re able to attend and end up dropping most of them so I took the opposite approach. ‘Less is more’ but that phrase has always been lost on me – surely more is more, and less is less? They’re binary opposites, right? I think undersubscribing is perhaps a better technique because that way you don’t spend out for clubs you won’t attend also I’m (pretty) sure you can still join later in the term.

I actually put a lot of thought into my choice. I wanted something social where I could meet like-minded people, so sport was out of the question for me being neither sporty nor a team player. I also thought ahead as to how the societies can help me in my future. Philosophy Soc will help me with my degree and I’m hoping Creative Writing Soc will carry me through after that when I become a struggling writer (my ideal career being like Ross and his music in ‘Friends’ to which Phoebe described him as ‘not appreciated in his own time.’) I’m also hoping that with the extra time I might get some of this book written which I’ve been planning for about 2 years. It is currently only 4 pages long but my procrastination skills have come along in leaps and bounds those 2 years!

Finding Your Kin and the Fear of Being Alone

I’m writing this at 8:23pm when most freshers right now are probably at the pub. I would much rather be at the campus cinema watching ‘X-Men’ but I’ve opted for a night in…on my second day…the reason being that I don’t want to go alone. The fear is judgement. That I might look sad going to watch a movie by myself. The catch is that I very well might find my kin when I am there, my fellow nerd girls and scifi lovers which, in the long run, could mean I might not go alone to the next film. Dare I say it, I might make friends! But I know I’m not the only one who’s feeling lonely. Fresher’s Week is a time for socializing which can be hard if you have what I call a ‘fantastic personality’ (i.e. you’re a bit weird.) My friends and I were extremely close when I left my secondary school and so I’m finding it harder than most to reach out to new people. Rejection is another factor that scares the pants off of all of us.

Nevertheless, I have learnt much and you too, padawan, can learn from my example. A friend told me before I got here to say “YES!” to everything and try as much as you can. My advice is both similar and different (yes, I realise that is a contradiction) and say yes to the things you will really enjoy but more than that you ought to follow through with that yes. If you’ve circled the heavy metal society in your booklet then actually go! Do not let the fact that your mates/flatmates/mates you made on the Facebook fresher’s group don’t want to go prevent you from checking it out. Me? I’m an amateur scifi fan so I popped down to the scifi society taster session. I procrastinated, telling myself that if I couldn’t find the place I would turn back but eventually I persisted and found the group. What I found there was more precious to me than the last packet of cookies in the cupboard – Fannibals or, for those of you that don’t know, Hannibal fans. I had finally found my kin. If only I had been wise enough to gather numbers so I could find a cinema buddy! Alas!

My second piece of advice is pacing. This lesson I have learned today when I went back and forth from campus to my halls in-between events, totalling an hour and a half walking time today. I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to walk back a fourth time to see this film! Also, I realise that walking home alone in the dark for the third time this week might be pushing my luck. The tiredness is kicking in and now I have very little enthusiasm for anything. A pearl of wisdom from my boyfriend today: take a book. Sitting on the grass reading while you wait for the next event doesn’t look sad or lonely but sophisticated and someone very well might come up to so and ask what you’re reading. Ta-dah! Insta-friend!