Freshers Week & Free Booze: The Best & Worst Parts Of Starting Back To College

As we wind down the summer and roll into the start of term, it can sometimes feel like a deluge of emotions. Between stuffing your face with every last morsel of food offered to you — hibernation jokes aside — and searching the web for ‘packing tips 101’, it’s easy to forget the brighter side (not to mention the darker). Here are the six best and worst things about starting back to college. Meet you at the bar?

1) Best: Fresher’s Week (A.K.A. The Only Week That Matters)


Hands down the best week of term, possibly of the whole year, if you do it right. What is Fresher’s, if not an excuse to drink in excess for a week while you reacquaint yourself with your natural environment: the club dance floor — I mean the library... Not only is it filled with mystery tours and cheap entry into clubs, but it's also the holy grail of student life. Drumroll please: student discounts. Since the definition of ‘student life’, in essence, is the perpetual state of being broke, a good student deal can make or break your week. Think of all the joys of eating out without breaking the bank. Most college societies and local businesses will bribe you into partaking with vouchers, or even better, free food on the spot. Free pizza all day, am I right?

2) Worst: Beginning of Term Emails



In the weeks before college starts, many of us will receive the deadly ‘revised syllabus’ email from new professors. To the go-getters among us, emails such as these are academic lifesavers. However, to the rest of us who can read between the lines, the subtext is clear: “Summer. Is. Over.” Final result: rocking back and forth in the foetal position, questioning your life choices while calculating the minimum amount of work you can do and still get by unscathed.

3) Best: Moving Into Your New Digs


It's true that this can be stressful at times, especially if it's the first time you’re living away from home — prepare to say goodbye to home-cooked meals and warmth. But think of having the most freedom you’ll ever have in your life with the least responsibilities. If it’s not your first time moving out, then I’m sure you’re rejoicing along with me to be heading back to your accommodation. What other time in your life can you stay up at all hours, eat whatever you want, whenever you want without the drag of the 9-5 work schedule? Never, I tell you. Just reminisce for a minute with me about all those nights stumbling home at all hours or, more realistically, drinking wine while watching a Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix (we love you, Jess). Point in fact: best time of your life.

4) Worst: Roommates, Or ‘Those People Who Hog the Washing Machine’



Even the best roommates, at times, can be damaging to your mental health. The literal worst: when there's no room for your food in the fridge or the freezer because their parents gave them a year’s supply of frozen dinners. A classic, I know; many a former roommate has mistakenly done this and unleashed my wrath. For those of us with bad roommates, going home can feel like the last thing you want to do. God bless you if you have to share a room, shout out to dorm life. While your roommates will be some the best friends you make in college, they will simultaneously manage to give you endless pet peeves, some you didn’t even know existed, like watching someone shovel food into their mouth without coming up for air. Sometimes it’s like you’re watching Animal Planet and you WILL need to restrain yourself.

5) Best: Let the Reunion of the Dream Team Commence


No one's there for you like your besties, and let's face it, as much as you say you ‘hate drama’, you did miss hearing about all the gossip while you were away. While scheduled skype dates are all well and good, running screaming at each other from an indecent distance (yeah everyone's staring at you) is the closest thing you’ll get to family while you’re off at college. Except unlike your family, you get to choose these guys.

6) Best/Worst: Official End of Summer And The Beginning Of Study


Let's face it, most of us love our course, or at least we're able to tolerate it. I, for one, find the first week back exciting, if not a little stressful. Hence why this category falls into both best and worst, because starting classes can sometimes feel like crossing the street blindfolded. As prepared as you might think you are, you’re not—trust me. You’ll have done the reading for the wrong week, you'll be called on while you were doodling on your handout, you'll be the only one with a grumbling stomach in the library, and if you’re one of the brave few, you'll take on a class that you thought would be a ‘good challenge’ but really it's the end of the world disguised as ‘A Guide To Olde English’.


Through all of this, though, you’ll find your jam. And no, I don’t mean the stuff you spread on toast. Somewhere buried beneath the books, that you were horrendously overcharged for, there's the spark that made you choose your course to begin with. At the beginning of each year you'll look back and see what you've accomplished: you got through the fresher haze with your liver still intact, and here you are on your home turf. Cue the rock anthems, college is back in session!

Megan O'Donoghue Kleeman
Article written by
Megan O'Donoghue Kleeman is in her final year at Trinity College Dublin studying English.

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