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British Culture for a Twenty Something Student: Freshers' Week

29/08/2014 14:48 BST | Updated 28/10/2014 09:59 GMT

In the next few weeks, there will be new wave of 18-year-old youngsters beginning one of the most important and challenging chapters in their lives. I'm sure the stresses are beginning for the eager youths, seeking to get away from their family homes to start university. The fears of: not fitting in, moving hours away, paying for bills, food and fun, is all very scary. However, the thing on most young adult's minds right about now is, Freshers' Week.

Universities sell themselves on cheap nights out and who can put on the best Freshers' week/fortnight to students who gain their places after the horrifying experiences of results day. When I was beginning university, I was influenced so much by the Freshers' calendar, and when I was going out, where and who with. It was all that mattered, if I am honest. The financial side of it didn't matter, but realistically I probably spent hundreds of pounds in that fortnight! Entries to clubs, rounds of drinks, taxis, drunken food on the way home and the outfits for the nights that were on - all very pricey, and considering you don't really know how to budget, it's a learning curve I suppose.

If you take a step back, Freshers' week is actually full of pressure and expectations. I heard numerous times that it was the 'best week of my life' and I anticipated the wildest nights, with crazy stories and to have made the bestest friends after that week. However, in reality it was very different. I never saw myself as a home girl, but I got very home sick and used to cry when I came home drunk. Or realized how beautiful everyone around me was, and look at myself in all the photos with such hatred, as I knew people were expecting me to fit in, which I didn't. But the hardest hit for me was the friend part.

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I thought I'd made really great friends and had these amazing memories but actually the friends I'd made weren't really 'friends.' We were people who a computer had chosen to live together in halls, as Taylor Swift puts it perfectly, we were just people 'trained to get along.' I wasn't being myself and they probably weren't either, just trying to get by and have someone to hold your hand so you weren't alone. Realistically, you cannot make friends for life in Freshers' week. You can tell who your friends for life are, by seeing if you want to be around them the next year or the year after. My friends for example, came later. They are real friends, and they have been there for me more than any of my 'Fresher' friends or halls friends. It takes time, and friendship cannot be rushed or forced, as I learned in the hardest way.

There are so many expectations as a student, especially as a Fresher. Peer pressure and the media are to blame. It seems like if you don't provide drunken stories with your uni friends or put up a façade of having the time of your life, you've failed as a student. But actually, it isn't like that for everyone. If you don't make in on the 'chunder chart,' that's okay! You haven't been stupid enough to drink a dirty pint that makes you sick. Or, if you haven't had a one night stand, you aren't wild enough or you seem frigid. However, it just means your genitals are clean and you're not that kind of person, that's okay too. University is different for everyone, and you shouldn't be made to feel ashamed or weird for not enjoying every second. It's an experience that you'll never get again, so embrace it, but remember you're only human and don't get upset if it isn't the dream you were hoping for. Just be wary of who your friends are and where the kings are in ring of fire and you'll survive Freshers' week (and the rest of uni).