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Freshers' Week: How Music Makes Friends

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Freshers' week manifests its brilliance in oh so many ways: it's the only socially acceptable time to spend 168 hours completely intoxicated; for seven days there are no cliques and anyone will be your friend; and, most importantly, there's booze. Ethanol. Bleach. How many livers can you get through this Freshers'?

Clearly, some people enjoy reducing Freshers' to a cliché. But hopefully not all of your memories of this week will be wiped out with voluntary alcoholism, and music is a great way to make certain this is a week to remember.

Chances are you've been thrown into a dizzying mix of people from different backgrounds, places, cultures and experiences. It's probably polite to feign an interest in your new flatmate's life-story, but it can be just as worthwhile to skip ahead to discussing music. A musical bond can be all the adhesive a friendship needs; likewise, a musical disagreement can be a great source of banter (this is especially effective when one of you deviates from the socially agreed facts, i.e., Nickleback are shit, Cheryl cannot sing, etc.)

Advancing your social life aside (only briefly), this week is a great opportunity to broaden your musical palette, and rediscover some old favourites. If I can use my own experience as an example, my next door neighbour would bellow the latest Rihanna release at indecent hours of the morning, which kept me up to date with the charts (at this point the top 40 was almost entirely Rihanna's discography).

My Methodist friend down the corridor would give me Christian rock and pop tunes, which isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. And during pre-drinks, one flatmate would blast out a collection of garage tracks, which did something to alleviate my mild annoyance at the genre's fall from fashion before I hit the clubs. There will be all sorts of different music playing around your flat, so get file sharing you criminals.

My final piece of advice applies to music and everything else: give it a go. You've got more chance graduating in a toga than graduating as the same person who began this journey. Try to embrace these changes early on and be open to all the experiences offered to you. No doubt the prospect of some gigs/nights out will strike you as no more desirable than torture, but it's surprising how stepping out of your comfort zone can be a great way of letting people in.

During freshers week, I found myself at Pendulum's DJ set, despite the fact that, to my ears, their tedious music is the sonic equivalent of a meathead punching you repeatedly in the chest until you're numb to any of the initial feelings of pain or adrenaline. Anyway, the moral of this story is that surrendering to that sweaty orgy of a mosh-pit proved the highlight of my freshers' - and by default my uni experience thus far.

Remember to have fun, play safe, and, for this week, drop the irony: there's always someone with shitter music taste than you.