Welcome, Freshers!

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So, you’ve got the results you wanted, you’ve been in the photo, you’ve been out for a celebratory pint and you’ve come home to a Facebook full of likes from remote relatives for your “I GOT INTO OXFORD!” message.

What now?

Well, the unfortunate thing about Oxford is that, even with your results in the bag, there’s still another month and a half until you actually turn up at the place. A month and a half before you can ‘reinvent’ yourself (good luck with that!), make new mates and take up a new hobby to distract you from your £9k worth of studies, whether it’s in student journalism (*ahem* we’re recruiting *ahem*), debating at the Oxford Union, rowing, joining a religious society, playing Ultimate Frisbee, becoming an assassin, or seeing how convincingly you can pass off a hangover as “having been up late all night working” to your tutor.

How on earth will you pass the time? You might be off to a music festival, on holiday with your best mates (and certain you’ll keep in contact with all of them for the rest of time), working to earn beer money, or just enjoying your first and last chance to do nothing before the next phase of your life begins.

But Oxford won’t always let you breathe so easily. Soon enough, you’ll no doubt receive a reading list by email or in the post: crucial stuff, at least for your first meeting with your fellow [insert subject here]-ers, as you bond over how little of it you’ve read and dearly hope the tutors treat it as optional. Meanwhile, if you’re a geologist, you might be getting ready for a trip to some foreign (Scot)land, from which you’ll return so tightly knit as to alienate all your confused and lost peers in Fresher’s Week.

If you aren’t an Earth Scientist, never fear, for you will most likely soon receive an invitation from that most unexpected of sources: the regional alumni club of your college. A perfect chance to meet your fellow students, savour the complementary refreshments, score an internship, or maybe just realise how few of your future ‘BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE’ live anywhere near you.

Failing that, you can always join the Fresher’s group for your college on Facebook, and begin adding random people. And, of course, by adding I mean ‘Facebook stalking’. After all, why not identify your next boy/girlfriend before you arrive? That amusing/embarasing photo from three years ago that even they forgot about will make a great icebreaker in Fresher’s Week!

One or two people will definitely add you first, however. They may have already done so. And they’ve definitely already taken the time to stalk you. These people are your college parents, your mum and dad (or mum and mum, or, indeed, dad and mum and mum and mum and dad and concubine, or perhaps just dad, or what other, saner places call ‘your mentor’) for the next few years, at least until they college die (i.e. graduate).

They’ve been through it all (their first year, that is), they know all there is to know (or can check with others who might be interested in extreme white water lacrosse), they’re close knit, and they’ll see you for a meal in Fresher’s Week, and will probably be very proud of their newfound ‘child’ (or completely bewildered about what to do with you). After that, eh, you might be best buds with them, or you might just see them when you’re trying to score their past essays off them and in the end of year subject dinners. And don’t be too disheartened if they themselves barely know each other, it’s a well-known made-up statistic that over half of all college marriages begin with a marriage proposal while drunk “for a laugh” in Fresher’s Week. Besides, more Christmas presents for you, eh?

As much as it drags out right now, this month and a half will fly by. And you should savour it, because you’re going to miss it. While you’re on a high right now, there’s a little something called ‘uni work’ that’s coming your way. A lot of uni work. A hell of a lot. Oxford isn’t world-renowned for nothing.

Hey, what do you mean you’re seeing if your second choice will still take you?

PHOTO/Anataman