You are not happy with us. We know. And I write to extend our apologies. Earnest, quite humble apologies. Because we do not know your pain, we do not want to know your pain, and we will not know your pain for a very long time. I’m trying, of course, to speak on behalf of the underlings. Freshers, to use the colloquial term. Those whose eyes really can stay open without matchsticks or Pro Plus; those whose idea of a bad week involves missing the start of Doctor Who for an essay deadline, or only going punting once. Those who still succumb, on occasion, to happiness and optimism about university life.
So, firstly: we’re sorry about the library. We’re sorry for giving everyone baleful looks as we stagger in with an armful of books (i.e, about three), inviting you all to commiserate with us because we have A Deadline. We’re sorry for diverting ourselves by whispering, and laughing – we know, we know it’s not okay. And we’re sorry for taking any books out. We do know that you need them… but, sometimes, we just have to beat our tute partners. You know how it is.
Secondly, we’re sorry about the evenings. We still go out. We still drink too much, we still stay up all night just because we can. We’re still loud when we come back, because we forget. We still do the whole morning-after ‘oh my God I got so wasted lollll what am I like?’ for a good day or so, because we still think that it’s endearing rather than mass-murder-inspiring. Our alcoholism is still a product of choice, not necessity. And for that, too, we apologise.
Thirdly, we’re sorry about our attitude. In general. Moaning about a bad tutorial. Getting “really stressed” because the college vending machine has run out of Coke and “I totally can’t function without caffeine right now”. Complaining because our phalanx of extra-curricular activities just takes up so much sunbathing time. Or, conversely, being excited. Seeing the joy in life – and trying so hard to share it with you, as your dust-covered forms cower in the stygian enclaves of the Rad Cam. We understand that you don’t appreciate our feeble efforts to make conversation (tip: “how’s revision going?” will only ever be met with a stony, dead-eyed stare) – we just want you to know that we try. Please know this: we cannot change the fact that your lives are abominable. We are not selfless enough to sacrifice our pleasure for your peace of mind. But, if it helps, do take solace in the realisation that one day we, too, will be in your miserable position; we, too, will lose our days to the Radcliffe Humanities library and our sanity to the Gladstone Link. We, too, will become red-eyed creatures of the night, crawling out of bookshelves only to glare at the passing adolescents who dare to be happy too loudly…
But that’s years away yet. So, in the meantime – we will mourn your demise in the clubs. We will mourn your demise in the bar. We will mourn your demise on the croquet lawns. But we shall do it with a glass of Pimms in hand.
Here, brave adults, is to you.
With love from the Freshers