New to London: 10 things I would tell my fresher self
I can remember my first day as a fresher at the University of Westminster as though it were yesterday, thanks to an unforgiving ID card that makes me look as though I was suffering from male pattern baldness at the time.
I also remember it so vividly because you never forget your first – physically crippling fear, that is.
I was dropped off at my Wembley-based halls by my parents and left, looking longingly back, in a flat where initial relationships had been formed via group chat. By finding my flatmates online, I was able to predetermine potential personality clashes that could be avoided by running away to the flat down the hall with the guy who liked yoga and chicken wings, whom I had also uncovered via social media.
Three years later and I can safely say that I survived university in my own, unique, unconventional way. I’m even set to graduate with a BA Journalism degree, which is handy, isn’t it? Looking back, there are definitely a handful of things I’d gently reassure myself with, but nothing I’d indefinitely change.
1) Trying to fit in will stop you from falling into place. Don’t sign up for every society in sight. I signed up to join the equestrian team purely because I liked horses and use to ride when I was seven. I didn’t ride once in London. Who even has a horse in London?
2) You don’t have to hook up with the first person you meet, or anyone for that matter. Sex is just bad if it’s with the wrong person or if they pass out drunk afterwards.
3) First-year really, really, really doesn’t count. It’s the experience and experimental year where you can either choose to live like an Adam McKay (Stepbrothers) or Richard Curtis (Notting Hill) film.
4) Just because you’re a ‘student,’ doesn’t mean you can’t start your career now. London is the real social network. Be your own boss.
5) You’ll find your true friends if you stay true to yourself.
6) Fabric softener makes a difference. I didn’t discover this witchcraft until my final year and am adamant that if I had done so sooner, the number of sexual partners I’ve had would be in triple figures.
7) ‘The London life’ will drain you if you go in too hard. Balance is key. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time. Being situated in the capital is luxury in itself. Multi-media and diverse events are easily accessible. London never sleeps: there’s always something going on. The city works in your favour even when you’re not working in it.
8) Learning to cook is essential. Basically, too many beans WILL give you wind and iron tablets aren’t cheap.
9) Bringing Echo Falls to a party will stop being acceptable after you graduate until you are 50 years old and are having either a BBQ or, ladies, a menopause meeting.
10) Home will always be there, no matter how many times you do or don’t visit.