Fresher’s week has come and gone (for the Scots anyway). So I’ve experienced three of these weeks in my life: the first as a bright-eyed fresher, the second as a mostly hungover bleary-eyed second year, and finally the third as a dull-eyed third year participant.
In first year I came to halls and received my fresher’s week care package, feeling like an old lady at Christmas. It had everything from granola to condoms, what more could you want? Then begun the awkward “meet-the-flatmates” procedure, and we collectively decided to start the PARTY at the Queen Margaret Union. It took me a few hours to realise that there are in fact TWO student unions at Glasgow University: The GUU and the QMU, and that typical mythical rivalry exists between them. How exciting!
So the history of these unions is one of those well-known Glaswegian things: the GUU was a men’s only club, and so strident feminists opened the QMU as the woman’s alternative (right on etc.) Now of course there is no gender divide, but there is certainly a strikingly contrasting atmosphere in both venues. I spent most of my first year in the QMU. It’s less daunting, openly friendly and most of the club nights feel like a rather more extravagant house party. The GUU however pays host to the HIVE. For those of you who aren’t aware of the HIVE or its reputation I’ll say that it’s worth a try at least…but also that the phrase “meat market” is used quite a lot… think of that what you will. I’ve been there a few times, and it’s not THAT bad, it’s just a little bit more “clubby” than anything that the QMU offers, so standard club sleaziness is going to occur. But the music’s good and it functions as good as any decent club would.
QMU’s offering is the ever popular “Cheesy Pop” which in Freshers Week has a special guest offering. Last year I believe it was two members of B*Witched (!!) and for us we had Jo and Bradley from S Club 7. It’s the kind of wacky club night where freshers can feel like children once again and listen to sometimes ancient songs from their childhood and indulge in a pint of Magic (a QMU exclusive drink concoction). This year I went to one of the events at the QMU, namely the band night. This really showcases the best new bands that Glasgow has to offer; many new musical discoveries were made that night. Bands on offer this year were Bwani Junction, The LaFontaines, Kassidy and of course the QMU favourites Twin Atlantic.
But enough of the nostalgia; my freshers week was two years ago (!). This year I had the perspective of someone who was involved. I’m part of a student society known as STaG (Student Theatre at Glasgow) and so we had our own unique freshers week agenda. Our aim was to recruit as many new faces into our society and the best way of doing this is flyering the crap out of the campus. Glasgow being what it is we did this in adverse weather conditions, wearing bright orange t-shirts and asking people to hug the STaG bear (he’s not VERY wet from the rain I promise!) It was a lot of fun to have our own stand and contribute to the wonderful (and vitally necessary) Freshers Fair. In between flyering we would join the vast mob of people rushing to the Dominos van to get our free slice of pizza. One thing I’ve learnt from the varying experiences of freshers week over the past three years is that the Freshers Fair is something that has to be done if you want to make any impact upon the university during your time here. There is almost every society you can think of, from CUT film making to the Jane Austen Appreciation Society. At least go for the free pizza!
It’s quite easy to take the piss out of freshers week, with classically expected “debauchery,” but it is something that we all have to go through. Plus a little bit of ridicule is never harmless when the idea of the week is FUN.
Apart from anything else, this year’s freshers week made me feel incredibly OLD. Has it really been two years since I first came here? I can’t help but envy every single young person that comes here for the first time and gets the big freshers week hug. I’m jealous of all of you!