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A day in the life of a Manchester fresher

Ask any student what their opinion of Freshers’ week is and you’ll get a whole range of adjectives. Crazy. Hectic. Surreal. Amazing. I can vouch for Manchester, and after recently bracing the madness of Freshers’ for the third time in a row, I can wholeheartedly tell you that it’s incredible. But as great as it is, it’s often overwhelming. So I thought I’d break it down a bit, and give you a taste of a day in the life of a fresher. And not just any fresher – A Manchester fresher (the best kind, if you ask me!).

9am – Okay, you might naturally be an ‘early riser’ (chances are, you aren’t), but you’re not going to be up at this time. Stay in bed and sleep off the hangover.

11.30am – The less hungover/zombiefied of us may roll out of bed and commit to a hearty breakfast of last night’s pizza.

12pm – Where did the morning go? Spend a while marveling at the mess of your flat’s communal areas. Kick out last night’s remaining hangers-on that are passed out on the sofa. Attempt to pick up the dozens of bottles decorating the kitchen floor. Admit defeat.

1pm – Round together flatmates and vow to do something productive. Attempt to cook an actual meal, resulting in a screeching fire alarm and your entire block being evacuated (yes, this was me.)

2pm – Look at tonight’s activities and realize there are numerous fancy dress items required. Trundle into town and fight off other fellow freshers in Primark to ensure your quality items are secured.

3pm – Come home with bags of garlands, geek glasses and a Spice Girls outfit that you’ll later come to regret.

4pm – Head to Sainsbury’s for an alcohol run. Remember, in freshers’ week (and probably for the duration of your university career), going to supermarkets in slippers and/or pyjamas is entirely acceptable. Grab what’s left of the Sainsbury’s basics and head home, clinking.

The dreaded dirty pint

5pm – Time to freshen up! Quick shower before generally monging around for a bit.

6pm – It’s not too early to start drinking is it?

7pm – put on hilarious fancy dress outfit. Laugh at fellow freshers with even more hilarious outfits.

9pm – The serious drinking begins. If you didn’t know the rules to Ring of Fire, then now is the time to learn. Start to feel a bit on the tipsy side, but told you’ll be fine. Next drink is poured.

10pm – Get landed with the dirty pint. Enjoy a delicate mix of wine, lager and assorted spirits. Make a run for the bathroom.

11.30pm – Prepare to make a move. This is around the time when singing, chanting and general banter commences. Crack out your best anthems.

11.45pm – Get on a notorious Magic bus. Be sure to go to the top deck. Shouting, laughter and general bus rowdiness prevails. Manage to fit twenty people onto the back seat of the bus to the delight of fellow students.

12am – Arrive at club. Get a warning from the bouncer who eventually lets you in. What a babe.

1am – Head to the bar for your third (?) vodka coke. The dancefloor looks more appealing than ever!

2am – Throw some shapes and kiss someone. Almost immediately forget their name and pray you’ll never see them again.

3am – Stumble onto a bus with your new best friend/soulmate/confidante. Meet Crazy Bus Lady for the first time.

3.30am– Takeaway time! Back to the flat, stuff down chicken wings and a few chips, and drop the rest in your bed.

4am – The only thing left to do is pass out, surrounded by bottles, chips and other freshers. Good food, good wine (well, perhaps not the best…) and great friends. What more could you want?

And repeat…

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni

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Living the Mancunian dream…

Two years in Manchester has taught me a lot. Being a student is like being in training for adulthood, where amazing friendships, heartbreak and whole nights lost to cheap vodka are all part of the deal. Manchester has an incredible allure, and the fact that it has over three hundred bars and clubs definitely helped in persuading me that it was where I wanted to be!

Both the city and the student population are huge. When I first arrived, hardly a day would go by when I didn’t find myself, quite frankly, a bit lost. Even now, after nearly two years, I still find myself asking for directions, wandering aimlessly round a random part of town.

The city centre is a blast, but student life in Manchester revolves around one place in particular – Fallowfield. Fallowfield is a town on the outskirts of the city, and is the heart of all student goings-on. Living there is like a constant party (with a student discount, of course), and it almost never sleeps. I say almost, because when exam period hits, the student haunts become eerily quiet.

The thing about Manchester students is that they work as hard as they play. And they play HARD. You learn this in Fresher’s week. Mine was something of a blur of cheap wine, fancy dress, forgetting names and being herded into bars and clubs with my newly acquired best friend (we never spoke again). The pace was incredible. My daily routine was: wake up, feel a bit ill, journey into town to find my bunny ears/police hat/eye patch, rock back up to the flat and pour myself a drink or five. I did this for nine days straight before I started to feel pretty exhausted, and inevitably came down with the dreaded Fresher’s flu. Was it worth it? Definitely!

The nightlife in Manchester really IS all it’s cracked up to be. I like to describe it as a ‘cheap London’. After a while, you do learn to be a bit picky. With so many places to go, theoretically, stumbling into the first club you see would be a fantastic plan….In Manchester city centre, not so much. The thing with having so many different clubs is that they differ so much. The sticky, darkened walls of the indie clubs I love might be another’s worst nightmare. The amount of choice is initially pretty overwhelming, but everyone soon learns where they like, where they wouldn’t be seen dead…and where they’ve been kicked out of.

Another bonus point for Manchester is the buses. It’s one of the busiest bus routes in Europe, and they run all night too – very handy for saving that taxi money and splashing out on a post-night out kebab!

The night buses are a classic example of the sort of community that Manchester students form. With a bag of chips shared and (another) new best friend later, the party continues in Fallowfield. Random flat parties and a cheeky snog outside a takeaway are all standard behaviour for a true Mank night.

For me, student life in Manchester is a perfect mix of personal and impersonal. In the vastness of the city, it’s comforting to know that students are never far away, and are always there to catch me when I fall – both literally and metaphorically!

Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni