This September, I became a University student as did tens of thousand others around the UK and the hundreds of thousand other across the globe. As earlier stated, I went to the University of Kent in Canterbury.
After not really packing for a whole week, it was a bit of a mad rush on the morning of Saturday the 20th! My Mum helped me pack clothes and stuff I hadn’t even thought of like loo roll, kitchen stuff and even socks! The campus opened for freshers at 8 and with us leaving at 2ish, we arrived there about half four. I signed in, collected my key fob and headed to my accommodation.
My accommodation was in one of the three Tyler Court blocks and as requested (due to my CFS/ME) I was on the ground floor. My whole family helped me move all my stuff into my new digs. My PC, posters and teddy bears all went in. After everything was in, I realised that I didn’t have that many worldly processions. After unpacking we popped off the the city to help me get my bearings and to grab some essentials
We returned to campus and I waved off my family (My Mum was pretty upset). It was difficult for them because it would all be the same, minus me. For me it was all brand new and exciting. And it really was. Over the weekend I remained fairly close to my room. I introduced myself to the other flatmates, and promptly forgot their names!
Before coming to Kent, I was encouraged by one of the lectures to join the “Computer Science Freshers Group 2014” on Facebook. I’m not a huge fan of Facebook and hadn’t really used it since year 10 (5 years!) but I signed up anyway (with a small nudge from my Mum!). The group was very friendly with the majority of the users being freshers to be, a couple of lectures and about a dozen current students.
One of the students proposed that because the whole week all scripted and planned by the Uni for the students, wouldn’t be good to have an event for the students by the students - and most said yes, including me. The meeting was scheduled for the Sunday evening in Origins Bar.
After spending most of Sunday hiding/chilling in my room, I was looking forward to the meet up. At Kent all the colleges have their own bar/cafe with a related name e.g. Darwin has Origins and Turing has Hut 8. Darwin is right next to Rutherford so a quick walk and I was there. I nervously walked in and order a drink - cola (my Mum would be proud) and checked Facebook. “Look for the Hats!”
The message left me felling a little confused. Hats?! Scanning the room, I saw two guys in t-shirts one with a top hat and the other with a pirate hat. I guess I found them! They were tucked away in the corner and I sat next to them and engaged in the usual awkward small talk. As more CS students arrived people got more chatty and I met several guys, one of whom who stayed in the block opposite. We soon out grew the corner so we opted to move to the other side of the bar and about 40 freshers relocated.
The relocated group shuffled around and most sat next to someone new. I though I new a guy in the corner, but I wasn’t sure - but he sure recognised me! We met at the interview day back in March - he was the impeccable dressed guy, while I was in a t-shirt and jeans! As the evening when on people got know each other and their inner geek was reviled - mostly through the form of geeky jokes and even one about GitHub! That’s when I started to feel like I belonged there.
The actual week was pretty relaxed with a few CS lectures as an introduction to the course, the lectures, what was expected of us and what we expected of them. There were a few events and of course the Freshers Fayre towards the end of the week. Over three days every club, sport, society, religion and random group of people got their chance to attract new, unsuspecting freshers to join their ranks.
I, of course signed up for SFX (Sci-Fi, Fantasy and eXtreme cult), AGS (Adventure Gaming Society) and TinkerSoc (Tinker Society). SFX is watching films and shows which fit those categories, AGS is board games - so every thing from Monopoly up to and beyond D’n’D and TinkerSoc is the Universities Maker Space. I am a big guy, so by the end of the week I had 3 flyers from Rugby and 2 from American Football! I did some more socialising over the week, including going clubbing(!) and getting to know my flatmates more.
And that was it for my first ever week at University and I can’t wait for it to start proper!