Fresher’s planner: I can cram first year into April. Probably

Some freshers find the freedom goes to their heads so here’s a little ‘not-to-do’ list for the first time student


Week 1: Freshers’ week, stuff of legend. This is the time to join every society and club with an attractive shopfront and free wine.

“Are you into tantric cricket?” asks the “Keep Calm and Think Cricket” T-shirt. “I am now” shall come the reply. And “yes I do love French cinema of the 1960s, sign me up”. First week going rather well. Off for a spot of roof skating.

Week 2: First lectures. Wow. What a lot of people all trying to sneak a look at each other. They should do these lectures in amphitheatres.

Talk of assignments already. So on top of this – going to check out the library directly after lunch in the college bar.

Week 3: Actually the cafe’s not a bad place to study. Will get to the library in October. Wouldn’t want to push too hard and peak too soon like the Leaving.

Week 4: Last week of freedom before the real work starts.

Week 1: Okay down to business – how long is this term? What the hell is Michaelmas? Off to the library with a book list several pages long.

Most of the books on the list already checked out. Add name to the waiting list, put the one remaining coursework title on a desk with a jacket to hold it, head out for a coffee.

Return to bagsied desk four hours later to get jacket. Call mother to say dinner will not be required. Too busy in the library. Head for bar.

Week 2: Miss most lectures this week on account of tantric cricket and related festivities. Not to worry, will spend weekend on college intranet watching the podcasts.

Spend weekend with tantric cricketer.

Week 3: Into third week of lectures now. Not at all sure about that Tuesday lecture with the beardy guy. May not be clever enough for this course.

Closing date for receipt of deferral of academic year applications – oops, missed it. Won’t be heading off to Kerala for the year so. Better try and understand what beardy guy is on about. Will go to the library directly after lunch. This time it’s for real.

Week 4: Meant to get to the library this week.

Week 1: Reading week? What the Dickens is this? Not complaining, plenty of “fieldwork” to be getting on with.

Grant finally arrives, great, now the bank can be paid back. Uh, oh – looks like the grant won’t cover what’s already been spent. Time to get a job. Lucky it’s reading week. Now reading small ads.

End of term assignments due in four weeks. Plenty of time but need to get going now. Straight to the library after lunch in the student bar. Honestly.

Weeks 2, 3 and 4: Where the hell did November go? Eight-hour library marathon trying to pull together an assignment on time and identity in realist drama. None of the books are back. Use Wikipedia as a starting point. And an endpoint. Fabricate references. This is the last time assignments will be left until the last week of term.

Sheepishly hand in rubbish assignment and run before the tutor appears. Christmas!

Week 1: There will be no repeat of last term’s procrastination. No more missed lectures and library dodging. Resign from at least two clubs.

Week 2: Valentine’s Day coming. Love- themed student nights in every bar in town. Too good to miss.

Week 3: All the cursed course books are checked out again. Spend entire month’s budget buying one course book from the college book shop out of sheer panic and guilt. Take it to the library, open on the desk. Go for coffee.

Week 4: Student union elections on. Helping with the Ents campaign is vital career networking. The library will still be there next week.

Week 1: Reading week again – sweet. Must finish the Twilight series.

Week 2: Twenty-four-hour library opening heralds the run-in to exams. More hours to not be in the library. Guilty at 2am as well as 2pm.

Week 3: So many lectures missed now too afraid to ask anyone in the class what the hell is going on with assignments.

Week 4: Exam timetables posted. Feel sick.

Last few weeks to cram. Don’t know where to begin. Clever, conscientious fellow student steps in and recommends five things to read to avoid total humiliation. Not to be had in the library so cash in Prize Bonds and buy on Amazon. Stay up for 72 hours reading. Actually some of this stuff is pretty interesting.

Exams over. Start studying for repeats in August.

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