My BF Blogs: How 7 years of fresher's weeks have prepared me for #YoPro life
Introducing Dan, my wonderful boyfriend (and glamorous blog assistant/photographer/editor)! As he's been part of The #YoPro Edit since day one, we thought it was about time he put his newly learnt blogging skills to the test. This is his first post in my new series 'My Boyfriend Blogs' - give him some love!
You could say I am a fresher's week veteran. My first fresher’s week was in 2010. Seven years later, I am still wandering around rooms asking nametag-wearing-newbies what they study. However, this isn’t a consequence of failing first year seven times; my Master's at Southampton was four years long and I am now in the third year of my PhD at the University of Oxford. With all this experience, I believe seven years of fresher's week have prepared me well for a life post-university!
1) Mastering small talk
Small talk. It’s a sad fact of life that meeting people usually involves small talk. I always try and move beyond this quickly, but sadly it's not always possible. You will definitely suffer the inevitable mid week lull where you cannot face meeting another Joe from block A. However, so many careers are founded on first impressions and from the humble beginnings of small talk. All those painful conversations you had with people you'll never meet again will come in handy - I promise!
2) Alcohol never fails as social lubricant
Unsurprisingly, fresher’s week involves a lot of alcohol, removing the characteristic British reserve and allowing students to loosen up! It can also provide wonderful material to talk about with your new friends: who stole the traffic cone, who threw up in a bin and who went home with a 45 year old dinner lady! (Lauren reading whilst editing this blogpost: What? Dan I hope that wasn't you!!) Professional boundaries are definitely more rigorous, however, so don’t go too crazy on the Jagerbombs! Nevertheless, after work drinks are just as important now as when you were 18.
3) A new start is the perfect time to reinvent your hobbies
With new friends, fresher’s fairs and sports teams jostling for your attention, you have an endless choice of new hobbies to pick up during fresher’s week. For me, this ranged from tennis to photography and from cooking to consultancy. The transition from university to professional life is even more pronounced and allows you to further revaluate what is important to you (especially now that time is more precious!). Do you really want to stay in to watch Made in Chelsea on Monday? (Lauren reading whilst editing: You definitely do darling!!) Do you want to start Zumba? Are you sick of telling people that you don’t play any sports? These are the big questions and now is the time to reinvent your hobby list!
4) Someone you meet will really wind you up
Fresher’s week encourages you to spread your wings and talk to people more readily than usual. Unfortunately, this means you will inevitably end up in a conversation with someone you would normally avoid! Fortunately, this is good training for professional life; you can perfect the art of nodding along happily whilst thinking of all the other things/places/people/food/anything you'd rather be doing/talking to!
5) You learn to cope with exhaustion
Fresher's week is exhausting and so is starting your first grad job. With the training you had from fresher's (and the added 100 units you may have consumed that week), you'll be absolutely fine!
6) Forgetting some names is inevitable
The ability to remember names is extremely useful. It's important for bonding and appearing polite and engaged. We've all been there in fresher's week when you need to introduce your friend to someone you met yesterday and you cannot for the life of you remember their name! When faced with this situation in the workplace: think back to those creative solutions you dreamt up during fresher's: comparing student cards/workcards....asking for email addresses?
7) You can meet very special people
Amongst all the temporary friendships, you will meet people who will become incredibly important players in your life. I met many of my best friends in my very first fresher’s week in Southampton and we are all as close as ever. What's to say your entry into the grad market won't be the same either? Relish the opportunity to meet new people. I met the #YoPro herself at Oxford fresher’s week and meeting her was worth a million inane conversations. I hope that I will make many more lifelong bonds in my professional life, but I know nothing will ever compete with this one!