St. Andrean Freshers are not given the crazy nightlife that one might find in Manchester; so our student representatives had the hard task of providing us with nights to remember in a sleepy cobbled town where most places close before 2 a.m. I asked first years which events were favourites and which failed during their first week.
The general consensus is that Tribal Warfare was the ultimate event of the week. Why was this? Everybody got together and left their halls, filling out the Union venue while the theme gave the opportunity for war cries, anthems and scrum-dancing. The face paints spurred on patriotism within halls of residence that brought students together and introduced other years into the equation as they mingled with drunken Freshers and remembered ‘the good-old-days’ when they were in university accommodation.
The Foam Party was a close runner-up. Excluding the occasions when guests were simultaneously blinded and suffocated by the billowing bubbles, the foam got people down-and-dirty; laughing, boogying and soaking up the fun before they traipsed home burping bubbles.
Some first-years were lucky enough to attend an ‘academic family dinner’ during their Fresher’s Week. These are a more unique experience during which St. Andrean rookies are introduced to the world of third-years. Everyone I have spoken to who bagged themselves a free dinner with ‘the fam’ considered this one of the best nights they had. The civilised introduction was a sociable beginning to a drunken night of St. Andrean fun. Freshers felt ‘at home’ with people who will mentor and guide them – whether learning where it is good to go out, being introduced to older years or just being trained to handle (excessive amounts of) alcohol.
Sadly, not every night was as successful. While Jose Gonzalez was appreciated for his calm vibe and loved-up crowd, Rob da Bank, Sinner’s Sports and The Bop were less successful, according to some. Rob da Bank robbed the bank and the event was hyped up but overlooked after a heavy weekend – a shame considering he had travelled all the way up to a remote little town in Scotland. The Bop was filled by a weary group of people, coughing and snotting Freshers’ Flu all over Venue 1. If you were hammered, you would have had a great time. Otherwise, it was a little empty and a bit too sober.
So, what worked and what could have worked better? Foam and Tribal excelled as charged sociable themes while Jose Gonzalez offered a drop in tone and an evening in which people could lean on each other and sway to his hypnotic guitar
But what to improve? Perhaps if The Bop and the Foam Party had swapped nights? Of course, Freshers will always hit it up hard on their first night at university and the novelty of foam would have given them an incentive to head out for a final night of fun. Maybe Sinner’s Sports should take place after teams begin practice – besides, it feels as though events have abruptly ended after the first week.
Finally, interaction between first-years and other years appears to improve a good night out. Not only are we frantically trying to find prospective parents (perhaps an Academic Parent Date/Dance Night, anyone?) but as a general rule, more experienced students are fun to be around. They know what is good and what is not worth heading to, they have a group of friends who can take you under their wing and ease off the pressures of spending time with strangers. Of course, they can also offer advice and reassurance about the struggles of being a Fresher. And if your Freshers’ Week was just a drunken blur – good on you.