As a newly matriculated Fresher, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was absolutely blown away by my first week in this town. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
The whirlwind that is Freshers’ week had me dazed, confused, and more than anything else, excited about spending four years here. This is what Fresher’s week is supposed to do, and St Andrews does it well.
That was three years ago. Returning as a fourth year, it is hard to walk down the street and hear the excited first years’ exclamations without scoffing knowingly. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done that. And you couldn’t pay me to do it again.
Freshers week shenanigans. Getting conned into paying membership dues for societies you’ll never actually participate in. Raising weekend craziness. Raisin weekend parenting. Break ups. Hook ups. Fall outs. Make ups. Opening ball. Christmas Ball. May Ball. Days you wish you could forget. Nights you always want to remember. Failed exams. Perfect scores. May dip drunk. May dip sober. St Andrews students throughout history have all shared those experiences. With 600 years worth of history, that’s a lot of students.
There is something unifying about being a student in St Andrews and sharing those landmark events. But enough is enough. This is a place you love for four years, and I am excited to complete this one, but once you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel the illusion starts to fade.
It’s like you’ve all of the sudden took the red pill instead of the blue, and the Matrix just doesn’t cut it anymore.
A fellow fourth year friend of mine said it best. He asked me if I remembered that amazing feeling in our second year, when you would walk into the union during fresher’s week and felt like you know everyone there. That feeling is gone.
Everywhere you look are faces you don’t recognize, and they all look so much younger. This is the first glimpse into what growing up really means. We will get to spend the rest of our lives feeling this way.
The staple of a fourth year’s Freshers’ week is no longer “Where are you from?” but rather “Where are you going?”.
Starting your fourth year is nothing but one big honking reminder that this is the end. So long, sayonara, and see you later: you’re time is up. And you can tell that this is the way it is supposed to be.
There are a few who cling on, stick it out for additional years and try to remain within the safe cocoon of these three streets. Their real answer to that question is therefore postponed for however long they can stay. Others pretend it’s simply not happening, acting like they’re still Freshers and avoiding the question all together. But most realize that they are nearing their expiration date, and while they have no idea what that means the answer to the question is simple: “Elsewhere.”
So let the young ones have their fun, but let me sit with my tea and complain about it. It’s all part of the life cycle of a student. Three years from now the keenest Freshers will be sitting in their flats, with their fellow fourth years, complaining about all the same crap we now love to hate.
At some point we just stopped drinking the kool-aid.