Tag Archives: Freshman

Comedy Night @ The Anson Rooms (UBU)

One of the first Fresher’s events this year was a comedy night with Carly Smallman, The Noise Next Door, and Mat Ewins as compere. Seeing as I hadn’t managed to get to any of their shows in Edinburgh I jumped at the chance to see them for free in the new and improved Student Union venue.

As an MC Mat Ewins does a decent job of getting to know the crowd and embarrassing enough people to get everyone in the mood for audience participation. His actual stand up got a mixed response but generally went down well – indeed one of our favourite palindrome based jokes was his!


Carly Smallman was great – a lovely mixture of stand up and musical comedy that she tried to relate well to the student audience, despite its more adult nature. Two of her songs were absolutely perfect. Firstly “Love song to myself” which was just lovely, and I think everyone should write their own. “I’m in love with my brother” wasn’t a complete hit with the audience, I think it was a little too twisted for some sensitive freshers, but my friend and I found it completely hilarious! 


The Noise Next Door are extremely good at what they do – improvised musical and sketch comedy – plus are absolutely lovely guys! With lots of audience participation I was nervous the sets might not work with a load of freshers but everyone got in the spirit and we came up with some hilarious scenarios for them to act/ sing out. I think I prefer the acting improv that they do, purely because it seems less set up than the songs, which while equally impressive have a very obvious structure. What I really love about the Noise Next Door is that they put absolutely everything into each scene – they aren’t afraid of any accent or scenario thrown out, they are great even when corpsing, and their dance moves are fantastically over the top.

Overall I think UBU organised a great freshers event, that for once wasn’t based around drinking!


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Your First Year

I have just finished my first year studying French and Italian at Bristol University. I have already written a reflective post about it, but today I wanted to give you my tips about how to make the most of your first year. I wasn’t one of those freshers that spent all their time drunk or hungover watching endless TV series on the internet (although a lot of that did happen…), and so I think I have picked up quite a few tips about how to get the best out of yourself and your university!

  1. Get out of bed and go to your lectures: It isn’t that hard to get to a 9am when a bit hungover, and especially if you just can’t be bothered there is really no excuse for not making the effort. We now have to pay £9000 for our university eduction, and if you don’t make the effort to learn as much as possible from the people you are paying to teach you then you are just throwing money away.
  2. Go to freshers fair, and take ALL the leaflets: You never know what might catch your interest, and there are so many random societies at Universities that you may never have thought about joining. Also at freshers fair you also get a crap load of free stuff that can save you a lot of money over the first term!
  3. If you find something you like doing, stick with it: I know a lot of people (including myself) that really enthusiastically joined a society, went for about 3 weeks and then couldn’t be bothered to carry on. They now regret that decision, and most are determined to join again next year.
  4. Don’t feel weird joining  a society late in the year: This is the other side of point 3. Most societies love to get new members, it doesn’t matter when in the year you join, no one will turn you away. I realised I really missed dancing so joined Dance Soc in February, and had the best time!
  5. Stop worrying about what other people think: At most schools people are put into categories; there is always the ‘cool’ group, the sporty lot etc. At University all that gets thrown out the window. I think when people get a fresh start they stop caring about their image, and instead just want to pursue their own interests and meet people with the same ones.  Also please don’t worry if you don’t drink/smoke/do drugs or whatever – at University I have found that everyone just accepts other people’s limits and decisions, and really won’t pressure you into it. Of course there are the occasional exceptions, especially sports team initiations, but generally speaking most people are happy to let you get on with what you want.
  6. You only ever regret what you don’t do: If there is an opportunity you want to take, a society you want to join, a person you want to talk to just go for it! There are so many great things that can happen at University, and if you don’t take the opportunity you really only have yourself to blame for that. If in the end it doesn’t work out that is ok, but at least you gave it a go. University is meant to help you broaden your interests and there are so many possibilities on offer that you are bound to find something totally new that you love doing!
  7. Be nice to everyone: You never who you may end up being best friends with, and you are constantly meeting new people throughout the year. It also just makes it easier to get along with a whole new set of people if you are nice, rather than overly bothered about your image/ having a specific group. Also I think being ‘cool’ at University is such a ridiculous concept – there are SO many people that there will never be a ‘cool’ group; there are just the really nice, interesting, approachable people, and the stand-offish ones that you cannot be bothered to deal with!
  8. Just because first year doesn’t count, doesn’t mean it isn’t important: At UK Universities, for the most part first year doesn’t count towards your degree; it is more a formative year to help you adjust to a new way of learning. But it is really important to take that seriously; not only do a lot of internships ask for your first year grades/ predicted grades, but also if you learn what is expected of you in first year, the rest of your time at University will be a lot easier.
  9. Don’t stress, and remember to have fun!: on the flip side of point 8, your first year should be fun. If you stress too much about work that won’t have TOO much of an impact on your future you will be making life a lot harder for yourself. Yes do all your work, be prepared for seminars, but also don’t feel too bad if you don’t spend as much time as you could revising for exams, or if every now and then you do an essay the night before the deadline. If instead you could be making better friends with someone, learning a new non-academic skill, or just letting yourself have a little break, that’s ok!
  10. Remember, everyone feels the way you do: Everyone is experiencing an entirely new way of living, meeting new people, trying to learn new things, being away from family and friends. Almost everyone gets scared, homesick, sad, happy, drunk, silly, shy. First year is such a whirlwind of emotions, people, and experiences that I think people who may be having a bad time forget that everyone else is going through the same thing. If you keep reminding yourself of that I think it makes it easier to talk to other people if you are feeling crappy, and you don’t get as annoyed at yourself for feeling anything other than “OMG THIS IS THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE EVER.” (I cried with my friend for far too long one evening about 2 weeks into first year when we were both really homesick… if that makes you feel better!)

I hope these tips help any of you starting University in September, and if you have already gone through first year please leave your tips for freshers below!

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My First Year

Yesterday I officially finished my first year studying French & Italian at Bristol. All my work and exams are done, and I just have to wait till the 8th July (ridiculously late, I know!) to find out my actual grade for the year. This morning I watched a video by zefrank, in which he gives some advice about starting university (or college, whichever you prefer). Although I was already feeling quite reflective today, this video made me really think about the past year and whether it fulfilled the expectations I had about university, and whether I achieved the goals I had set myself at the start of the year. Yes I’m one of those people that sets myself goals before I go into anything. That’s how I have always worked. I really dislike working within a timetable or anything too structured, I would much rather have specific goals and do however much or little that I need to do to achieve them.

Before I went to University I had a little bit of an existential crisis (as you do) and made myself a plan. Not a detailing out of what life would be like, but a list of skills and ideas that I needed to improve, that I wanted to achieve, and that I could develop further. My list included:

  1. Take every opportunity
  2. Talk to people
  3. Keep yourself up-to-date with the world around you (with the Times everyday I thought this would be very hard)
  4. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by it all and shut down (which I have a tendency to do)
  5. Stop doubting yourself and your abilities – be more assertive

I am really pleased to say that, for the most part, I feel like I have achieved these things. I joined the student radio and presented a show, a podcast, and am now co-Head of News for next year. I also joined the dance society, attended a really useful media course, and helped to further my post-A level Italian class’ fight to get a better course for the following years. I met one of my now best friends, who I am living with next year, because I was brave at a freshers event and just started talking to the nice looking girl sat to my left. I have remembered to check news websites (both in English and my other languages) pretty regularly, and I have kept up to speed with local and student news as well.

My last two points were and still are the most difficult to overcome. There were moments of crippling homesickness, 5am essay crises, and days when I just didn’t want to get out of bed. But despite all this, I have learnt that I am actually capable of coming up with good ideas (something I felt I struggled with all through secondary school), and that I can be assertive if I feel something should be done that isn’t happening. I have also learnt how to put things into perspective, and that sometimes it isn’t academic work , but the experiences you have with the people around you that teach you the most.

I didn’t go into University wanting to be the crazy party animal who turned up hungover to every lecture, missed classes because there was something more fun to do, and just wasted away my first year watching the entirety of Gossip Girl. That really isn’t the type of person I am, or want to be, and I probably wouldn’t ever classify myself as a ‘typical’ student. I wanted to lay the groundwork for the following years, both socially and in the more career driven aspects of Uni life. I am so happy how my first year turned out – I have made and kept friends that I know will be there for years to come, I have had experiences that I will never forget (a lot of which have, thankfully, been immortalised on facebook), and I have learnt so much, not only from my degree, but from everything else that has happened this year.

I hope to be able to pass on some of these lessons to anyone starting University this year, and I will be doing a separate post on how to survive/ make the most out of your first year.

But for now, here’s to my first year at University over, thank you to everyone who has made it so great!

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