Memoirs of a Refresher | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Memoirs of a Refresher

Comment's Jenny McKay shares her experience of her refresher's week, and celebrates the lack of pressure that comes with second year

I made it through first year. I passed, I made a few friends, I managed to get a roof over my head at least for the next year. Though now my next stress is mounting; Refresher's Week. So much pressure is put on fresher’s week for it to be the pinnacle of your university social life. However, I must say there are some significant differences to be noted between first and second year.

The excitement of receiving that first sum of money from student finance in first year has gone. Gone is the monopoly money mentality of first year as now you realise how expensive living alone is. And it is very expensive. As a result, most second years I know have spent the week either working as a university ambassador or training for a job throughout term to maintain their Fab and Fresh habit.

Gone is the monopoly money mentality of first year

As a result, I went out a grand total of once. And it was on a Sunday. Needless to say, it was hardly the highlight of my week as I attended 9am training the next morning in a hoodie I had in fact slept in. I decided that queueing for an hour outside vodbull wasn’t worth the cramped clubs. I remember in first year it was almost a competition to see who could put their body through the most nights out, though I struggle now to name one second year who made it out every night of freshers. That’s ok though, our priorities have shifted slightly.

In fact, the common ground of the sesh and it’s associated exploits is no longer discussed between students in lectures and seminars. Now the common ground appears to be about fridges. I can’t convey the amount of conversations I have been involved with or have had the pleasure of overhearing about fridges. Tom’s fridge keeps freezing his food, Dick’s housemate has taken up all the fridge space and Harry’s fridge straight up doesn’t work, despite the landlord fixing it multiple times. These gosh darn fridges! It still amazes me how long people (including myself) can maintain a conversation about food preservation. Maybe it is a British thing, we’ve exhausted the weather so now much talk about the small pocket of climate-controlled air in which we keep our food. I don’t know but I do know that I know a weird amount about random acquaintances’ fridges.

The sesh and it’s associated exploits is no longer discussed between students in lectures and seminars

Don’t misunderstand me though, this is in no way a complaint against refreshers. In retrospect, I doubt I made any lasting friendships through drinking excessively throughout freshers last year, just a lot of random snapchat adds. And now, despite never having spoken again, I now watch their lives unfold through their stories and hope they are happy. My old flatmate told me she had recently had a cull of these so-called ‘sesh friends’ but honestly I think I’m more attached than I’d like to admit. In reality, the sobriety of my refreshers has allowed me to pursue much more meaningful friendships, based on common ground (including our fridge horror stories) rather than overly-confident confessions I made that I wanted to be lifelong friends with them, soon to be forgotten.

The sobriety of my refreshers has allowed me to pursue much more meaningful friendships

I know this is the case for many of my fellow refreshers too. Without the constant fuzz of a hangover, they have tried new sports, joined new societies, and gone for coffee with old friends. I’m not saying that freshers should be a solely sober event by any means, but I think the idea that you’re doing it wrong if you don’t pass out every night is one to be discouraged. Though it sounds odd, I would rather hear about someone’s fridge nightmare than about how little they can remember about the last week.

I think this is the difference between freshers and refreshers, you’ve been there and done that, you may even have got the t-shirt from a random bar crawl you attended! But now you have the benefit of retrospect and clarity, unclouded by the preconceived ideas of university.


English student with very poor grammar


14th October 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

13th October 2018 at 10:16 pm

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