After weeks of hearing about the infamous Freshers Week, the time finally came and thousands of young first years descended upon Newcastle. I was admittedly a bit hesitant about what this week would bring as an older (but still young!) first-year post-graduate student. The university told us repeatedly that all activities were also open to the post-graduate community. While my days of bar hopping until the sun comes up and frolicking coatless in close to freezing temperatures are over, Freshers Week did still have quite a bit to offer in terms of getting to know the new city I’ll be living in and the campus I’ll be utilizing. Depending on program, each post-graduate student had varied schedules, however mine was structured so I was able to participate in some Freshers Week events, but also attend all of the program specific induction week activities.
One of the things I immediately associate with Britain is tea. So it was delightfully predictable that the induction week for my program has included lots of tea, biscuits, and wonderful previews of the lectures and courses to come. Monday morning was a great introduction into my program led by our degree program director. She gave an overview of the lecturers who would be teaching us, the expectations of the courses, as well as what we can expect to achieve by the end of our year at Newcastle. It was also the first time I got to meet several of the other students pursing the same degree program. The week included a tea and biscuit mixer with some of the professors we’d be in contact with throughout the year, as well as brief taster lectures to give us an idea of what each module would cover. We were also able to get a campus tour and a guided look at the resources available to us at the library as well as in various resource centers in the main building for our degree program. Toward the end of the week we were invited to a showcase of some of the research being done by professors and researchers in our fields of interest.
As for Freshers Week and the opportunities available through the Newcastle Student Union, I have not been disappointed. There were city tours and cultural events, pub-crawls and live music nights. They had tickets for The Tempest at a stage on campus, as well as weekend trips to see sights nearby. Getting a chance to explore Newcastle and learn more about its history was wonderful. Since we are still in the introduction period, it is great that we have options provided by the university to get exposure to events and activities outside of our comfort zones or typical routines while our schedules still allow time for it. I’m sure for the typical “Fresher” the week offered even more opportunities for making new friends and getting a handle on what college life is like. As for those older post-graduates, even though some activities felt directed specifically toward the younger crowd, my program and the university went above and beyond to facilitate opportunities for me to meet friends within my program and to feel more confident and prepared to tackle this year academically and socially. I am already looking forward to the next time I get to make a new friend over tea and biscuits!