The summer before I came to St. Andrews I exhausted Google search looking for any remotely useful advice on what I could expect as a St. Andrews’ student. And while I’m a huge advocate for pre-trip research I also guessed (and feared) that I’d learn the most through a combination of being very extraverted during Fresher’s week, trial and error, and some drunken jaunts through my new town.
Now that you have had a few weeks to explore town and uni life, we have compiled some first impressions from the class of 2017 as well as wisdom from students who have survived 2+ Raisin weekends.
Meet the Freshers
“Me and my friend ate pizza in the fountain on Market street. And, someone we didn't know hopped in and we made friends with him…”
“I was pleased with how well everyone opened up to each other and that everyone was looking to make new friends.”
– Will G.
“Apart from the inevitable outcome of freshers flu, freshers week was a bundle of laughs. All those who remember it will confirm this for the mix of drinks and friends is always a pleasant one. It was a great opportunity to get the year started."
“My most awkward moment during Fresher's Week was being asked to be someone's daughter the first night in the Union when I had been in St. Andrew's for barely 12 hours. I knew about the tradition but was not expecting people to be so forward about it. Although I'm not entirely sure I'll ever get used to people asking me if I still need a mum or dad!"
“I saw someone through the glass of a door while walking through the corridor and started waving at them. Turns out I didn’t know them.”
“Forgetting people’s names has probably been the most awkward part of freshers especially when you’ve met them the night before.”
“I’d imagine it would be scary or intimidating coming to St. Andrews without knowing anyone but there are 20-30 people here from my school and it’s helped me break me break into uni life."
Advice to Freshers
"The biggest piece of advice anyone gave me was be nice to everyone, because you don't know who is going to be important in your life. In my Fresher’s week, I went along to the lacrosse tryout day, and I ended up doing a drill with this super intense girl who gave me disapproving looks a lot, and if I'm honest, was really intimidating. Even though it didn't happen straight after that, that girl is now my housemate and best friend. But moreover, the qualities that scared me then are probably the things that I most respect now; not only do you not know who is going to be important, I don't think you always know what values and priorities you're going to end up having."
– Tiffany, Third Year.
"In first year I wish I had known that work was relatively unimportant and that first year is about learning the ropes rather than ploughing through the academic year. In terms of advice, I would tell the first year to get stuck in to as many aspects of life that the university offers. It will provide a great foundation to your university experience. Also, really take advantage of your free time and live it to the fullest. And, one last thing…Don’t take things seriously. They’re really not."
– Edward, Fourth Year.
"Enjoy it, because it passes by so quickly. And even if you hate it now, you’ll love it in the end."
– Alina, Fourth Year.
"Don’t get drunk and pull out your credit card."
– Jake, Third Year.
“You will get a lot of curveballs thrown at you over the next few years. Crazy landlords, homesickness, housing catastrophes, deadlines, any flavor of drama that comes your way. The best way to deal with them is with a sense of humor. Easier said than done, but keep laughing! That’s been the most important thing for me.”
– Sophie, Third Year.
“Explore as many possibilities as you can for your 3rd course. And go to Taste for great coffee!”
– Ilinca, Fourth Year.
“Don't stress too much about finding the perfect apartment to move into next year. Focus more on finding the people you want to spend all day living with."
– Kartinah, Third Year.
My own two cents, particularly to international students, would be to remind yourself every day to be open-minded. Whether it's for classes, social life or travel, St. Andrew's life can take a little time to get used to but once you fully embrace it as your college home you'll have a blast! Oh and when you do move into an apartment – buy a space heater!!