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Freshers’ Week Will Be Underwhelming, But That’s OK

Freshers’ Week Will Be Underwhelming, But That’s OK main image

Despite knowing full well that freshers’ week is overrated, I often look back to the uncertain, beer-soaked days of my first year at Queen Mary University in Mile End with rose-tinted glasses. Admittedly, this is mostly because I suffer from incapacitating memory loss. Last night, after spending the entire day doing grownup things like laundry and killing spiders with squares of toilet roll, I found myself praising my university’s abominable student bar, the infamous Drapers Bar & Kitchen.

Drapers was heaven on earth - the lights were depressing, the floors were sticky with beer and vomit and people would literally grope you on the dancefloor, but you could get unashamedly sloshed, before speaking to (and kissing) strangers in the smoking area who found your stated ambition in life to hitchhike to Berlin enthralling.

I sometimes miss those contrived yet enthusiastic conversations, because I know that if I were to strike up a similar conversation at work instead of the inane and awkward  “what are your plans for the weekend?” I’d probably be referred to HR. Yet, the truth is, I don’t actually want to hitchhike to Berlin because it sounds dangerous - and I need to stay at home to water my potted plants.

For the same reason, it’s probably best that I don’t have to go through freshers’ week again. Despite the hype, most people find freshers’ week to be a bit like their first sexual experience - mildly disappointing, if not tarnished by paralyzing loneliness or some horrifically embarrassing and amateurish mistake (setting off your halls’ fire alarm after thinking a sock over the smoke detector would allow you to smoke indoors, for example).

Revisiting Draper’s Bar and Kitchen on Google Maps, I find much of it has changed. It actually looks less disgusting now, although I note with relief that it’s still home to the “best on-campus events including the legendary Hail Mary nights and Mondays’ Calling”.

I was profoundly marked by both nights. Indeed, I was always a bit of a yutz - to give you an idea, I wore a Tony the Tiger t-shirt to my high school graduation while all of my classmates were in suits, heels and bandage dresses. Suffice it to say, braving the intimidating crowds of freshers’ week and ordering my first drink at the bar as a late bloomer proved somewhat unnerving.

By second year, however, I was asking friends to meet me at Draper’s as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Which is why I take comfort in knowing that another cohort of heavily perfumed wide-eyed freshers will brave the elements at Draper’s Bar and Kitchen very soon. If you’re going to be one of them, don’t worry if it all seems overwhelming. You’ve got at least three years to make this place feel like home. Plus, when it’s only £3 for a shot and mixer on Monday and Wednesday nights, why wouldn’t you?

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Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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