Diary of a fresher
1 After a long drive from home, we arrive at my hall of residence, and I check in. The warden gives me a set of keys and a room number. It's five floors up, and the lift doesn't work. Finally, with my mother red in the face and short of breath, we find Room 8, I unlock the door, and we all walk in.
2 After one minute, my father climbs out. The room is barely big enough for one, and certainly not big enough for the whole family. I can lie on the bed and touch three walls without moving a muscle.
3 Lucky my brother and my dog didn't come too.
4 Later. My parents have just left. I'm here alone, surrounded by my books and a suitcase. What do I do next?
5 There's a coffee morning for first year students. I meet my tutor, who is tall with round shoulders, and looks determined to be pleasant.
6 "Have you come far?" he asks me. As he speaks, he moves his head from side to side, which makes his coffee spill into the saucer.
7 "I live not far from Edinburgh, about six hours away," I explain.
8 "Splendid!" he says, and moves on to the girl standing beside me. "Have you come far?" he asks, "splendid," he says, without waiting for the answer, and moves on. He takes a sip of coffee, and looks surprised to find the cup is empty.
9 My mother calls. She asks if I've met my tutor yet.
10 Am feeling a little hungry, and I realize I haven't eaten for two days. I go downstairs and find that I can have three meals a day in the dining hall. I go down and join a very long queue.
11 "What's for breakfast?" I ask the boy in front of me.
12 "Don't know. I was too late for breakfast. This is for lunch."
13 It's self-service and today's menu includes chicken, rice, potatoes, salad, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt and fruit. The boy in front puts it all on his plate, pays for it, and goes to sit down.
14 Not feeling very hungry any more.
15 My mother calls. She asks if I'm eating proper meals.
16 I have a lecture at 9 am. I wake up at 8.45. No one has woken me. Strange.
17 I get dressed, and rush over to the lecture hall. I sit down beside a girl who looks half asleep. She looks at me. "Just got up?" she asks. How can she tell?
18 The lecture takes an hour, and at the end I look at my notes. I can't read my handwriting.
19 The girl's name is Sophie and she's an English literature major, like me. She looks very intelligent, and when we chat after the lecture, she tells me she read the whole of this term's reading list during her gap year. She impresses me, and I feel so ignorant that I shouldn't even breathe the same air as her.
20 Mum calls. She asks if I slept OK.
21 It's the Freshers' Fair today, and Sophie and I go along to see how many clubs we can join. We both agree that we want to make a lot of friends, so I sign up for ballroom dancing, the Artificial Intelligence Society, b
Diary of a fresher
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