A Senior in a “Fresher” World (Nicole Engbretson)

Let me expand a bit on my experience as a “fresher” so far over here. This being my second to last semester of my undergrad at SNC, I have plenty both to worry about and to look forward to. Looking into jobs, the GRE, paying off loans… And here I am, essentially experiencing freshman year all over again. It’s actually a nice break from reality, to be honest.

It’s not just the being on my own on this particular campus, meeting new people, and having new professors (called “tutors”). Although I am taking upper level classes at Goldsmiths, I am as I said before in freshman (“freshers”) housing. Now, you’re all thinking about our campus, aren’t you? I probably have to share a room with at least one other person, and the bathrooms and showers are all the way down the hall, right? Wrong. Each individual has their own bedroom as well as their own ensuite bathroom equipped with a sink, toilet, and shower. There are eight of us in our flat (so, eight rooms) and we share a communal kitchen. The permanent students who live here (I mentioned last time that only two of us are temporary and both leaving in December, whereas five are from all around England and our sixth flatmate is American but completing her undergrad here) will be able to move off-campus already starting their second year.

The programming here is also extremely different. Where some of us back in the states flip-flop with our major and minor choices until we find the right one, the majority of these students have been focusing on their course of study since they were about fifteen or sixteen – No one comes into university (“uni”) as undecided. They also do not take general studies courses. For example, my flatmate Ben is a Popular Music major – He is required to take specific classes and lessons his first and second years, and then will have a small amount of input in what studies he chooses in his third and final year. Classes are often broken into lectures or seminars, and sometimes a little of both. There is a lot less lecture time in general for most courses of study: Although I am taking four classes, I have a grand total of seven hours of lecture a week between all four. I have a feeling being a second-semester senior after this experience will be even worse than usual!

I feel like I can’t write you an entry about freshers without talking about the partying. Recall either participating or watching as incoming freshman stereotypically go absolutely crazy the beginning of their first semester, and slowly start settling down a little more? At first I thought it was just my particular flatmates that never stopped (don’t get me wrong, I do adore them all), but because the on-campus students are primarily first years (and, to be fair, some are exchange students who cannot legally drink at home), Goldsmiths is an absolute madhouse at night – Not just on the weekends. However, these things are by no means only happening on this campus.  Needless to say, some of the party people in London really do seem to go big or go home.

Nicole Engbretson is studying at Goldsmiths College in London, England.

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