This is my second fresher’s week in so many years. The first, when I was actually a fresher, was spent on nights out to the local clubs and meeting people from my past and future. I went along to student activities events and made myself sit for hours sorting out my timetable and buying books and food shopping for the first time. It was a turning point for me, giving me the belief that I could actually do this, live away from home and do everything for myself.
This time round, I was wiser, a little more experienced and restrained, feeling like I knew what to expect from this one. Yes, I was in a different country, in fact a different continent, but how much could really change from small detail of the drinking age being 21? There were under-aged students during our fresher’s week, so I didn’t expect a lot to have changed. Well, a lot did.
First off, evening student events were not held in a pub, or a nightclub, but in the Student’s Union Building, or in other places on campus. Secondly, Americans know how to party! Lack of alcohol did not diminish the party spirit, or the dance moves. In fact, they were better! Without the false confidence and stumbling that alcohol provides, the dance moves were more complicated and much more synchronized. On the dance floor in Britain, it is littered with groups of girls on a ‘girls-night-out’ and guys on a ‘lads-night’, or the totally smashed individuals pouncing on each other with little or no regard for standards.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I do enjoy a good night out dancing in a club, and alcohol comes as part of that. It allows me to postpone the horrible moment when you just crash from too much dancing and too little sleep to a much later moment (normally the second I get back into my room). However, I have never done a night out completely sober, and this last week was undoubtedly tougher than my first fresher’s week. Still suffering the effects of jetlag, it perhaps was more difficult than it could have been. However, it was an eye-opener. I got to see the progression of couples from the first meeting to those first tentative steps onto the dance-floor, rather than the lumbering ‘what’s your name?’ and immediately locking lips. I got to see proper dance-battles, the likes of only seen on the TV. Synchronised dance routines, which I have always had a soft spot for, were played so often that it was an abomination if you didn’t know at least one by the end of the night. An outdoor dance floor and a movie on the field, which would never happen in Scotland, either because of the rain or the dropping temperature, rounded off a pretty good week. A perfectly enjoyable sober week.