Welcome to the post-fresher’s week write up, in which I will beguile you with stories of my first week at uni in the hope that you give a damn. If you missed Egotisms #1 – it’s here. Let’s get started. (And I’m writing this day by day so… that’s a thing – also you’ve basically become a gestalt Yorick to me)
Pictures shall be picked at random from the My Pictures folder, let’s see what we find.
Day 4 at Uni – An Old Friend…
I hate being wrong sometimes.
In the previous installment, I talked about a childhood friend that was going to be studying with me. I was worried about this because A) I haven’t talked to her in 4 years B) I haven’t known her well in 10 years and C) I didn’t think she’d want to see me. I also thought that it would take a while to even find her given that I don’t know what she looks like.
I don't know why I needed this but ok
Again, I hate being wrong.
Consciously, I had no idea what she looked like, but recognizing someone is not at all a conscious process and I reckoned without that piece of information. When I first saw her (and this is true vice versa) I thought ‘is that…?’ and after a while we were in conversation. I filled her in on what our mutual friends were up to and we caught up with one another walking back to her accommodation (which I needed to go to anyway because there was a food shop next to it) and that conversation was… weird. Not awkward, she seemed friendlier toward me than expected and we discussed how we’ve faired over the last couple of years, but I did become aware that I was asking most of the questions. Just a bit odd. She was fairly shy, spoke quietly; as I expected, but I noticed she‘d bought a wristband that gave her access to all the Fresher’s Week parties (including one where DJ Fresh was in attendance for a whole 50 minutes). Quiet people don’t normally go to parties, so she’s a bit of a puzzle. But I like puzzles, so getting to know her again should at least be an interesting challenge.
But enough about how one person has confused me, onto my flatmates. There are 8 in my flat, though currently only 7, with an international student coming soon from East Asia going by the name on their pre-delivered luggage. On the first night I managed to lock myself out of the room and the next day someone else in the flat did it too. They also went out partying on the first night, and have stayed up late each night since. Whilst I get on with all of them and they are all fairly nice, I don’t particularly like them. One of them is doing History and Politics, so we tend to walk together to History lectures, and she’s honestly the only one moving past the rank of casual acquaintance – and this has highlighted another facet of university life: I really miss my friends.
I remember this one
When exam season came up, we claimed a room in the 6th Form block (one with comfy chairs) and used that for revision, banter, and deep chats about such things as politics and apocalypse survival. It was fantastic, and I think we bonded more in those couple of months than we had in the rest of the year put together in spite of already being friends. By the end of 6th Form there were a good 30 people I could call my friend, and about 15 of them were close. Now we are scattered across the nation, unable to get together and often unable to talk. It sucks. And although I will eventually make similarly awesome friends here, that doesn’t stop me feeling rather lonely now.
Day 5 – Friendship and the Future
Loneliness is starting to be a problem. Societies don’t meet up until next week so people who share my hobbies (gaming and debating) are not easy to find right now. I’ve talked a bit over Steam with some friends but that really doesn’t cut it, and my new microphone won’t arrive until the weekend so I’m stuck for 3 days without any way to meaningfully talk to my friends (ie, over a game of Civ 5, pointing nukes at each other whilst arguing about Dutch history) and even then contact will be sparse. Ours is a good friendship and I’ve missed it, though gunboat diplomacy is sort of our texting. On the plus side, I’m not homesick.
I can't remember when I got this image, but I'm happy to have it
So far, only two potential avenues of newer friendship have opened up. My old friend, who I’ve spoken once with in person and again over email. From the sounds of it, she’s quite busy helping others settle into university life, but I’m quite hopeful that I’ll spend a good amount of time with her – and so far I like her. The second is a guy I’ve been bumping into a lot called Conner, I’ve found out that the reason we keep meeting is that he is on the same course and lives in accommodation 50m from mine –we’ll probably get along pretty well too.
Next week is where the real fun begins. It’s been a while since I got to have a debate, and even longer since I got to make a speech to a large audience. The latter may have to wait (a shame, I get a real kick out of it) but I’m itching for an argument.
Day 6 – Awkward Pizza
Saw my old friend again today at a welcome party for history students with free drinks and slightly dodgy pizza. She was surprisingly awkward around me, hardly said a word to me, but talked a lot around me. I suspect it’s because she thinks she has some obligation to talk to me, and as a result of the awkwardness that causes she just does nothing. I did meet one of her new friends though, and she seemed pretty fun. I’m starting to get jealous of others, particularly girls. They just cannot stand next to each other in awkward silence, they have to chat and make friends quickly whilst the guys all wonder around on their own, myself included. I only noticed it yesterday, but it’s really making me unhappy.
An old Minecraft map I made, didn't know I still had this on here
However, one little thing of note, and a question for the ladies reading this: are men generally bad listeners? At this gathering I’ve had 3 girls be surprised at the fact that I listened to them when talking in the same group as me. I mean, they’re talking to me – of course I’m listening! I’m also on the lookout for friends, so of course I’ve noted your offhand remark about last week’s Doctor Who because I like Doctor Who as well! Seriously, are men just bad listeners – because this stuff is basic to me.
On a definite plus side, the international student moved in, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Speaks better English than half the flat!
But I also have to think about cleaning and laundry. Ugh.
Day 7 – Friday
Goood Neews! I got the modules I wanted. Unfortunately the flatmate I liked has gone home for the weekend and teaching doesn’t start until Monday, so… I’ve nothing to do. I can only watch Dara O’Briain shows for so long until I’m bored. I could bother my old friend, but I don’t want to be a pain.
Day 8 – BORED NOW!
Fuck it. I’m too bored. I emailed my old friend to see if she wanted to play table tennis, but email is not an efficient form of communication (and I don’t have her number), so by the time she read it the event had passed and when I went to check it out myself it was just rather awkward. The loneliness continues to build.
I can't explain this one
And the laundry system is broken so… wearing slightly dirty clothes. *sigh*
And my new microphone did not arrive so I can’t chat with my friends over Skype or a game of Civ 5. *longing sigh*
But there is a new Portal song so it’s not all bad. I rather like the new song. Maybe not the best thing to listen to while lonely, however.
Conclusions and Bitching
I’ve had one week of being nice, putting up with bullshit and just having to deal with it when I’d rather complain. So time to go on a rant.
Do I like drinking? No. Do I like partying? No. I detest parties, parties tend to be the product of the people at them, and my friends are not here to make a party good. Yet everywhere I look there are people pressuring others to go to parties, go out late at night to the pub. That’s fine, but could they be a bit less evangelical about it? How many times do I have to say ‘no thanks’ for them to get the message? The number of times I’ve been tempted to say ‘no, I do not party; fuck off with your parties’ is astronomical. Partying with strangers is my idea of hell. Partying with friends - fine. Oh and I don’t like nightclubs, they are like hell – but with more noise.
This is from the game Verdun, it's pretty good
This is a week in which we are expected to make some early friends. And I’ve made none, or half a friend at most if we’re counting the one I used to know 8 years ago. I should really get her number, and I like some of her friends from what little interaction I’ve had with them, though I don’t want to bother her too much.
The fact is that Fresher’s Week, in spite of my university’s claim that they cater to non-party-goers (which seems to be about as well substantiated as British education policy*), is 99% designed for extraverts and the attitude is that introverts are just a bunch if miserable, uncool, boring wastes of time. Fuck that attitude to the limitless depth of detestability, full of swamps, spiders and snakes. It lets the extraverts blow up their egos whilst introverts are left to rot. The only people who really benefit are people like my old friend; shy but quite free-spirited. She gets to come out of her shell whilst her general demeanor keeps her from getting all up in my face about it. I can tell why she used to be my friend – she’s pretty awesome like that. Why can’t other students be more like her, rather than shouting ‘GET YER PARTY GEAR HERE IT’S GONNA BE WICKED!!!!!’ as I’m just trying to walk back from the nearest fucking Tesco?
And there’s no middle ground either. It’s either wild night out or you are boring. Can’t I just have a few drinks over a nice chat (there was one event like this in the whole piss gargling week!) or maybe some board games? That’s a nice time right there, not like the nights out to make your liver cry in agony and shame.
Fuck fresher’s parties, is what I’m trying to say. And the people who shout about them as I try to go for a quiet walk around campus. Fuck them too. Hopefully things will settle down in due course and I’ll make friends, get to debate, and hopefully do some public speaking. Hopefully. I haven’t had a good argument in over a month, I’m itching to change that. I'll let you know when I do. That will be a much more cheerful episode of Egotisms.
On the plus side, I’m writing an in-depth piece on the relationship between writing and identity politics in videogames, so you can enjoy that in a few days’ time.
Kind of an appropriate image
*About 9 people will get this joke