Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Pillow talk: Under the covers at freshers' week

What to expect from the party to end all parties
  • @HelenVaud

Nothing says you’ve arrived at university more than a free packet of condoms stuffed into your freshers’ week welcome pack. That, and the mountain of leaflets flung under your door and pinned to communal kitchen walls advertising the habitual ‘naughty schoolgirl’ and 'pimps‘n'hos' themed club nights. Promoters might as well scrawl ‘come and get laid’ in bold writing at the top of the flyers and few would bat an eyelid.

Freshers’ fairs are no less direct. Flustered sexual health nurses infiltrate the stalls and foist booklets and items of stationary onto you which, upon closer inspection, carry slogans such as 'don't be a fool, cover your tool' and 'chlamydia testing -it’s a piece of piss'; which is what everyone wants emblazoned on the side of a pen when beginning lectures.
The promiscuous mentality amongst first years is not a contemporary phenomenon. This decadent underbelly of student life has been rife for years. The arrival of plate glass universities in the 1960s broadened the horizons of university goers and initiated a new breed of students; experimental, gregarious and diverse. The days of elitist selection in the ancient and redbrick universities were fast becoming a thing of the past. Out with the tweed and in with the weed was very much the order of the day.
Sex, drinking and clubbing ‘til you drop is considered to be a sort of rite of passage into university life. There are no parents around to nag you for the first time, no awkward conversations between last night’s lover and your mother over the breakfast table and not a soul around to tell you what and who you can and cannot do.
The nights on the town are rampant with teenagers fit to burst with pent-up libido hustling and bustling and writhing against each other in compact clubs and queues all hell-bent on having as much fun as possible.
Bleary eyes peer out from behind Where’s Wally glasses to scan the scrums on dancefloors like lions sizing-up their prey. Girls who have triumphantly squeezed into their school shirts from Year 10 flit from guy to guy like crazed tigers in heat, except even more terrifying because they’ve drunk their body weight in Lambrini.
Despite the goodwill and humping attitude that has become acceptable in university life, there are a few individuals out there who are determined to bring this fine and wholesome tradition into shame and disrepute.
In the past few months groups such as 'rate your shag' have cropped up on Facebook at various different universities across the UK. It is sad that these depraved individuals feel the need to shout about their morbid sexual encounters over the internet.
'Fresher fishing' is also a common occurrence during the festivities. This activity is pretty much self-explanatory, and involves older students and much older non-students visiting fresher haunts with the sole purpose of luring girls away from their friends and exploiting them. Stick to your own peer group and enjoy the camaraderie of being amongst people that are all in the same boat as you. If a lech approaches you with a look upon his face that says he's impartial to a little fishing, then politely tell him to sling his hook and be on your way.
And if an unwanted guest does try and tag along back to your halls, strategically placing a sexual health booklet obtained at one of the fresher’s fairs in your room should ward them off. No one’s going to want to stay after they’ve spotted the 'signs you've contracted gonorrhoea' pamphlet on the bedside table in the heat of the moment.
Fresher’s week, for all its follies, frolics and late night fumbles, is an integral element to university life. Friends are made just as often as mistakes are made. Last year’s announcement from Bristol University that they were considering shortening the weeklong event to a mere three days was met with uproar. At the time, the petition set up by the student union to stop the proposal accumulated more signatures in one week than the government’s petition for the UK to take action against Robert Mugabe - a true case of Brits rallying together for a worthy cause.
In any case, you make your own fun at fresher’s week. If you'd rather get under the covers with your teddy bear than a perspiring man dressed as a smurf then more power to you. Just try to ignore the thudding coming from the room next door (and the one above you, and the one below...). You can be satisfied with the knowledge that the advice imparted from Coach Carr during that immortal scene from Mean Girls benefited you, if nobody else, during the first week of university.