Starting Uni can be really daunting and scary but also really exciting, you might want to throw yourself into everything or you might want to find your own space in this new environment. Everybody’s experiences of these strange and disarming times are different but here are a few tips I picked up from my own freshers week (getting very drunk with people I barely knew) and last years freshers week when I worked behind the bar at the student union (very sober watching the terrifying antics).
- Those freshers helpers who seem so much older, more mature and independent, who flatter you with their smiles and helpful advice, probably have a bet on who can sleep with the most freshers. Yes they’re not all like that but freshers week is generally seen as a time to have lots of casual sex, especially for older students who might have forgotten how bewildering it can be for someone who has just moved away from home for the first time. Of course this attitude can mean lots of fun but its worth being aware that this whole experience may be the most exciting thing to happen to you yet but for them it does not have the same magnitude. So go have fun if that’s what you want but as always be safe, keep yourself protected and be aware of the situation from all perspectives.
- If you don’t want to drink or go to loud club night events or gigs that’s fine! There will be people exactly like you, but they are likely to be harder to find so try and make the effort to go to some of the day time events too and hunt them out. Freshers week is really great for making friends, especially with the people you’re living with so even just hanging out with other people in their rooms or communal areas can be a great idea.
- Even if you do plan on drinking and going out every night remember that the day time events can be just as good of an opportunity to meet new people, perhaps even more so- when classes start are you really going to find that one person you met at the bar also doing your subject in a lecture hall of 200+ people and if you do will you actually have that much in common?
- Don’t worry if you find that neither the night time events or the day time events are your cup of tea. You can find your own way of settling into uni and making friends, you don’t have to stick with the prescribed events that your uni thinks will help you if they are not helpful to you personally. However I personally would advise at least giving freshers week a chance because you never know what you might find.
- If you’re nervous about talking to new people freshers week is a great chance to push yourself, chances are you won’t see the same faces much (unless you are at a small university) so why not try talking to that girl who’s dress you’ve been admiring, it could be the start of a great friendship.
- Equally, don’t worry if you don’t meet anyone in freshers week who you feel an immediate affinity with! It is perfectly possible to find friends in lectures, societies or later on in the year who you become closer to than the people you met in freshers week.
- If uni is the first time you’ve really drank then try not to feel pressured to keep up with everyone else, as I said before the people you meet might not be your lifelong friends (especially if they try to pressurise you into drinking more) so don’t worry about impressing them.
- Homesickness will (probably) hit at some point. It may not be in freshers week if you’re busy with events and meeting new people, or it may be the second your parents leave. Either way moving away from home, even if your uni is in the same city as your home, can be scary and its ok to feel overwhelmed. It might sound corny but everyone is in the same position so reach out to the people around you if you feel like you can, if not maybe you can talk to friends from home who have also gone to uni and will understand the position you are in. Even your friends who have not gone to uni will be able to help you, so don’t be put off talking about how you feel.
- Freshers week is only a week, once uni starts things will likely be completely different so don’t let this week get to you too much, if you feel overwhelmed or isolated remember that it isn’t going to last forever.
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, take these tips with a pinch of salt! They are generalisations and your experiences could be completely different, as long as you keep your wits about you and stay safe you will have a great time and learn lots about yourself.
Leave some comments with your tips and advice if you’ve done freshers week before or if you’re going to uni soon and have any questions!
Girl Love #5
WE ARE LOOKING FOR:
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “girl love 5” as the subject. as usual, if you are unsure about what you want to contribute or if it’s suitable, feel free to get in touch.
deadline: 1st august 2016
we’ll let you know by august 7th if we’d like to include your piece.
Girl Love #5 will be printed + contributors will get a free copy.
if you didn’t know, girl love #4 is out, on issuu and printed copies can be bought at diff. zine fairs, next to nowhere (lovely radical bookshop in liverpool) and v soon, you can buy it from a cool local feminist distro!
Hufi + Em x
Girlcon: a collab zine of work made at Girlcon 2015
read + reviewed by a person who did not attend the event
Girlcon “is a two-day event for teenage girls, young women, and non-binary folk with the aim of building a supportive & creative community”.
We swapped a few copies of Girl Love #4 for the Girlcon zine and finally got a chance to read it properly at Verbal Remedy‘s Festival of the Zine.
The first pages talk you through the programme of the event, with workshops and panel discussions on all sorts incl. but absolutely not limited to: selfies, witches, black feminism today and girls’ experiences of activism.
The event sounds amazing but I read the whole thing without FOMO because there is such amazing comfort in knowing these events are happening. Brilliant spaces are being created where friendships and ideals and actions can be nurtured and it is all part of a movement of girl to girl solidarity gathering momentum.
My overall feeling on reading this was confidence. Not only from the inspiration/advice pages- made collectively, but a confidence that everything we do is worth it. Artificial competition between girls is created because our friendship is so powerful but we are learning the value of girls co-operating.
I think my fave pages were the fangirl commandments, for it’s sense of humour and for it’s reassurance: passion is a positive force and not something to be ashamed of. I think when girls are encouraged to tear each other down, the easiest targets are young girls who fancy justin bieber or girls who love nerdy stuff.
Aesthetically, it’s beautiful but clearly thrown together in the time available. Overcoming the hurdle of perfectionism seems to be really freeing and productive. This zine is packed with different stuff and leaves you with recommendations: music, podcasts, books, etc.
buy it here
read it free online here
a4// mostly full-colour// 53 pages of teenage girl enthusiasm//
There are a lot of us working in the service industry, so here are some tips for dealing with customers.
This list is made up of ideas and tips from girls in work and it will be added to. Feel free to send in your suggestions/experience of what works.
tell them it is your first day. they should feel sorry for you and give you warm words of encouragement.
if they look like they are having a bad day, give them something for free
your employer has a duty to protect you from harrassment. you do not have to serve anyone you don’t want to. (how easy it is to access your rights is another matter, but worker’s rights exist)
if it’s really busy and people are complaining, just do what they ask because it is easier and less stressful for you
it is easier to be polite to people if you keep reminding yourself that this is your job and you do not have to care about any of these people
try and gain relationships with regulars because you know that you are making their day happy
if you get to know regulars, they’ll often defend you if someone is being rude to you (and often say all the things that you would normally say if you weren’t at work)
passive aggressive responses include giving customers £5 worth of change in 20ps
sounds mean, but treat them like children. They don’t understand things and might be a pain but it is important to keep them happy because otherwise they cry/get you fired
(if you treat them nicely and explain, then with practice they will become better, like kids growing up)
This is part of our series on work: see our call for submissions if you want to contribute.
Unemployment affects most of us at some point. For me, I dropped out of university in May 2015, spent 6 months recovering from a nervous breakdown and gradually re-assimilating into society that expects you to do stuff and earn money and pay tax.
It’s a really bleak situation to be in, especially for those of us who don’t have family affluence to fall back on. You feel really pointless and worthless and inadequate every time you apply for a job and hear nothing back, every time you get to interview then get rejected. It bashes your self-esteem in the face and makes applying for jobs more difficult every time you’re knocked back. And it’s also really boring. The idea of staying in bed all day with no commute or deadlines is nice for about two weeks. And then you realise you’ve been wearing the same knickers for three days and your hair has moulded to your head. Lethargy breeds apathy and all the time you have to spare is spent re-watching The Office and feeling sorry for yourself. I am here to fix this.
There are about 1.68 million unemployed people in the UK right now. 16% of households are “workless”. In 2012 there were “around six people for every vacancy in the country.” 796,200 people are claiming some kind of jobless benefit. Look at this fucken graph. There just straight up are not enough jobs to go around.
The point I am making is that it’s not your fault. Don’t be mad at yourself for not finding a job right now, for whatever reason. Be mad at the Tories and New Labour for starving the economy and outsourcing industry and facilitating cheap labour through apprenticeships and unpaid workfare schemes and dismantling the working class and massively restricting union organisation. Always be mad at them.
by Emily Winthrop
be part of our new series on work: find out what/how to submit here.
Girl Love will run a series of articles on work. While we’re focusing a lot on un/employment, you can also look at unpaid women’s work, such as housework or emotional labour. If you’re not sure if your idea fits what we’re looking for, please get in touch and we can chat.
Send your pieces to email@example.com and put “work” as the subject. Your work will go up on the blog and help us share advice + experiences.
thank you xx
For a while, I wanted to interview people as a job. I read every interview in the Guardian Magazine and went to see Lynn Barber talk in the Brighton Festival. She wasn’t very helpful.
I had this idea that I could interview people about their jobs, to help me decide what I wanted to do when I was older. I was going to publish them in a zine, in pairs. The spring I was 16, I interviewed a florist.
I just walked into her shop and spoke to her for about 20 minutes. She was a bit annoyed about it, but I feel she was annoyed about most things in life so I wasn’t scared. The notes sat on my desk for a year til I typed them up. I remembered almost everything she said anyway so that was easy.
I published it in a different, new zine, alongside some spoof articles about politics and a long polemic piece I’d written. People asked me if I’d made up the florist too.
Since then I’ve been stuck for about a year at the same start of the process of making a new zine: thinking about it but not actually writing anything down. I want to interview a guy who paints lines on the road, and a policeman, and an architect. I keep walking past line-painters working at night but I don’t have my questions written down so I don’t go over and talk to them. I guess I’m a bit scared too.
I talk to people all the time normally, because I’m really genuinely interested in their lives. Every detail. I spoke to a guy the other day who put back books on the shelves in Senate House Library. One day I think I’ll get over it and write some questions for a line painter. Maybe next week.
by Pearl Ahrens