The word freshman was first used to describe proselytes, or religious converts. Today, the word has more to do with lie-ins, hangovers and last minute essays than it does God, but the underlying suggestion of change still remains an important connotation.

The first year of university is all about change, and learning to cope with it. For most people, it starts with a change of location. You’ve presumably chosen Exeter and got in (congratulations, it is one of the best universities in the country for good reason).

You’ll learn that like any location on the planet, Exeter has its good and not-so-good aspects. You’ll soon find out that the Lemmy is essentially a school disco with an alcohol license, that to get a seat in the library you need to get up at 8AM, and to avoid certain club nights (TP Wednesdays I’m looking at you). You’ll also learn that Exeter has a thriving independent scene, a plethora of great pubs (King Billy I’m not looking at you), and that the student community is far more vibrant and diverse than it may seem at first. Of course, these are just one student’s opinions; I know a lot people who think the exact opposite, proving that Exeter, like anywhere, is as good as you choose to make it.

A change of friends is another major part of becoming a fresher. Halls of residence are great for this, student societies allow you to find people with similar interests, and of course, your course is a good course to find friends. University is also the best place to challenge yourself, and the way to do that is to meet people with a diverse range of interests. Alcohol helps.

The biggest change you’ll probably notice is a change of lifestyle – you’ve just jumped into the deep end of a swimming pool made of grocery shopping (the price of cheese is fucked up), overpriced laundry machines and personal independence. From experience, routine is an important part of handling this change, and gets more important as university progresses – it’s never too early to start getting into one. Also if you order from ASDA their cheese is cheaper.

It’s also never too late to start getting involved in societies; just because you didn’t sign up at freshers’ fair, doesn’t mean you’ve got to wait until next year. Send them an email, or join on the guild site, and GET INVOLVED! I can’t stress this enough – societies are arguably the most valuable part of your university experience, aside from your degree. We’re looking for writers, photographers and creative minds to join Exetera – send us your questions ([email protected] ) or a piece ([email protected] ). We’ll be in the forum all week.

Freshman year is one of the most exciting and comparatively stress free years you will have at university – make the most of it.

Welcome to the religion.