It’s a Friday night in my hometown Widnes. Its bouncing down, and we are sat under a shelter in the local park. We’ve just been to the for the 4th time this week and are bored out of our minds. We decide to pop to the arcade, which along with the cinema, are the only two things’ people our age can really do here. Greeted by sticky floors and half broken machines, we have a few games of pool, with the occasional pause to chat to faces from school. Albeit those you didn’t really know that well, but social pressure forces you to make awkward conversation with. All I can think about is next week. Next week is the week when I move to Manchester for University. I knew then I’d never be this bored again and could not wait!
First Year – A lot of irons in the fire!
If I was asked to describe first year in one word: busy. Within minutes of arriving at my accommodation, I met Hussein, who would live with me for the full 3 years and become my best friend. Hours later, we headed to our first ‘freshers fair’. Freshers’ fairs are events where members from all the sports clubs and societies have stalls which you can walk round and sign up to. I must have signed up for about 3 sports societies (Football, Rugby League, and Hockey) and 2 general ones (Politics and Economics societies). While I definitely did take on too much, this was the purpose of the fairs, to try my hand at a load of different and new experiences. After the first week, I dropped hockey and rugby league and kept with the other 3. Through these, I made loads of friends and plenty of memories throughout the three years. I even went on a trip with economics society to Amsterdam! It was amazing, although I’ll save that for another blog. For more information on societies, why not check out Connor’s blog on our website? Additionally, I’m sure you have heard plenty of stories about what university is like in terms of night life. One of my favourite parts of first year was the events that the university would hold. This included paint parties, where you’d literally be given a load of paint to throw over people (not so fun trying to wash it off the next day) and Bongo’s Bingo! The list of things to do in first year was endless and at times overwhelming, so I’d also recommend taking some time out every so often to just relax.
Second Year – Fallowfield living!
In my second year, I moved to the famous (for those who love the Channel 4 show ‘Fresh Meat’) student borough of Fallowfield in a student house. Living with your friends is very different to living with your family. Despite the occasional row over housework, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Me and my housemates had a rule, if anyone of us had a restaurant or film we wanted to go see, everyone would have to come! While I wasn’t so keen on the idea initially, after a while I loved it. I got to see so much more of Manchester, and some films that’d I’d never consider seeing, like Black Panther. Moreover, living in a house gave me so much independence and many life skills that I’d never had before. This included paying bills, doing regular shops and, oddly enough, gardening. None of these are particularly fun – especially gardening considering Manchester’s idea of a summer is just a bit less rain – but they were skills which have been so useful in my life over the past few years.
Third Year – Mellowed out
In third year, life dramatically calmed down as I had final year exams and a dissertation to work towards. I was fortunate enough to meet my girlfriend in third year. Consequently, I got to explore the restaurants (Rudy’s or Yard & Coop amongst my favourites) and other things to do across Manchester. One of my personal favourite places to visit was ‘twenty twenty-two’, a bar in which you could also play ping pong. I don’t know who came up with this idea, but it worked! On top of this I’d also recommend ‘NQ64’. This is a bar where you can play some of the classic arcade games as you go, from Pacman, Sonic, to Street Fighter. Finally, although shopping isn’t my cup of tea, my girlfriend would constantly rave about the shops in Manchester. From the classic Trafford Centre and Arndale to the quirky shops you find in the northern quarter, such as Affleck’s. Third year was my favourite year at university, as I got to explore a city which had so much to offer.
Social Life and University
Although social life is just one aspect of university, it can be whatever you make of it. If you wish to go out a lot, you can. If you wish to try loads of new sports and societies, you can. If you want a more relaxed three years and just want to explore a new place, you can. Ultimately, one of the greatest parts of university is the freedom you gain – even down to the university you chose to go to. If you want an action packed three years in the heart of a community, you might prefer a city campus like me in Manchester. Alternatively, if you want a more relaxed experience with the chance to explore a different part of the country, perhaps you’d prefer a campus university like Connor! The most difficult part of all this freedom is that the options can somewhat be overwhelming. That’s why, if you do need any advice on any topic related to your future and the many potential paths you can take, me and the other outreach officers are here to help! So, feel free to contact us with any questions you do have, on social life or anything related to your future!