I may not have found a grey hair yet – only an oddly yellow one from my disastrous attempt to go ginger – but this year marks my third, and presumably final Freshers’ Fair. Instead of wandering around as hopelessly as a cloud in a June sky, it would have very much helped my first year self had I looked up a guide on how exactly to survive the mad rush of the Freshers’ Fair.
Firstly – for the love of God, take out some cash the previous day. I’m all for thumbing it to banks and conglomerates, but the queue in front of the Natwest machines snakes around the back of campus up to three deep. If you don’t want to waste half of your day chatting to the bloke in front of you about how irritated you are at that girl hogging the front of the queue to take out £300 in fivers, pop to the same machine the day before. How much to take out? Well, that depends on what you’d be joining.
If you’re planning to join the XMedias and a handful of societies, a solid £50-£60 will do you well. The theatre societies often don’t make you pay until you get through auditions, so sign up for as many auditions as you can, and take note of timings. Political societies are often cheaper, so perhaps you can explore all three of your Socialist, Tory and Green Party sides like the 3D triangle you are. Sports societies at Exeter are quite pricey, as the quality of the provided facility and training is excellent – so expect to fork out around £50-£120 for sports alone, possibly more expensive depending on kit and equipment.
Last year, I got through about £180 and managed to join all three XMedias, an AU sport, creative writing, a couple of politics societies, and a few fandom based ones I never turned up to.
Exeter’s offering of societies stretch from Harry Potter, 007, and Lord of the Rings based clubs to poetry societies and Model United Nations. If you don’t want the commitment of an Athletics Union sport, join one of the recreational ones – BodySoc, Cool Runnings, and Dance societies are all excellent ways to have fun and keep fit. The AU also offers its own exhaustive list of sports, several which win BUCS medals, such as lacrosse, rowing, cricket, and self-defence classes. If it tires you to walk all the way up to the Sports Hall to sign up for an AU sport, let it be known that you’ll be happily pegging it up there in two weeks to make it on time for rugby training.
Honestly, the equation for Freshers’ Fair escaped even Einstein. Divide the amount of time you’re there by the number of societies you join, and multiply it by the amount of free food and goodies you land. Round it off to three places and there’s your golden number. Hover around the queues outside the Great Hall for Linda McCartney sausages to tempt even the heartiest carnivore. Free pizza? Dominos will provide you with your heart’s fill, if your heart is full with a slice and willing to text them a message. Banks, and other companies also make their presence known, and you could possibly amass enough stationary for the year marked with their addresses.
Lastly, keep those little white cards… and actually go to your society meetings.