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“Freshers’ week,” a phrase synonymous with excessive drinking and partying; the supposed rite of passage for university newcomers traditionally involving a heady mix of alcohol, peer pressure, marker pen, and the desperate need to make life-long friends as quickly as possible. I certainly lived up to this freshers’ week cliché way back in the mists of time (i.e. 2011), and though the 18 year old version of myself managed to get through it, it’s not an experience the mature(ish) and sophisticated(ish) 22 year old me cared to repeat.

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Whether it’s because you develop a lower tolerance to both alcohol and peer pressure, or because you’re feeling just that little bit too old for typical fresher activities – the first week of postgrad can be rather different to the first week of undergrad (not least because you’re able to remember most of it).

This sounds rather like I’m going to describe a week of sensible jumpers, Bovril, and chess. The real difference is that there seemed to be more ‘acceptable’ options for the mature fresher. If you want to go clubbing there are plenty of clubs, bars, and Students’ Union nights at The Old Fire Station. If you want to play scrabble in your pyjamas there will probably be another postgrad wandering around up for the challenge. Of course, there are all the Students’ Union organised nights out and meet and greet events (keep an eye out for what’s coming in 2016 here!) which are of course great for structuring the first few days, but being mature adult postgrads it is well within our capabilities now to do things independently.

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My Mature freshers’ week looked a bit like this:

Sunday: Arrived, met house mates, and went out to explore Bournemouth. Ended up in first (slightly dodgy) pub we found by the railway station.

Monday: Long late night with a few drinks in the flat discussing life, the universe and everything with new flatmates and assorted others.

Tuesday: Large and very international group of postgrads’ expedition to Aruba Bar on the sea front – the bar turned out to be closing in the next few minutes. Ended up in the nearest Weatherspoon’s The Mary Shelley for a few pints.

Wednesday: Large and very international group of postgrads cram into kitchen designed to accommodate six people for the most amazing, authentic, home-cooked Italian Pasta and Tiramisu    made by my fabulous housemate Sara and a couple of other fabulous Italians.

Thursday: Probably another evening with a few drinks discussing life, the universe, and everything. (There have been quite a few of these).

Friday: Large and very international group of postgrads take a trip to the beach and explore Bournemouth’s beautiful seafront.

Saturday: Big group dinner which turned into a long late night with a few drinks discussing life, the universe and everything.

My Mature Freshers’ week certainly wasn’t as alcohol fuelled and exhausting as my previous experience at undergrad. However, I feel I did get to know people on a deeper level, have some interesting conversations, experience some very delicious cuisine, and explore the town. As freshers’ weeks go, it was certainly more mature than the last one!

By Olivia Beazley

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