The first few weeks in St Andrews are often the strangest of the year. Or so it would appear to many first and second-year students. For many, it is the first time they are setting foot in a club, using their IDs, or going out without a mask. A year spent inside has undoubtedly made this adjustment more difficult. As the first half of the semester comes to an end, it is helpful to look back at many students’ first few weeks of university life.
The safety aspect of nights out is familiar to many third and fourth years but can be shocking to students that are new to town. Unlike other universities, students in St Andrews are comfortable walking home alone after midnight. The small community that surrounds us has developed the impression that walking at night is safe. We would not encourage students to walk home alone at night both in St Andrews and other places. Nevertheless, this is a comforting standard.
Freshers have also expressed excitement at standing inside a bar and talking freely without the constraint of masks. The essential questions of “What’s your name? Where are you from? and, What are you studying?” flow far better without shouting through a mask. This is not to say that masks are entirely bad. The inconveniences of wearing masks have been diminished by their evolution into fashion items. The sequined, patterned, glow-in-the-dark masks are no longer just essential for covid regulations but to complete any outfit. After all, it would not be St Andrews without a fashion perspective.
The return of balls and club nights have been equally thrilling to freshers and fourth years alike. The missed proms, Halloween parties, homecomings, and events of 2020 and 2021 have faded into the past. Pictures from the Kate Kennedy Club Opening Ball surely clogged most students’ social media feeds for days. It is the events for which St Andrews is so famous that draw many students to our little town. The return of these iconic dress-up and dancing opportunities means that, unlike other universities, the fun doesn’t end after freshers week.
As nights out become more commonplace and the memories of your first semester begin to blur together, it is refreshing to recall the joy of being a fresher. With this newfound freedom, freshers are determined to make up for the lost time.