How to Spot a Fresher Member of the University in their First Year of Study

How to Spot a Fresher Member of the University in their First Year of Study

If you are in your first year, congratulations. The move to Orange meant you finally got a taste of Dunedin’s social life. This took you one step closer to integrating with the wider student community, one step further away from sticking out like a sore thumb. However, there are still some key characteristics that make spotting a fresher just so bloody obvious. Based on extensive research, we have compiled a sort of naturalist’s guide to spotting freshers in the wild, which can also be used as a guide on how to blend in to the wider crowd, and hide the fact that you’re new around here. 


Snooping around flats

If you witness someone outside your window peering in longingly at your flat, your first thought might be to call the cops because they’re obviously either a pervert or a burglar or both. But wait! They may simply be a lost and afraid fresher desperate to get onto the rental ladder as soon as possible, willing to pay whatever the landlord asks to get their hands on their very own slice of Dunedin slum. Many will be forced to sign flats with people that they barely know out of desperation of what is to come. So when they descend on the flats this year, treat them not with scorn, but with sympathy, as they are but a lost child trying to find the mouldy embrace of their slumlord parents. If you’re in your first year, don’t do this. It’s just not worth it.


Congregating in awkwardly oversized groups (the joys of conformity)

If the footpaths of Dunedin were arteries, then groups of younglings are blood clots. Life as a member of the University in their first year of study is all about fitting in. You can’t burn bridges with people that you hate because you know that you’ll be seeing them at lunch every day for the rest of the year, and what’s more, those who do cut ties with people risk being left out of the Hunger Games-style flat group selection. Those bridges are much easier to burn when you know you have the guarantee of a health-averse shithole in the future, but until that happens, it is the tendency of members of the University in their first year of study to congregate in packs of frightening dimension, in a groupthink attempt to convince themselves of their own self-worth. Pack behaviour is not uncommon amongst animals near the bottom of the food chain, as there is strength in numbers. If you want to blend in, avoid groups. You’re good on your own, have some faith. You’ll figure it out. Besides, nothing makes you more attractive than having the confidence to go your own way.


Weird and annoying library behaviour

Maybe it’s because members of the University in their first year of study have not learned to associate the library with pain and suffering yet, that they frequently engage in eyebrow-raising activities such as inappropriate displays of public affection and never shutting the fuck up. But being obnoxious about their HUBS and LAWS101 lectures allows them to temporarily forget about the impending dread of needing a 96% to get into a life-destroying course of their choosing. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about this one. If you’re loud in the lib, you haven’t figured it out. Alternatively, you’re old as fuck and you genuinely don’t care anymore, but if you’re loud in a group, then it’s obvious. If you want to blend in, blend in. It’s as simple as that. Assert your silent dominance. 

Wandering around on a Saturday night with nowhere in particular to go

After basically every student bar in North Dunedin was either bought by the University or succumbed to highly questionable business decisions, the members of the University in their first year of study really have nowhere to go when it comes to drinking. They can try to get their mate's cousin’s boyfriend’s flat to host them all they want, but that will only happen once if they’re lucky, and the truth is no one outside of their year group will really want to hang out with them for any extended period of time. So the result is that once they have been kicked out of their halls they wander aimlessly in the aforementioned awkward groups looking for anywhere to go that will remotely accommodate them. Clots of these lost souls can be spotted in the graveyard, under bridges, and anywhere else that will take them because they haven’t secured a niche in the social scene yet and they can’t drink in their halls. If you wanna blend in, go play some cards at a seedy bar like a real old person would do.

The invisibles

There is a clade of members of the University in their first year of study that you will not be able to spot. This is because, unlike the majority of their peers, they have garnered enough life experience before entering Uni that they do not feel the need to be swayed by peer pressure, that their sense of self has developed beyond “I’ll have what she’s having,” and this makes them invisible to the untrained eye. Usually a year older than their counterparts, these individuals are able to blend in almost anywhere, befriending older groups and learning from their ways, swimming against the tide of conformity. But there’s a trick to spotting them: ask them what they think of the Uni ID cards. Only members of the University in their first year of study won’t know what they’re missing.

This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2022.
Posted 2:36pm Sunday 24th April 2022 by Sean Gourley.