October 24, 2012, by Ollie

Fresh Prince of Newark

Hesitantly I logged into my emails. Expecting nothing but hoping for something. Then I saw it, sitting in my inbox like a glistening golden nugget, ‘Hi Oliver, if you’re still keen, we would really like you to be our first year blogger’.

Excited is an understatement. I jumped out of my chair, knocking the endless pile of clothes off and onto the floor, although it would be a pain to throw them back onto the chair I didn’t care, for what I had just been offered was worth the slight back pain I would receive. I was to be the new first year blogger.

With slightly devilish grin I began typing my acceptance speech. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a teensie little bit, but still I was beyond happy to have been chosen as the first year blogger.

First of all I’d like to introduce myself, (see photo of the handsome young man below).

looking typically normal during a night out.

So the formalities, I am Oliver Steels, Ollie to friends. I am 18 years young and come from a small town called Immingham (yeah boy, represent!) in North East Lincolnshire, a very anonymous place with absolutely nothing significant nearby, as I found out when trying to explain to people where I come from. I am NOT northern, and yet to the southerners I have a northern accent, somehow, so that’s where I’m now apparently from, but I would call it North Midlands because I’m stubborn like that! In the University I am studying Genetics on a 3 year course and I am currently living in Newark Hall, Newark NEWARK! (freshers week banter) on Jubilee Campus, which leads me onto the topic of my first blog.

Newark Hall is an international hall. My corridor alone has 8 different nationalities from 3 different continents in around 30 rooms. Never has such an opportunity to experience different cultures and different worlds, presented itself to me right on my doorstep. I’ve learnt how the Spanish party and heard some horror stories of University initiations abroad that make Freshers week seem like my birthday tea party when I was 5, I used to think that was wild… not anymore! Among other things I’ve also learnt how Belgian beer is the best in Europe – seriously you should try it.

It would be wrong if I didn’t mention Freshers in this post. First and foremost I can confirm that Freshers’ Flu is NOT a myth. It is a very real and a very serious illness, my ongoing rusty cough is testament to that but… the flu is 100% worth it! What  a week! A sensible amount of alcohol was consumed by all. (bit of censorship there!) and everyone you turn to has a smile, shakes your hand and after shouting your names in a bid to introduce yourself you then go on to communicating in the form of creative dance. Well, that’s how I explain the moves I end up cracking out – watch this space for a video coming soon to prove that! Freshers had many different themed nights including  a Baywatch, Caveman and Armed Forces night, as well as an excellent Silent Disco and ‘Love Your Hall’ event, which saw the Week One reps and departing JCR (Junior Common Room) Committee host a talent contest involving 3 rounds. Your talent, your talent at drinking, and talent at embarrassing yourself – no more details are necessary! Freshers week sadly culiminated in a HUUUGEEE night at the CapitalFM Arena Nottingham where True Tiger performed with Wretch32 and Ms. Dynamite and the highlight of my night, Zane Lowe DJ’ing and throwing down some awesome tunes that got the whole couple of thousand 1st years going.

Spain meets Mr. Bean! during the Armed Forces night.

Ever since it’s been a case of settling into every day life on campus, lectures and the importance of consuming a sufficient amount of sugar to see myself through to the end, and after a long summer off, dealing with the concept of ‘homework’. Furthermore I am finally beggining to realise why Mum’s are the best people in the world, especially after a phone conversation that starts with, ‘Mum… You know I love you? Yeah? Well I sorta need some more money!’

University isn’t 3 years of your life spent trying to get a degree. It is the first step of the journey into the real world, living by your own rules and experiencing true freedom. We are surrounded by a few thousand other students, all potential friends, all people who are taking the same steps  into this big new world we’re facing. Whatever happens from here on in… I can’t wait.

And just to finish up – life is better if you’re happy and smiling. Just ask this guy! Thanks for reading!

a happy baby sloth – The Animal Kingdom module in Biology being my inspiration for this anecdote!

Posted in Ollie