Wednesday, May 22Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Freshers’ Festival

Whether you’re a returner or a fresher, coming to university after this summer of chaos will no doubt be an exciting but scary time for us all. It’s a time when we have to learn to exist in this new normal, where ‘have you got your mask?’ is the question to ask before leaving the house, and where we must learn social distancing in occasions where we haven’t ever had to think about distancing before.

Starting a new university, a new anything, can feel super intimidating, but not to worry, you will soon be surrounded by others in the exact same boat as you, who are feeling the same emotions you are. First year is an opportunity for everyone to slowly get accustomed to this new environment, and hey we’ve even made an app to make life easier this year! From virtual museum tours, to ‘Toastially Distanced’, the app shows you all the events taking place over Freshers week – there’s even a map so you won’t get lost on your way!

When you throw in a global pandemic, it might make Freshers seem even more scary, but we’re here to reassure you that we’re all in this together (not a High School Musical reference). It’s going to be new for everybody on campus, students and staff alike. We’ve all got to be adaptable in this strange new era, with online lectures becoming the norm. But there are always plenty of friendly faces milling around who might just be as lost as you, so don’t hesitate if you have a question, there will be someone who can put you on the right path.

As many of us know, Royal Holloway doesn’t play around when it comes to Freshers week, and this year is no exception, with the university still managing to pull a jam-packed Freshers week out of the bag. Unfortunately, we won’t have the SU, a place which will be missed dearly, but that won’t stop us all from coming out and having a socially-distanced boogie. The uni has been hard at work thinking of ways to keep us safe whilst also giving us the Freshers experience that we want. For this reason, there isn’t just one week of Freshers this year, the university is giving us three whole weeks of fun, from 12 September – 4 October, so whether you’re into cheesy tunes, food eating competitions, cupcake decorating or just want to have a chilled-out time with your friends, old and new, there will be something for you!

Plus, if you’re interested in joining a society, or a sports team, there are still loads of ways you can find out all about the many different clubs we have to offer for everyone from all walks of life. This year we will be holding a Digital Freshers’ Fair on the 29th September where you can use the website we have created to filter by category and find your perfect team or society to join. By having everything in the same place and easily accessible you won’t have to worry about missing out on the perfect club for you.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, whether it’s your first year or your last. This year will definitely be one to remember not just because of coronavirus, but because of the effort that we all have to put in together to make the university a safe and happy place for us all.

Thea Drake