Tuesday 21 September 2010

They used to call it Fresher’s Week

It’s now called Induction Week. I’ve had a busy day today with four separate meetings and just a little time in between to get a few other things done. It’s felt a little fraught. I remember back to my own first week as an undergraduate. The programme they’d offered had seemed confusing, yet it all fitted into place quite smoothly. There was never a dull moment though there were enough quiet ones to allow you to get your breath back.
I asked my husband it he remembered his first week as a first year at university.
“Fresher’s Week?” he said. “All I can remember is signing up for lots of societies that I never attended and finding out the best places to drink.
Hmm. Has much changed?
Well we don’t offer them the sherry parties that used to be favoured at Sheffield. I always thought that they were an academic standard in the early 70s. Not so, I have learnt since: they were a Sheffield special.
We did offer them a breakfast this morning –bacon butties, veggie sausages, croissants, muffins, Danish, orange juice and coffee. The catering’s quite good here. The staff mingled, getting to know names and getting first impressions of the students we’re going to be teaching this year. Some of our other current students were also there to meet them.
They then have a series of other meetings – library induction, meeting their programme leaders, and being warned against plagiarism.
The Students Union are also offering some activities.
Registration itself is somewhat complex.
So, it’s not all that different. It’s just as busy as our Freshers’ Weeks were. Except we don’t offer them alcohol. They make their own arrangements for that.

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