Freshers’ Week in review

Another year, and another freshers’ week (well, fortnight for us grads 🙂 ) gone by… This was the first year I haven’t been involved in organising things — starting in January meant my first freshers’ week was also the first year I was on the GradSoc committee and seeing it from the other side was very interesting. Undoubtedly the best bit was that I got to enjoy it to the full — being able to just turn up and enjoy events without having to set up, clear up, serve drinks, etc was very nice!

Overall this year’s committee did a fantastic job. The biggest problem they had to deal with was the closure of GU shop so freshers had no place from which to hire gowns for the matric photo. This is always a tricky event to organise as some freshers don’t arrive in Cam until the day of the photo so it’s always necessary to have a few spare gowns on hand to lend to them — but this year all the spare gowns were already going to people who had arrived earlier in the week. Fortunately I understand the day was saved by borrowing a stack of undergrad gowns from the JCSU — it’s not like anyone can tell the difference in a photo anyway! 🙂 Thumbs up to gradsoc, big thumbs down to the GU.

This year freshers’ week kicked off with drinks and movie in the gradroom instead of the bar. This wasn’t a bad idea as the previous year by the end of the evening it got very difficult to distinguish between newly arrived grads, people who were undergrads but now grads and undergrads returning to Cambridge early. This shouldn’t be a problem next year though as the new party room can be booked exclusively for grads that night.

The special hall on Friday night was as excellent as usual, and sold out, despite my misgivings about people only being allowed one guest ticket. As with the photo, people arriving on the day can make organisation a complete nightmare, but in the end everyone who turned up before 6pm managed to get a ticket!

Holding the traditional Saturday bbq in conjunction with the JCSU was a good idea that worked very well — a rare event at which all the students in College, grad and undergrad, socialised together. The only downside was it became such a huge event that it lost the usual intimacy and friendliness of gradsoc events, but a price worth paying I thought.

The punting was very sensibly moved to Sunday afternoon this year, and although the weather was not pleasant, this did not deter a large crowd of wannabe punters! The loss of the cheese & wine evening was a shame though — it’s a traditional event that’s very easy to organise and with the barbecue being joint with the JCSU there was no exclusively gradsoc (evening) event all weekend.

Latino night on Monday was enjoyable, but having the football kick-around on Tuesday afternoon meant people who had health and safety talks or labs to attend (like me!) were unable to go. 🙁 GradHall on Wednesday was also fantastic — the free wine was again very good — and the JCSU had a bop on in the bar which was excellent fun. Thursday’s pubcrawl was very well organised — although Coco’s is not my favourite Cambridge club, and after all that, the detox in the gradroom watching Shrek was very much needed!

As is traditional in Jesus, the fortnight was brought to a close with the fantastic “Safari Supper” where second and third year grads cook dinner for up to nine freshers, a different three for each course! It’s great fun, not only for the safari-ers, but also for the second and third years who get to impress the newbies with their culinary skills. Unfortunately the collective memory seems to have been a bit rusty for this event as there were no pre-dinner drinks or post-dinner coffee and port in the gradroom this year. The substitute, the grand-opening of Jesus’ snazzy new bar was fun, but it wasn’t as good as last year where all the safari-ers, cooks, and those unable to take part in the dinner, assembled in the gradroom to celebrate the end of another fantastic freshers’ week.

(I suppose I should probably say that it has been reported that there were no pre-dinner drinks last year either, but I think that was a just a failure in execution due to the people in charge of serving them being snowed under. Last year’s committee had a number of problems throughout the year ensuring pre-dinner drinks were served on time!!)