Fresher's Week

This past week at Brunel, and most other universities across the UK, was a week full of festivities for new students called Fresher's Week.

Basically, it's a week-long party across campus for students.

Brunel has three bars and one nightclub ON CAMPUS. That's right. There is alcohol sold on campus. Definitely something you wouldn't ever see in a lot of American universities. At least, not at any of the ones I've visited.

Two of the bars are run by the university itself (The Hub and Bar Zest), while the other bar, Loco's, and the nightclub, called The Academy, are run by the Student Union. Which means they are all student run. Again, something you would never see on campus in the States.

Fresher's Week had a lot of great activities during the day such as sports, meet and greets, club fairs, and lunches. But at night, the activities were basically school-sponsored debauchery. The freshly independent 18-year-olds (you only have to be 18 to drink here) went crazy while partying it up and swapping spit with each other in the nightclub. And for those who couldn't get a ticket into the packed-out club, there were other activities in the two other places in the student center that served alcohol. And for those that didn't feel like getting their drink on indoors - well many just stood around outside or watched the bands play in The Quad while toasting their first year of college using their tallboy cans.

Being the responsible postgraduate student that I am, I didn't really get involved in the total obliteration of brain cells every night. But I didn't just sit in my room all night either. Actually, I could be found on the balcony of the Hub, enjoying a pint of Guinness and getting to know a few of my fellow international students and people-watching.

After all, I'm used to campus-welcoming events such as magicians, free popsicles, and movies on the Drillfield. Not nightclubbing, binge drinking, and hanging out at the official "Hangover Hut" the morning after.

I knew that drinking was a big part of English culture but I always imagined it to be just a quiet night in the pub for a pint after work or after dinner with a couple of friends. So Fresher's Week was definitely unexpected. And while the majority of campus might enjoy their binge drinking, I think I'm going to stick to my quiet pubs and pints.

The Basics

You can't take it with you.

My entire apartment in Blacksburg was already packed up into boxes when I graduated from Virginia Tech and I moved back home for the summer. And seeing my apartment reduced to a couple of bags and boxes was hard enough.

So imagine downsizing everything again. To a suitcase, a carry-on, and a backpack.

I arrived at London Heathrow with my life in tow to move into my dorm room at Brunel. I never thought I'd find myself living in a dorm again after my 9-month stint in East Ambler Johnston at VT. But, I knew that I would have a private room with a bathroom which would be part of a ten room "flat" with a shared kitchen - so it couldn't be nearly as awful as what I remembered.

So this is my room. It is small, but I like it. Mostly. Sort of. I mean, it's pretty... sterile. Whoever chose the hospital green duvet cover and circa 1960s curtains needs to seriously reconsider their decorating tastes. (By the way, the door handle in the right of the picture is actually my bathroom, and not the hall door. My room is slightly larger than the photo makes it seem.)

After a trip to Ikea and "downtown" Uxbridge, I've started to settle in a bit more. Some artwork on the walls, and a trip into central London to the Kidrobot store will surely help make this room feel more like home.

The funny thing about shopping for living and kitchen essentials is that I find myself questioning if I really need stuff. Because I'll only be in this room for twelve months and is it really worth spending the money if I can't take it back with me in one of those three bags I arrived with.

So I'm walking a fine line between really making this room mine and only buying the essentials. And it's making for some really interesting decisions.

Worse comes to worse, I can always ship boxes... right?


So a couple of years ago, I got this wild idea stuck in my head that I wanted to live in London, England. Well, after visiting twice and finishing up my undergraduate career at Virginia Tech, I have finally sort-of arrived.

I'm currently attending Brunel University, about 30 minutes by Tube outside of central London in order to get a master's degree in Design and Branding Strategy.

I was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia, and although I've traveled throughout Europe and parts of the United States and the Caribbean, I have never lived anywhere but the Old Dominion State (that would be Virginia!).

This blog will be about my adventures in adjusting to living life in another country, my trials and tribulations with public transportation, and figuring out the metric system.

Although I'm sure there will be some randomness along the way...