Lily Sheldon offers advice to first years starting uni


So after a year of being told to “drink up fresher” and a summer of being the first year, it’s finally time for me to accept my new and updated title as the wise second year. In first year, I gained so much confidence within my own identity. With the help of older students, queer friends, friends who claim that they “wish they were lesbians,” a girlfriend at points, books and societies, I realised that it’s possible to build your own rainbow road at university, no matter the city or the place.

Here are my five top tips on how to be queerly equipped for your fresher year:


When you walk into your uni accommodation, you are a blank slate and have the opportunity to mould yourself into whoever and whatever you want to be. Keep true to yourself but you also don’t have any of your home baggage. Be as colourful and creative with your room, your clothes and your character as you feel. Take Pride (literally.)


One of the greatest parts of uni life isn’t the textbooks but rather the societies that bring like minded souls together. Get involved with spirituality soc or do the lighting for a play and you should DEFINITELY attend the LGBTQI+ society. Your work will get done but take advantage of the uni life happening around you. They are the best ways of meeting people and yes it may be awkward at the beginning but that’s the cheapest price to pay for long-term friendships. 


This is something I’m still learning the art of but I think the key to success is to know that you can’t go to everything. The most important aspect is to take care of yourself. Yes, there may be an Abba drag club night but yes you have also only slept for two hours over the past three days. Put your well being first.


I think my biggest advice would be to not go in with any expectations. I thought I’d be single for life but I just came out of a beautiful and amazing, but complicated, nine month relationship. Don’t jump into anything but also remember that you are complete without a relationship. Lastly, the expression “don’t sh*t where you eat” can be more valuable than one might realise. 


Find the queer elders within your university. When I say ‘elders’ I’m not talking about the local retired population but I am rather referring to the second or third years who were in your exact place not that long ago. They have the best tea to spill and the best general advice. 

So breathe in fresher, hold your head up high and don’t be afraid to trip up over your mistakes at times. First year is all about finding your feet on a whirling path that for the first time you can build with your very own quintessentially queer hands.

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