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Cherwell’s fresher FAQ

The answers are in – you asked, and the editors have, to some extent, answered. Here are a choice selection of your fears and doubts and our attempts to quell them. 


Why won’t they let me have fairylights or a toaster and do I need an iron and a kettle?!??

A, Wadham

Always asked in a tone of mild panic, these questions are in fact not as important as all freshers seem to think. If they don’t let you have fairylights or toasters that’s because they are draconian and love tyranny, and will struggle to impose any real order upon you once term starts so hope to exert what little power they have through pre-term missives.

Yes, bring a kettle. Bring an iron if you want but if you do you will never use it and we, personally, will judge you.

I am not the Oxford stereotype, and I am quite worried. I like going clubbing a lot, and I am worried that no one else will. Do big nights out (BNOs) exist in Oxford? What if I only meet people who only want to stay in and make pasta all the time?

J. (college undisclosed)

This is a difficult one. In our humble experience, most year groups at most colleges divide cleanly in half into people who, as you so eloquently put it, enjoy cooking pasta together (or alone), and those who do, mercifully, indulge in the horrors of Oxford’s clubnights. This actually creates a relatively happy situation in which those who don’t like clubbing find like-minded friends, and those who do like clubbing do too.

The next point to address, however, is whether ‘BNO’s are really a part of Oxford life. At other universities, these consist of

For girls:

Fake tan

Hair. Lots of hair. And even more hairspray.


staying out past three

Cheap drinks


For boys:

The same, minus the heels, plus your ‘going out shirt’

At Oxford, it is quite possible for a night out to feature none of these things. Given the workload of most of our cohort, these really ‘big’ nights are often more of a dream than a reality, and even those gasping for fun after an essay crisis will tend to nod off around midnight.

To be honest though, wearing heels is, frankly, a nightmare, so that isn’t something we’ve missed.

Does anyone at Oxford have sex?

L., Corpus Christi

In short, not really – you only have to look at our depressing performance in various sex surveys to know that (number 32nd. Wow.) 

However, we have heard rumours that some people, somewhere, are up for it. Good luck, soldier.

Will I gain the freshers’ fifteen?

M., New

Living in college has its advantages and its disadvantages. One advantage is that you don’t have to cook. A disadvantage is that, if you eat the college food, you will, almost beyond doubt, gain weight. One memorable occasion in which your editors’ cooks served a meal consisting of a starter of potato wedges, a main of lasagne with a side of garlic bread and the usual bread and butter, sticks in their minds (and to their hips.) College cooks aren’t vegetables’ biggest fans.

Endless amounts of work is also not that conducive to doing sport, but if you join a team (even if it’s your college croquet team) or, occasionally, walk somewhere, you should be all right. If not, just wear big jumpers all term.

Am I posh enough? I’m worried everyone at my college will have their own punt, yacht, and pad in London and I won’t be able to compete…

– A., Christ Church

Of course you are. Oxford has no higher a concentration of ‘posh’ people than anywhere else (and Bristol probably wins in the country as a whole) and besides, anyone who will judge you for lacking any of the above is probably not worth sticking with. Punts are also very easy to rent (and potentially pass off as your own). Yachts perhaps less so.

How do I date posh girls?

– K. , Magdalen

No comment.

How do I combat freshers’ flu?

-Y., Lincoln

A heady mix of orange juice, vodka, and a ‘keep calm and carry on’ mantra is probably the best plan of action – you don’t want to miss out on your first term, so save the bed-malingering till the vac.

How much should I sign up to at freshers’ fair?

– C, York

Well for a start we hope your sense of direction improves by the time it rolls around, because you’re in the wrong place now. But, as we’re very inclusive here at Cherwell, we’ll answer anyway:

As much as you want, and especially to any stall that will give you free things. We would recommend that you visit the G+Ds and Dominos stalls but, uh, they’ll be at the Oxford one.

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