My Canterbury Tales

By Alissa Mesibov

Courtesy of Alissa Mesibov

I survived Fresher’s Week.

This is a point of pride for anyone, especially an American who, until now, was considered to be a light drinker and partier.

For the vast majority of you who understandably do not know what Fresher’s Week is, it is a rite of passage upon entrance into UK universities. For an entire week, the campus hosts non-stop parties, dances and other events- often involving alcohol- for the freshers, or freshman (who can legally drink at 18), at the various on-campus bars, pubs and clubs.

To clarify, these venues are nothing like the UPub. They are loud, fun and rival some of my favorite spots in Boston and New York City. There is a bar or pub for every college, or living area, on campus at the University of Kent Canterbury in southeast England. I am partial to Woody’s, which is in my living area, and is very reminiscent of the Amherst staple McMurphy’s, though I would rarely turn down a trip to K-Bar, the blue-lit bar that hosts local bands and has a dance floor that is packed to the brim on Thursdays.

I have never gone out more than two nights in a row before, but I watched myself go out six, seven and even eight nights in a row here. I found myself being braver than I ever would have thought. I am talking to and meeting new people, and I am not constantly feeling like I have to watch every word.

It probably helps that even when people here are completely drunk, I have still yet to see one whistle or make an obscene or creepy comment to a person they deem “hot.” It is incredibly refreshing to be able to dress up and not feel like a piece of meat.

Though Fresher’s Week was an amazing time, where I found a new side to myself, by the end, everyone was ready for the structure of coursework and a schedule that involved more than eating, sleeping and partying.

So what if I have three years on the most of the freshers? I still get to say I survived Fresher’s Week.

Alissa Mesibov can be reached at [email protected]