Meet your Mark or Jez...
It’s true, going to uni can be one of the most exciting times of your life. But it’s also one of the most nerve-racking. What if nobody likes you? What if you don’t make any friends? What if people think you’re weird? These thoughts are probably running through your scared Freshers brain right now.
Luckily for you, we’ve drafted in two of the funniest people we know to help out. David Mitchell and Robert Webb, by their own admission, were two of the dorkiest people ever to darken their grubby, beer-stained digs, and things turned out pretty well for them didn’t they? Here’s the comedy duo’s foolproof guide to making friends during Freshers Week. May it serve you well.
Don’t worry if you don’t like anyone
David Mitchell: “The people you end up talking to in Freshers Week are stop-gap friends. People I met then weren’t the people I became friends with. They became warm acquaintances and vice versa. You’ll find a group of people to stop you being on your own for the first couple of weeks. Then when everything has calmed down you start making proper friends. So don’t worry. Just hang about the people for company and then refine your friendship group when the dust has settled [laughs maniacally].”
Try not to think about it
Robert Webb: “The people you meet in Freshers Week you will either never speak to again or you will attend their funeral and go on holiday with their kids. It’s a strange thing because most of my friends are people I met at uni. You feel your future self leaning over you saying, ‘this is going to be a lifelong friendship or it’ll be absolutely nothing.’ But don’t think about that, for god’s sake.”
Don’t get conned by the Christians
DM: “The Christians really get going in Freshers Week. They’re very friendly and will ask you out of your room for tea. Lots of freshers go along with it and I did because I was desperate to have someone to talk to and not be isolated. They were quite secretive about it. They didn’t tell me they were the Christian Union. They just asked if I wanted to go for coffee and then suddenly mentioned, ‘Oh, you going to church this weekend?’ like it was the most natural thing in the world. I remember thinking ‘Ooh, maybe my upbringing has been odd. Maybe everyone is still basically a Christian? I thought that had faded in the last 50-100 years but maybe I was wrong [laughs]. Maybe [my hometown] Oxford was a weird Godless place.’ It took me a while to realise they were just conning me. So make friends with the Christians and steal as many cups of tea and coffee as you can. But don’t let them make you go to church if you don’t want to.”
Steer clear of the rowers
DM: “This is going to sound very Oxbridge but I remember how desperate the rowing club was to get people involved. What they want you to do is to sign up, then get up at six in the morning to practice rowing in the river. A lot more people fall for that than the church which is odd because the rowing is four days a week at 6am and the church is one day at 11am. So I reckon you’re better off with the church actually!”
Don’t slack off the cleaning (or at least don’t let anyone realise you are)
RW: “I was pretty lazy but other people were better at doing the washing up. There were a couple of flatmates who were more attentive to the general hygiene and tidiness of the place and I wish I’d been better at helping out a bit more. They were so nice that everyone else got away with not doing it. Morally that wasn’t brilliant. I’m sounding like your mother now aren’t I?”
Sign up for the newsletter
Avoid people like Jez
RW: “He’d probably stay awake for 49 hours straight. I didn’t really know anyone like Jez but I would say to avoid anyone like him. I mean, what wouldn’t he do?”
Mitchell and Webb’s new sitcom ‘Back’ airs every Wednesday at 10pm on Channel 4