It’s fresher’s week – the week our nation’s bright young things pour into campuses up and down the land.
So what should we know about them…?
They all get flu
It’s the stuff of unfortunate legend that most new students will succumb to ‘Freshers’ Flu’. It’s pretty much what it says on the tin – you’re a fresher so you get flu.
“Freshers’ Flu is real,” says Mel Wakeman, Senior Lecturer in Applied Physiology at Birmingham City University.
“But it’s nothing to worry about, it’s a result of large numbers of students being thrown together – along with all the bugs they each bring.
Stuffy classrooms, anxiety, less sleep, [the intake of] more alcohol and a less-than-healthy diet mean many come down with viruses that cause sore throats, headaches, aches and tiredness.”
Apparently, in the last week or so, sales of Pro Plus and Berocca at Tesco have upped by 11% and 7% respectively.
But they’re healthier than you think
For all the clichéd images of students living off a cold crust of stale pizza, a new survey by Herbalife begs to differ.
It revealed 72% of students now consider the nutritional content of their food, 74% eat three good meals a day and more than 70% classify themselves as healthy.
Fifteen tonnes of baked beans, the ultimate student essential, have shuffled off the shelves of Tesco in the first week of September – the equivalent, apparently, of three fully grown elephants.
While baked beans per se aren’t unhealthy, moderation is usually the key…
OK, not really
Also landing on the ‘perhaps students aren’t so healthy’ side, a survey last year by Slimming World showed that a quarter of students at university put on up to two stone in ‘fleshers’ flab’.
By the end of their studies, nearly two-thirds had put on between one and five stone.
Ok, not at all
One of the biggest reasons given for this was, probably inevitably, booze.
More than half of students in the same survey said they downed alcohol at least three times a week, with 3% knocking it back every single night.
Especially if they’re in Bristol
The homeland of cider, it’s not a huge surprise that the Student Living Index 2014 gave those studying there the dubious honour of being the most drunken undergraduates in the country.
Apparently, they admitted to spending £12.90 a week on booze, nearly £3 above the national average of £9.80.
Again, it’s not a huge surprise that those in the bastion of knowledge, Cambridge, spent a measly £6.80 a week.
But they are less in debt than you’d expect
The ever-rumbling debate on student debt is a crucial one – most graduate with tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of debt that will haunt them well into adulthood.
But while this is terrifying, a slightly more cheering thought is that, according to research this week from Gocompare.com, only 8% of students have dipped into an unarranged overdraft and only 10% had overspent on their credit cards.
Of course, any debt is bad, but the fact 92% of students hadn’t sunk into an unarranged overdraft, and 90% hadn’t overspent on credit cards, can also be viewed as encouraging news.
And more determined
One lecture a week, a couple of essays a term, a few exams at the end of the year…
Students are feckless, right? No, not really. According to research by The Prince’s Trust and the Royal Bank Of Scotland, in 2013, 25% of young people believe they will be their own boss within the next five years, while 27% say they are “increasingly” thinking of starting a business.
Their proposals may not all spawn a Facebook – the social network started by a group of Harvard students – but their budding entrepreneurialism is a positive sign.