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Fresher's First Week: Day 2September 26th 1999.
The first duty of the day was to try and freshen up. Worryingly, the shower/toilet always seemed to be engaged whenever checked. In fact, it had been engaged since I arrived the day before. It wasn't until several attempts later when I saw the door ajar that I realised that the sign was actually broken.
From talking to neighbours, who were obviously better informed than myself, I learned that we would be registering with our departments. An extra stroke of luck meant that two of my neighbours were also doing computer science.
It wasn't long before we were in the Computing room whereupon we were reminded that the degrees at Swansea are modular. I needed to have 120 points worth of modules but looking down at my form only 80 points had already been allocated, meaning that (gasp) I would have to study some other subjects.
I grabbed a huge book containing a catalogue of modules and hastily started scanning through it. People in the row in front of me were being called up and asked to pick modules. By now, it was too late to move to the back row leaving me minutes to find a suitable module.
The lecturer called me over and asked if I knew of any modules I wished to do. Looking in my hand I noticed a Business Management course leaflet which was looking better and better. I said I liked the look of it and was told that this course was fairly popular so space may not be available if I did not register quickly. Just before I left, he asked did I have a map. Yeah, I replied. Of course, what he meant was did I have a map on me, which I didn't.
I made my way back to the halls to grab a map and hastily made my way to the European Business block to see if there was still time to sign up for Business Management course. When I finally made the front of the queue I was told to come back later in the day because they were busy sorting out their own departmental students.
I decided to head off to the Mathematics block which according to the map was pretty close to the Health and Science block. However, the further I walked the more I noticed a higher proportion of elderly students. There were even a few ambulances parked outside the block. I stopped to read one of the department signs and was mildly surprised to see the words "Accident and Emergency" written on it. This wasn't the Health and Science block after all...
Once I was back on campus, I decided to ask directions to the Maths block. I spotted my neighbours inside and agreed to meet in one of the computer rooms since they had already seen the Maths lecturer. This turned out to be a poor idea, since I didn't know which floor the Computing department was on. By the time I got there, they had gone.
Hungry and tired due to traipsing across campus, I decided to grab some lunch. The first shock was the cost - all those years of subsidised school meals had tricked me into thinking food was cheap (hah!). The second surprise was that meal vouchers could not be used until after 3.20pm. I can't help wondering whether it would be more sensible to call them something like tea vouchers instead.
By the time I rushed to the business centre after lunch another queue had formed. I use the word queue loosely though - people had sat anywhere they could, so no one knew who was next. This didn't stop me though, and a few minutes later I had my secured myself a Business Management module.
After going back the Computing department to clinch the deal, I overheard someone talking about timetable clashes. Well, I thought to myself, it wouldn't hurt to check. First up the Maths was checked against the Computing. Fine. Maths against Business Management. No problem. Business Management. against Computing... no, No, NO!
Because the clash was with a compulsory Computing module there wasn't any real solution except to drop the Business Management. module I had worked so hard for. I had come so close..
Finding new modules that I wished do wasn't easy. Some promising computer based business modules also clashed. I toyed with the either of studying a language but remembered French GCSE. Eventually I settled on Economics. By the time I had walked across campus to the Economics department and arranged a suitable module it was too late to hand the registration form in.
That evening everyone agreed to go down to one of the local clubs called Time. Despite my protestations, we queued at the wrong stop, which meant that by the time the bus arrived it had been completely filled with students from the previous stop.
A huge queue had formed by the time we had arrived and it was about twenty minutes before we could get inside. However, after a brief stint at the bar, we made our way on to the dance floor where I spent the rest of the night.
When I finally stumbled back to my room early the next day drenched in sweat and feeling sore, I could only wonder how I was going to wake up for breakfast the next day.