About Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Co-authors of the hilariously funny novels Lobsters and Never Evers, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison met in the sixth form and have been friends ever since.
Lucy is a school librarian at a girls school in central London where she gets most of her inspiration.
Tom is a journalist and has written for ShortList, Time Out, Vice, talkSPORT, ESPN and Viz.
Their new YA novel, Freshers, is out now!
STUDENT SURVIVAL GUIDE
by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Something we really wanted to keep in mind while we were writing FRESHERS is that the first term at uni can be tough. In fact, to be honest, the whole three years (or more) at university can be pretty tough. You’re thrown into a whole new place, with a load of new people and you’re expecting to have the time of your life, make amazing friends AND ace your course. Obviously it’s exciting and fun and crazy, but it can also be quite scary. So with this in mind, we thought we’d put together a mini Student Survival Guide for any prospective Freshers out there. Follow these handy hints, and your uni experience will be significantly improved (we hope!)…
MUSIC: We always pick ‘Going Away To College’ by Blink-182 as our classic university song. Aside from the obviousness of the title, it’s all about being scared and excited about starting a new life, which very much chimed with us in terms of our own uni experiences. But we’d also definitely have to choose ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ by The Foundations. This was played as the last song at pretty much every student night we went to from 2001-2005, and it was sort our college’s signature tune. We have lots of hazy memories of a roomful of sweaty, ridiculously dressed people all punching the air and singing along to this. In fact, we even name-checked it in FRESHERS, such is our love for it…
SNACKS: This is a VERY important issue. Pretty much any difficult time at university can be overcome as long as you have the correct snacks. We are very much Haribo purists, so the first snack essential we’re going for is Starmix. The Tangfastics are OK if you just have one or two, but if you eat a whole bag, the sugar sends you slightly insane, and you feel a strange buzzing on your tongue for a while afterwards. Wouldn’t recommend it. Starmix is the perfect balance – you’ve got the doughy chewiness of the fried egg and the love heart, counterbalanced by the sharp tang of the Cola Bottle and the Gummi Bear. You can’t beat the classics. And, if you’ve got any room left after that, we’d recommend a pack of McVities Wholewheat Chocolate Digestives. Do NOT on any account try a store-branded Chocolate Digestive; it just doesn’t taste quite the same. These were our favourite snacks when we were at university, and we still binge-eat them while writing our books today…
READING SPOT: We were very lucky in terms of reading spots, because the university we went to (York) had a really picturesque campus. So, there were lots of green spaces, all surrounding a beautiful (but slightly murky when you got up close) lake. There’s a bit in the book where our two main characters kiss under a massive tree just by the bank of the lake, and that’s based on a real spot on the York campus, where we both used to go and read. Outdoor spots are always the best for reading, we reckon. The library was a waste of time, because you’d try to start reading, but you’d end up basically spending all day people-watching instead. There were just too many distractions. So if you really want a good read, find yourself a nice patch of grass, far enough away from the main traffic of campus, and open your book…
Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait, especially since her crush from school will be there. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?