Sunday, 12 October 2014

Another year another round of Freshers' advice

The idea of making new friends can seem scary. But remember, they say there’s nothing to fear except fear itself. This is untrue. You should be scared of people who tell you that there’s nothing to fear except fear itself. They’re trying to get you to let your guard down, so that they can harvest your kidneys… In order to make friends, pretend to like the things that they do. It’s all about mirroring, copying their inflection, their gestures, their pose. This becomes slightly complicated in that, since everyone is doing this, it becomes a game of personality musical chairs, with traits and preferences rippling along corridors like a schizophrenic Mexican wave.

There’s quite a big drug culture among undergraduates, and, you know, at some point someone will offer you some Pink Floyd. The best thing to do is decline politely – explain that you had a friend who got into the Beatles, and you saw how that ended.

During the course of your degree, you’ll have plenty of time to sample the city’s many fast food outlets; kebab vans, onion barges, and custard trams. Many of the kebab shops sell skewered, grilled meat, and also kebabs. As an alternative to hall, you could cook yourself – but autocannibalism’s a bit extreme, so why not try making some food? There are a number of student cookbooks on the market, outlining such simple, nutritious dishes as cheese-on-toast, toast-under-cheese, and pan-friend chicken on a bed.

You’ll be seeing a lot of these. A wise man once said that ‘outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read’. I’ve also found that, inside a dog, there’s not really enough elbow room to turn the pages. Thankfully, e-readers with backlit, touch-sensitive screens have pretty much solved this problem.

When the fire drill happens, do not go to the fire assembly point – the most dangerous place to be is where the fire is being assembled.

And remember: staying on top of things doesn’t have to be hard work. It can be excruciating, mind-numbing work.

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