Monday, 23 December 2013

Dear Freshers; A Word from the Crinkly and Old (Dusted Article)

This is an article I wrote for the Derby Student Union Magazine (Dusted). Special thanks go to its editor Gemma Pask for allowing me to post it here. 

So you’ve decided to come to the University of Derby. Naturally, if you’ve never been to Derby before, this is all a little daunting. I myself was more than a little unsure of what to do when I first arrived at university so I spent about two weeks being completely aimless. I thought I’d hand out some advice that you’ve probably not heard yet about how you can enjoy these brief couple of weeks.
Getting to know your flatmates. I didn’t really hang out with my flatmates in first year, they were probably grateful of the fact since I was generally quiet and reclusive and most of them were loud and outgoing. I still went out from time to time; I just wasn’t into it as them. I go out more now but with my classmates whom I share a lot more in common with.
So why would I suggest the obvious rule of getting to know your flatmates? Well the first few days can be really awkward and planning a night out with people you don’t know is a bit weird. But I still highly recommend it. These are the first people you’re going to meet. If you don’t get on with them then it’ll help to get that initial awkwardness out of the way. And if it turns out like me you don’t really click with them then at least you tried. If you let the initial awkwardness get the better of you then you’ll potentially miss out on new friends, or at the very least someone to complain about.
I don’t drink, what do I do? Ah, this is a difficult question. University life is often built upon a solid foundation of pretending to study and consuming way too much booze. So to answer this question I’m going to present you with an after school special solution: be yourself, don’t cave to peer-pressure. If you want to start drinking then that’s fine (I know one man who didn’t start until he came to University), but be sure it’s what you really want, not that you’re just doing it to fit in. If you’re T-total then keep in mind the reasons why you made that choice, whether it’s for health reasons or religious reasons or other reasons.
Chances are you’re going to be surrounded by people who love to have a drink and will use this newfound freedom to test their limits. This can leave you feeling outcast, but generally speaking there will be some like-minded people around who you can hang out with, and there are many societies created with the intention of doing something besides drinking. If you’re worried that your flatmates will find you tedious then perhaps you could try to engage them in other activities during Freshers’ Fortnight. Whether it’s sports, music, fashion or cooking, it’s worth trying to get to know them even if you don’t drink with them.
I want to get laid. Ah yes, drunkenly fumbling around with someone who doesn’t know your name, never mind what turns you on, the stuff love songs are made of. Really bad love songs usually. If you want my advice I’d suggest you don’t go out with the intention of finding sex. Because if you don’t find a nice young lady or prince charming to come home with then chances are you’ll be going back in a bad mood. If you’re going out just to have fun and you happened upon someone to bump uglies with then it’ll be a bonus.
Of course it goes without saying that you should stay safe. For goodness sake use protection, and if you find yourself going back to someone else’s place make sure your friends now where you’re going.
I feel I should also mention that you should understand if the person you’re grinding up against doesn’t want to have sex with you. If you start yelling at them and calling them a tease just because they danced with but decided against sleeping with you, then you’re being a bit of a jerk. Every person should reserve the right to say no. That’s how the law works. 
If you don’t pull during Fresher’s don’t get mopey about it, it’s only two weeks of your time here.
 On making funny stories. “Dude that one time I was so wasted that I…” Pretty much all students want a story like this. Much like one night stands I advise you don’t go out with the intention of making them. Because forcing something funny to happen negates the impromptu nature of it. Go out to have a good time and focus on that. If something funny happens, great!

Oh and for those living in Nunnery Court, don’t bother doing anything with the fountain. Messing around with the fountain isn’t funny. I should know, I mucked about in the fountain for a laugh and the only way the story was funny was when I embellished upon it. Wrapping someone in toilet paper and threatening to do unspeakable things to them with barbed wire was funny. 

End.

Andrew Krska, 'Dear Freshers; A Word from the Crinkly and Old', in: Dusted (Derby, October 2013) Issue 1 Academic year 13/14, page 16-17.

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