Last year I decided for professional reasons that I needed to go back to college. Without going into the boring details, I needed to bolster my academic qualifications to ensure that I would be able to live the life I have grown accustomed to long into the future, and improve my chances of promotion and earning potential. To do this I would have to embark on an additional year of full time study, which meant a pretty hefty commitment. I would have to re-enter the student fraternity for a second time, only this time around I would be old enough to have been the teenage father of most of my young, academic, contemporaries. So in order to psyche myself up for this daunting prospect I decided to focus on the positives and actually start looking forward to it. After all, I’m not that old. I have a pretty youthful outlook and demeanour, and with a shave and haircut I can cut a decade off my age and slot in quite easily with a younger crowd. I may even be able to get away with going to parties like this…
And meet crazy young guys like these…
And make friends with really cool guys like these…
Who knows, I might even get lucky and get with some really, hot, classy, young chicks like these…
I mean age ain’t nothing but a number, right? Linford Christie has still got it – almost…
And the dancehall and reggae legend that is Dj David ‘ramjam’ Rodigan can still ram and jam with the best of them.
All I had to do was catch up on how student life works these days. So what better place to go than the NUS website. There I would surely find all the information I would need to make the most of my student life. But what I read shocked me to the core.
On the homepage of the NUS website I saw the heading ‘Your Good Times Guide’ and immediately clicked the link to see what fun and frolics there was in store for me come term time. But as I read on I couldn’t believe the ears that you listen with when you read in your head; ‘What nonsense was this?’ I thought to myself. Well you have to read it to believe it, so here it is, 6 of the best things to do to enjoy yourself as a student if you don’t want to drink, according to the NUS. It’s not a long list, but it is a sad one:
1. Organise an alternative party
A party that doesn’t focus on alcohol might just go down better than you think – you could throw open your doors for a swap shop, where all the guests bring clothes or other items they don’t want any more to exchange. Team it with a couple of our mocktail / low-alcohol cocktails and some good nibbles and you can make a great evening of it!
2. Ghost walk
Feeling kind of spooooky? Once darkness falls, you can find a tour of the haunted sites in most cities. Try one, if you dare…
Standing on stage singing to strangers more your idea of hell than a fun night out? Well worry not, there are an increasing amount of dedicated karaoke parlours with private booths that can be hired out by the hour for parties of different sizes. Rally your friends and enjoy a good old fashioned sing-a-long.
4. Spa night
Lots of spas now stay open later and cost much less to attend in the evening. Why not spend some quality time chilling out with your mates? You’ll probably come out so relaxed and glowing that you won’t even want to contemplate ruining your zen with alcohol!
5. Ice skating or roller disco
Release your inner teenager and head down to the ice rink. A bit of exercise and a good chance of a laugh when you and your mates all end up on the floor! Alternatively take a trip to your nearest roller disco. There normally is a bar on site, but let’s face it – booze + skates = broken bones. Dressing up retro style is encouraged, and they’re held in cities across the UK.
6. Let NUS Extra come up with the ideas for you!
Still struggling for ideas? Why not let NUS Extra do the hard work? With your NUS Extra card you can access loads of exclusive discounts to make your night that little bit more enjoyable!
Ok, that’s enough of that shite. I mean ok, I appreciate that colleges and universities are places of learning, but come on – ghost walks, karaoke and swap meets!!! I mean WTF! That list is hardly going to make for a memorable student experience is it?
Well as you can tell, I was somewhat outraged at the sheer, reckless, dreary, tedium of this list and I was forced to write to the moderator to complain:
Hello NUS comment moderator;
I’ve recently rejoined the landscape of student life and I’m looking forward to all the fun I missed out on the first time around when I wasted far too much time taking my studying seriously in the naive belief that, if I worked really hard and did really well, I would achieve more success, wealth and greatness than those that just came from privileged families with lots of money and great contacts in business and industry, and those who were just naturally, accomplished sycophants, bullshitters and awesome brown-nosers. As a result I almost missed out on all of the fun during the ‘Summer of Love’ when people were partying at illegal raves in fields in the middle of nowhere, and getting all loved up and having great sex with strangers whilst feeling euphoric from the effects of downing very strong ecstasy tablets (it always amazes me that there is no ‘x’ in the word ‘ecstasy’). So reading your ‘Good Times Guide’ I couldn’t help but think that it was very irresponsible.
First of all, 1 to 3 and probably 4, would all be much more enjoyable activities if alcohol [and dare I say ‘drugs’] were involved. Only Mormons, Quakers and honest Muslims would disagree with me on this one. Your suggestion of a ‘Spa Night’ sounds like it came out of a conversation with George Michael and Boy George. I agree with one part of this suggestion though, if you did attend such an event I think it’s highly likely that you will “probably come out”.
The only suggestion I’m in agreement with is the ‘Ice Skating or Roller Disco’; this is definitely a fun activity not to be done whilst consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption during either of these activities would be dangerous. If alcohol spilled on the ice it would turn it to slush and your ice-skates would stick, causing a fall, severe ankle damage, and God knows what else. If it were to spill on the floor of the roller disco then obvious skidding and slippage would result in roller carnage of some sort. To add to this, roller-skating or ice-skating whilst inebriated is utterly stupid and only safe if you’re a well paid member of the Jackass crew.
It goes without saying that having poo-pooed your previous five suggestions that I would not sanction going anywhere near number 6 – ‘Let NUS Extra come up with the ideas for you!’ I read a blog from a very attractive young lady studying in the UK and it sounded absolutely tragic. I think she may have read your ‘Good Times Guide’ when she joined the student fraternity and it seems to have completely skewed her idea of how to derive enjoyment from social gatherings. If you don’t believe me then you can read Jennifer’s sad take on going out here: The Pub vs Club Debate
I think that the NUS would do far better concentrating abolishing the violent and downright irresponsible ‘Annual Student Toss’. This underground sport is causing heartache and tragedy for families across the country as their aspiring young offspring are returning home scarred and broken from their reckless road challenges. If you have not heard of the AST then I have reported on it in my own blog right here: The Annual Student Toss
As much as I enjoy the spectacle, I intend on starting a national campaign against this vicious sport and would welcome support from the NUS in weaning our Freshers off their addiction to this pursuit. Please feel free to contact me if you think this is a cause that is worth supporting. In the meantime, please stop misguiding our students with your incredibly boring suggestions for having a good time, you’re a long time old and even a longer time dead, and as a wise man once said ‘A mis-spent youth is a youth well spent’.
I am still awaiting a response.