Achievement Guide: Fresher’s Week Edition

To follow up on an earlier post I made, for today’s post here is a fun collection of badges of honour and shame you can award you new and old housemates, this time focusing on the period of Fresher’s Week/Month (depending on your institution) for their endeavours in kicking off the start of the new academic year. Your winners (or losers) needn’t be freshers themselves and these are formed from my own fond memories of undergraduate life as well as those from when I was a student warden and Masters student.

Big Spender

This is for the one who played the welcoming weeks, hard. The one who drank the bar dry, who managed to buy an entire new wardrobe, the ones who felt they could show Vegas how gambling is done, or cashed in on their independence and bought the finest food for their first meals as independents. Whether they’ll be on Noodles for the rest of the semester remains to be seen, but for those few weeks for them and their potential new found friends, it was totally worth it.

The Calender

In a tribute to a dear friend from uni, there are often people looking for fun and seeking beyond the boundaries of friendship. Given you may not know everyone very well yet, there can be a lack of obligation felt to stick to any one person you may have travelled the bases with or at least exchanged contacts with. So this is for the people, who can count off names across their day(s) of outings to the tune of a Craig David classic.

The Troublemaker

When it’s only been a couple of weeks, there’s always one or two that manage to break some form of rules and you can tell are going to be trouble in one form or another. Keep an eye out for these and prepare to offer a kind hand or a word of caution. If they are beyond your help, at least if you’re in the right place (in the UK) and the right time you may be able to get an easy £250!

Challenge Accepted

In this modern age of social media, challenges are everywhere and achieving them all for some is a true sense of gratification and belonging. Whether it’s taking buckets of ice, replicating choreography or raising money for charity – these people are up for anything and will do all they can do win the task.

The Illusionist

Whilst there are many students who are visible and social creatures, there are some that are rarely seen, but known to be there by things magically moving in your house/apartment/dorm as if by itself and others that seem to have developed a teleporting technique to allow them to appear behind you out of nowhere without you hearing them ever leave their room. Likewise they can vanish into a crowd in seconds and never be found again for the rest of the day or night, maybe turning up again unexplained by your side.Finally, there’s the type of people that remain visible to you, but seem to be able to pull out just what you need out of nowhere – such as gum, a drink, random tools or your handbag/purse that you said you needed – which is helpful, but how did they know to have it?

The Buff

Every shared house or dorm has one – be it film, music, stage or sport and if you, like me are someone that doesn’t know much about many things you are often the one to be educated. On the plus side you get exposed to a curated and pre-screened list of great new stuff to potentially enjoy. The downside, it feels like taking another module or class at uni with the consuming and learning of the facts being your assignments that you’ll be tested on later.

Split Personality

Already on the slippery slope with attendance, there may be a few new found friends that decide that last night’s party was a little too good and would rather sleep in, despite knowing that skipping class may affect their performance negatively, so feeling like a good friend you agree to sign them in or swipe their ID card (where applicable), meaning they’ll effectively be there for a large percentage of their course, but also get to sleep off their hangovers.


What accolades can you think of for your friends, new and old during the first week or few on campus? Feel free to leave a comment down below.




Achievement Guide: Middle Years

During the few months I’ve been writing on this blog I realise I’ve spoken a lot about your first year and final year as undergraduates, as well as a little towards postgrad and feel bad I’ve not really covered much on what to do in the middle of all of that.

So for the first in a small series of posts I’m focusing on you guys. Whilst this isn’t a bucket list per se (more of that in the future), here are the badges of honour or shame you can award to your housemates and friends of second year (and third if you’re on a four year course or any in-between number if you’re on a part time) for their various endeavours. Pictures to come!

Two Minutes to Midnight

This achievement is for anyone out there who makes a start on their assignment the night before. Now when I say that I don’t mean at 4pm. We’re talking a few hours before most children go to bed and are still going before all the adults join them. Bonus points to those that still pass.

The Butcher…

This one is for the chefs of student houses (despite the title, Veggie and Vegan Chefs are included!) The ones who cook you dinner once in a while and you feel like you’re in a restraunt. The one who fills up your accomodation with amazing smells, and occasionally drives you out when they set of the fire alarm!

…The Baker…

Like the butcher, the baker is the reason you rarely visit Krispy Kreme, Greggs or Country Style. From the smell of fresh bread to worktops filled with cookies and biscuits, these will be the people keep us smiling all the way to the dentist (where you can get some replacement knashers to fill it out with again).

…And the Candle Wick Breaker.

Slight variation on the phrase as unlike their counterparts these guys are the flame lovers of the house. Filling your place with the latest scent, providing a great alternative and back up plan to your electricity (when the fuse goes or you forget to pay the bill) and becoming the masters of romance and the nemesis of your accommodation officer.

The Fairly Odd Parents

These are the responsible leaders of many circles of friends. Sometimes of parental responsibility, some just born to look after. These are the guys that ensure you get your required food, bully you into doing your work, lend you a bit of cash when you spent a bit too much last Friday Night or had to pay out for those expensive bills. Make sure to remember to get them flowers and or beer and wine on your respective Mother’s and Father’s Days in your country!

Master of the House

Who needs to go out for a night on the tiles, when you can sip a cold one with the friend who’s furniture is made out of crates. Need a beer? He’s got it. Wine? In the kitchen. Top shelf? Look up. This achievement is not necessarily for encouragement to alcohol, merely one who can enable you should you need something to predrinks. On the plus side, you know one present to get them at Christmas.

The Lost Boy/Girl

Here’s to the ones that can still party and drink like a fresher and still make it to Lectures in some way shape or form. Realising that this year counts, they put in what effort they can but the idea of “growing up” and being responsible doesn’t seem like their prioirty right now. Fair play to them if they still want to live a little.


Have you got any accolades you’d give yourself or your peers? Are there any you disagree with? Feel free to leave me a comment down below. If you like the idea of these posts I’ll release some more this year for the other years of college and university.





New Year’s Resolutions You Probably Won’t Keep

With only a few days to go before we wave goodbye to 2016, I’m sure many of you will be making new year’s resolutions up to announce as we speak. Without trying to me Mr Johnny Rain – cloud, I’ve been there any see it through both personal and friend’s experience and I know there are some of the more vague or cliché resolutions out there that either have a rare chance or simply do not work out. Here are a few red flags to avoid (or at the very least refine and personalise to be realistic for yourself!) so you can come up with something to keep past the first couple of weeks!

I’m Never Drinking Again

Often proclaimed on New Year’s Day itself, unless you have been considering it for a while for reasons personal to yourself or your health, just going cold turkey on the booze isn’t good for your wellbeing (when you’re out with your friends again) and for the more medical issues it’s also pretty dangerous. I’ve tried spontaneous cold turkey before a few times and it usually ends in one of two ways, a.) You either get bored on the night and eventually cave to the pressure. b.) You don’t cave and usually end up either bored of the night and go home early or suddenly responsible for everybody else that’s drunk. Now this doesn’t happen to everyone of course and for those people, power to you and I hope you have many more great nights to come! But for those who have had many nights out during the semester and don’t usually see the end of it, see it suddenly sober shows you a whole new view on clubbing that the staff usually see and you usually tend to prefer one side to the other.

If you plan on cutting down then it’s best to do it steadily. One approach is to maybe take it easy after Christmas, then take it gently on New Year’s Eve before finally easing into Dry January (a primarily UK initiative, but there’s no doubt our US and Canadian readers may also know people that perform this month long challenge). If you’d rather have fun on New Year’s, then maybe have a gentle January and slowly curb the alcohol you consume at pre-drinks whilst maintaining saving money when you reach the town. If you want a little help adding up the units, try the Drinkaware App and tot it up as you go, that way you’ll have full knowledge as you go as to what’s going in your bod at the time.

I Will Join The Gym

Now this one has two sides to it so bear with me!

For those that have wanted to and planned to join long term for a while and are using the calender marker as a chance at a start date, then that’s a great resolution! I wish you the best and after a good taster session or from previous experience I’m sure you’ll have a great experience.

Now for those that make the revelation on the night or the morning after with the realisation of their Christmas dinner, think carefully about it first. According to Ana Swanson’s report in the The Independent at the back end of this year, New Year’s resolution gym memberships bring the search traffic through into a 40% surge, but as the weeks go by, those unused contracted memberships increase as people realise it’s not for them or that it was all a whim and they’re not prepared for that much effort to get rid of a little weight.

So if you’re going for a little fitness, do it but think about how you want to achieve it first lest you not want to be burned by a 6 or 12 month subscription you’re only going to use a couple of months of.

I’m Going on a Diet

Again, like the gym, this one takes commitment and like drinking should probably be done to a sensible plan. First of all, what do you hope to achieve out of your diet? There are many definitions of the word “healthy” bandied about, with diets that cut out different food groups, others that restrict calories and others that are used to complement workouts and particular exercises. Many of these serve their purpose well provided they are followed correctly and for the right reasons. Picking one based on a mere name or whim may produce undesired results and cause you to go off the idea, blowing your resolution before the year is out.

The sensible option if you’re serious about changing your culinary intake is to decide what for. Many popular approaches now follow the basic idea of trying to balance your diet such as that of Slimming World, that doesn’t forbid foods but allows you to enjoy things in moderation in a guided manner. For those that are committing to their pre-tasted or returned to gym membership could take advantage of the Paleo Diet on advice of their personal trainers. If you attend the David Lloyd chain of gyms (and if you do you’ve got one impressive savings account!) you’ll find their café menu is based around this diet.

If you’re still feeling a little larger or want to be more active after reading this then groovy – just make a plan of what you want out of it and why you want to do it and that’ll get you one step closer to deciding just what plan you wish to follow and always have motivation to stick with it once the initial novelty wears off.

To Make 2017 The Best Year Ever!

Okay, this one sounds a little cynical, but for all of those saying that they can’t wait for 2016 to be over due to all the famous deaths/The events of Brexit/The US Election/The terrorists attacks/The Eastern Conflicts and more and 2017 will be awesome – I hate to break it to you, but 2017 will continue some of these trends. Brexit isn’t over yet until Britain has actually left the EU and the fallout of it has settled (if ever). To those that were shocked or unhappy with the US Election result, we still have a few years until Trump’s administration is thrown back to public voting so we’ll have to wait and see what happens, The conflict may well end or it may not but sadly and unfortunately it won’t happen overnight.

My point is, each year sucks in it’s own way for us on a personal or global level and will continue to. There is no single Best Year out there and many are now starting to realise this. However, that doesn’t stop you from making your own year great in your special way. If you’ve always dreamed of making a new change, you can use this year to  start the ball rolling. If it’s your final year, study hard, play to your strengths and do only your best to set in motion what you’re destined for (or indeed may start to find out what you’re destined for).


New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to improve yourself but are often cited too vaguely or ambitiously and sometimes ironically as many people know they won’t actually last out the month, never mind the year. But tweaked a little bit to become more realistic for yourself you can come up with a new fun way to live your life and you never know you might actually achieve it!


Happy New Year everyone and I hope you have a great end to 2016.