By Melissa Steel

Starting university can be a difficult and confusing time in anyone’s life. There is so much to think about- a new timetable, independent living and just how much punishment your liver can stand over the next four years. Your first semester is the perfect time to investigate all of this, and this easy to follow guide sets forth how to make the whole experience a lot less painful (or more so, depending on how you look at it). Plus, as a Fresher, you are going to have to adjust to being the alcohol-sodden plaything of your elders in the debauchery that is Raisin Weekend, so you might as well just follow this guide to the letter:

Keep it in the Family

On your arrival in St Andrews, you may be repulsed to hear of people who are in relationships with their mothers and fathers. However, your fears would be unfounded, for this incest is merely ‘academic’. The university has a tradition of older students ‘adopting’ younger ones and acting as their mentors/drinking buddies. Venturing into town with your friends to be adopted is a rite of passage, seals your fate and absorbs you into the St Andrews system. No period at the university is truly complete without a night out with your academic family either as it creates some intergenerational bonding, whether it be romantic or otherwise. In many ways, the academic family is the ideal support group because you get all the fun of family gatherings without the awkward tension the inevitable drunk lecherous uncle or racist grandmother create. The set up is also a great way to make friends outside of First Year, giving you more contacts in the Bubble and beyond.

Pregaming

It’s best to start the evening as you mean to go on- huddled in a circle of dependence and fear. That is where the age-old favourite drinking game ‘Never Have I Ever…’ comes into play. Essentially, the game involves each player in turn prefixing a statement with ‘Never Have I Ever…’ (eg ‘Never Have I Ever gone to the Bop’) which is then followed by everyone who has actually done the act taking a drink. Inevitably the game will degenerate into a seedy expo of the participants’ romantic pasts, fuelled by the lighter fluid that is hormones and vodka mixed together. While the more experienced members of the group proceed to get thoroughly inebriated, the more innocent ones tend to panic about their meagre record and lie uncontrollably. Essentially, pregaming provides the ingredients of any stable friendship: deceit and one-upmanship.

The Bop

You might have thought that grinding, drenched in someone else’s sweat and beer was the preserve of bad summer holidays on the Costa del Sol. How severely mistaken you would have been. The Student Union’s Bop quickly disproves this theory, bringing its own brand of cheese and fumbling in dark corners to the students of St Andrews twice a week. Party the night away to everything from the Macarena to Pretty Fly for a White Guy, bring glow sticks but leave your dignity at the door. A quick tip- leave it in your jacket at the Charities Campaign – run cloakroom for a small fee instead of risking losing it indefinitely as you scramble around on the floor at 2am trying to find your winter coat. For the ultimate student experience, stagger over to The Empire chip shop afterwards and watch as the baying drunks provide an excellent argument for the use of nuclear weaponry.

The Morning After

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, no action within the Bubble goes undocumented. Struggling to remember whether it was a lamppost or a very thin girl that you playfully swung from on the way home? Let your social networking site of choice fill you in by naming and shaming you, with photographic evidence to prove it. Was your latest beau in the Bop the result of beer goggles? The unforgiving flash of your friend’s cheap camera says yes. Nothing quite feels like the dread as you log in to facebook after finally dragging yourself out of bed at 2pm and you are greeted by 69 new notifications, mysteriously alluding to the debauchery you vaguely remember from the night before.  The morning after is where legends are made and instrumental in deciding whether you go down in St Andrews mythology or not, how ever dubious an honour that may be.

So, what are you waiting for? Find an academic family, get ready for the pregaming, don your Bop bands and prepare to lose all sense of shame. This is St Andrews, the Bubble that never bursts…

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