It’s the night of Raisin eve, the night when all the good little freshers go to bed early and wait for the horrific delight of tomorrow. Staying up late with all your friends, you discuss in soft tones what you think your parents are going to get you for Raisin. “My parents have stolen my room keys and matriculation card, and are going to take me at some point during the night!” one bright eyed fresher says, ecstatically beaming as though they aren’t going to be painfully dragged out of bed and tied up at 2 am. “Oh, I’m so jealous” moans another, “mine are only going to force me to do soy sauce shots!”. As you contemplate the day ahead, going one by one, there are — invariably — the one who is already drunk, the one who doesn’t drink (who you really resent as your stomach churns with anxiety), and finally you, the moron who has only met his family once and hasn’t a clue what’s going to happen. (Sorry people, if you haven’t figured it out, this one is semi-autobiographical.) Finally, you go to bed, wondering when in the night your family will come.

You spend the night in a fitful sleep. At four in the morning you hear a loud banging sound, like some rude monster banging on a door. You go to check what it is, and what a surprise! It’s your next-door neighbour’s family wearing wolf masks banging on the door. You say hello and go back to bed, pretending you not irritated that you got woken up by two people wearing plastic dog faces. At 7am you awake to the sound of your phone ringing — you are then told that you have five minutes to get a towel and some spare socks. Running (tiredly walking) downstairs, you get dragged into a car and are told to do a shot. Pretending to be disgusted at the concept of drinking this early in the morning, you drink it quickly and begin to feel better. Perhaps alcoholism isn’t that bad. After about 15 minutes the rest of your family has been collected and you head off to the North Sea. This is when you get told you were meant to bring a change of clothes, not just socks. Realising you are about to go into the North Sea in your underwear, you can’t decide if getting hypothermia and going to the hospital is something to fear or crave. After nearly freezing yourself to death, you go back to your parents. You all have a look at the guy who passed out and embarrassed himself on the beach, but then everyone gets really worried as to why you are shaking. If only there were some reason why you might be cold…

After two showers and a proper change of clothes you go back to your parents. The fun begins by an immediate drinking game – stairway to hell. Which you do twice because you have a death wish, much to the disappointment of your parents. Then your academic brother has a collar and lead put on him and you all go out for a walk. After getting some weird looks from strangers and knocking on a door to ask for poo bags (brother on lead standing next to you, woofing) you go back to your parents’ house and have a quiet afternoon of drinking games. A scavenger hunt happens, during which a drunk friend aggressively bear hugs you, nearly breaking your back (you know who you are, and, yes, I judged you), as well as pretending to be sober at the Tesco checkout.

The rest of the afternoon things begin to calm down, and at about 5:30pm you leave. Afraid of going to bed this early, you bump into some mates and decide to go over to one of their flats. As the hangover is beginning to hit, you pick up the cheapest booze you can find and do a bit of the old hair of the dog treatment. This does wonders for your headache but not so much for your head. At about 8 pm you have declared yourself a Marxist and are now really angrily ranting about how Bill Clinton is a war criminal. The political ranting goes on for a while, much to everyone’s embarrassment.

If I’m being honest, the next morning I slept in and missed the shaving foam fight. I’m not sure I can manage to describe what happened. But, if I had to guess, I’d say people got put into costumes and had a fight with shaving foam. In case anyone is wondering, my Raisin ended when I asked myself how much work I had to do over Independent Learning Week. The answer was far too much.

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