‘There are downsides to going to St John’s’: Why students hate me for being a Johnian

OSCAR WILLIAMS-GRUT admits being scorned by supervisors and ignored by neighbours as a direct result of his college.

During a recent trip to Clare, I was delighted when a porter came over and gave me a bottle of champagne. 

“This is from the Master — he hopes you enjoy our humble college,” she explained.

You’re probably thinking ‘what a lovely surprise’ (it was only Moët, don’t get too excited). But while it was fairly lovely, it wasn’t a surprise. At least, not for me. You see I go to John’s.

Victim: Poor Oscar has been ostracised for his college

Throughout my Cambridge life, I’ve regularly had bottles of bubbly or barrels of crude oil sent to me by people I don’t know who’ve caught a glimpse of the coveted John’s scarf. Once, a well-dressed man offered me a job ruthlessly downsizing charities when I was standing behind him in the queue, while there was another occasion when a gentleman handed me a freshly slain goose as I stepped out of a cab in Grantchester.

Another time, as I was walking through Market Square, I was tapped on the shoulder and presented with a beautiful bunch of money. Even prostitutes frequently shoo my credit card away when I try settle the bill.

And whenever I’ve asked what I’ve done to deserve such treatment, the donors of these gifts have always said the same thing: you go to John’s.

While I’m no Lord, I’m rich, dickish and, so I’m often told, a Johnian. I know how lucky I am. But it’s not all gilded croissants and yacht-based parties; there are downsides to going to St John’s — the main one being that other students hate me for no other reason than my awesome college.

If you’re a student reading this, I’d hazard that you’ve already formed your own opinion about me — and it won’t be very flattering. For while many doors have been opened (literally) as a result of my college, (literally) just as many have been metaphorically (literally) slammed in my face — and usually by (literally) my fellow students.

Over the years, I’ve been dropped by countless friends who felt threatened if I was merely in the presence of their friends/relatives/employers/pets. If anyone dared to actually talk to me, a sudden chill would descend on the room, and not because of my cold, dead heart.

It is not just jealous students who have frozen me out of their lives. Insecure supervisors have also given me bad marks and predicted me a third, simply because I go to John’s.

You’d think people would applaud me for going to such a fantastic college.

I work hard to be a Johnian — I don’t give to charity, I sing loud songs about how great John’s is, even when I don’t feel like it, and I very rarely succumb to academic work. Unfortunately students find nothing more annoying than someone else being the biggest schweffe in the room.

Take last week – I was taking my morning suit to the dry cleaners to get the red wine and vomit stains out when a Robinson girl I had supervisions with passed by. I began winking furiously and thrusting my crotch at her — she blatantly blanked me. Yet this is someone whose notes I’ve copied, and who I’ve leered at on countless occasions.

I approached a mutual friend and discreetly enquired if I’d made a faux pas. It seems the only crime I’d committed was being brazen enough to wear my John’s scarf (and John’s socks, tie, red boy stash and Lady Margaret blazer). She doesn’t like me, I discovered, because she views my college as a threat. The friend pointed out that her college is younger, poorer and shitter than mine.

This isn’t the first time such jealousy has gripped the women around me. Once when out peacocking in Cindies, I spotted a game bird dancing in John’s bar. She was clearly interested, flicking her hair seductively after it fell into her mouth a little bit. Yet when I went over and started daggering her, she ludicrously claimed she “wasn’t interested” and “had a boyfriend”. Clearly the real reason was she’d somehow figured out I was from John’s.

It’s hard when everyone resents you for your college. Women think “what’s the point, he’s probably a huge dick” and don’t ask you out. And men don’t want to hang out with someone richer, funnier, better at sports, and cleverer than they are.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve started trying to hide my college. Sometimes I act like a socially retarded Mathmo, hoping people will think I’m from Trinity, or burn flags to try and blend in with King’s students.

But even these ploys don’t always work. Take last term and a birthday party I attended. At one point the host, who was celebrating her 21st, decided she wanted a photo with all the guests. Positioning us, the photographer suggested I stand in the middle, right in front of the host, holding up my John’s scarf.

Another student I barely knew pushed me out of the way, shouting it wasn’t fair on everyone else if I was dominating the snap. I was devastated and immediately punched him in the face. On my own in the loos one guest privately consoled me — well out of ear-shot of his friends.

So now I’m a third year and probably one of very few people welcoming graduation. Perhaps then people will finally stop judging me so harshly on what college I go to, and instead accept me for who I am – a rich, talented, sporty, clever, modest guy.

Photography by Tabatha Leggett

  • Trojohn

    This is literally the story of my life… Trying to continue on as normal – The Booze, Babes and Banter are the only things I have left!

    • Favate Linguis

      Hydradog is a lad.

    • Lexi Abrams

      Wish I had written this article

    • Alverstone

      don't forget the waistcoat Christian!

    • The Dude

      I know the feeling because I went to the College of New Jersey.

  • Graham Norton

    Best article on the Tab since I started. You are such a dick you actually cease to be a dick. It is called the Janossey curve – there reaches a point on any spectrum of a particular characteristic from 0 to 1 (i.e. no personality to 100% dick) that the correlation implodes and complete inversion occurs.

  • Realist

    Shamelessly ripping off the Daily Mail?! You can remove 'original' from your list of talents.

    • Captain Obvious

      This is quite clearly satirising the Daily Mail article (which was not satirical).

    • Realist

      This comment was not from a Realist.

  • Samantha Brick


    • Not Funny

      This could have been so much better.

      • I agree

        Quite, a bit of an effort failure. Has only really got that many thumbs up from goons thinking "Oh good, I recognise that reference."

    • jealous mail reader

      why are you so hot???

  • Johnian

    Spot on.

  • SBrick

    Your article is even more beautiful than me…

  • Love this article


  • Seen it before

    Poor man's Lexi Abrams

  • jamie crawford


  • Ron Burgundy

    You should be ashamed. You'll definitely get beaten up for this. I'd be brickin' it if I were you.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/supermarkliu supermarkliu

    Fair point.

  • Major Lazer




  • Not the first one

    to satirise the Daily Mail article, not by any stretch of the imagination. Multiple articles been there already pal.

  • Someone

    Nice satire 😛

  • Your visual acuity

    is incredible, to go with everything else about you.

    'Once when out peacocking in Cindies, I spotted a game bird dancing in John’s bar.'

    • You've

      never been to Cindies, have you?

  • Great Job!

    This is original, surprising and hilarious! I love 'St John's' jokes!

  • I <3 TAB

    This is such GOOD TAB JOURNALISM oh how I long for the days

  • King's Student

    Thank you for your honesty Oscar. I'm ashamed to admit that I myself have taken part in the persecution you and other Johnians endure on a daily basis. And you've identified the reason why: it's got nothing to do with your being right-wing to the point of fascism, nor the sense of entitlement that reeks from your very pores like a heavy, gold-flecked musk – it's because, secretly, all I and every other lefty-liberal King's student want, is to shag someone from John's.

    Every time I see the John's colours, my loins burn like a Union flag in Chet Court; my lips tremble like a hammer and sickle fluttering in the breeze. But instead of acting on this shameful lust, all I do is sneeringly suggest that I'd rather go to Oxford than set foot in the seat of my desire, or unfairly snarl yet again at a Johnian drunkenly pissing on a homeless person outside Cindies for a laugh. Perhaps one day, when such petty prejudices have been set aside, our two colleges can embrace each other, literally, metaphorically, and litero-metaphorically. I can see it now: a love-in on the King's lawn, a gang-bang on the Bridge of Sighs. One day, Oscar, one day.

    • King's Student 2

      I'd rather be at John's than at this lefty pseudo-intellectual dump. But more to the point: what the hell is this?

      • Clare Student

        Not very funny satire?

  • Silvio

    hello my name is Silvio!

  • finally

    A Johnian with a sense of humour! There is hope!

  • samantha brick

    was clearly lexi and sophie but on a greater scale, so it's nice to see things come full-circle again.

  • fowl fan

    lmao freshly slain goose. I love geese.

  • Hater

    Funny, but something about your face makes me want to punch it anyway.

  • Everyone

    the realist is sucha twat

  • Bramantha


  • Matt Capes

    There are downsides to Girton too.
    1. its really far away so hard to bring girls back.
    2. the only booze shop near is the coop, and their cava selection is particulrly woeful.
    3. there is an 80 pound fine when you chunder in the taxi on the way back to girton. so thats like 8×80 quid per term. eurgh.
    4. we have this event called caesar's sunday. when shit goes down
    5. its really far away!
    6. im too goodlooking for all the girls
    7. i struggle to find ppl with as much banter as me

    • Judge

      Stale fresher chat… At least newnham seem to find it funny(?)

  • Spelling Police


  • Howe

    I know this is a joke, but this article is terrible and you, sir, are a massive bellswede

    • Maybe you should…

      …google 'Samantha Brick'

  • Eugene

    If I was presented with a freshly slain goose I would study it. I love zoology

  • Classic

    Tongue so far in cheek its practically a rimjob.

    • asr

      I don't quite understand the spatial relationship of that likening.

  • tablash

    there are downsides to writing for the tab – no other article will be as good as this!!

  • Underwealmd

    The irony is that in presenting this "bold" satire – your actualy confirming the arogant, self important Johns steryotype. Banter on about yourself. I yawned. Old news Tally ho old chap back to the red chino bragade.

    • underwhelmed

      by your spelling, grammar, and general eloquence. i hope you are a troll, sir. magdalene bridge is near enough for you to live under…

  • ryan


  • Faliran

    Go to John’s, or is at John’s?

  • redboy


  • I <3 Samantha Brick
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/supermarkliu supermarkliu

    Here is my offering: http://youtu.be/5Jf9XLrVdXo

  • Claire

    ha ha calling yourself Johnian and this dude calling himself "King's Student" just goes to show what is wrong with English university life. I am a student, a foreign student and I go to one of them "bad" colleges and it is not the people at "bad" universities that create this elitism no it is people like you guys who identify themselves as "King's Student" or "Johnian". It is ridicolous. Start with throwing that scarf away please! and yes in fact it annoys me that scarf like yours allow you to become a journalist….

    • Judge

      No fruit and veg for me today please… Get back to your day job you ruffian….

      • Claire

        wow. start thinking out of the box. Remarks like that are tasteless. Yes, they aren't serious, I get that, still they are tasteless.

        • haha

          Taste's like rejection and jealously of Oxbridge, I think

  • Claire

    , upon reading some of the other commoents, I guess I need to add before I am being accused of not getting that it's a satire based on Brick's article that, I do, still it's disgusting and goes to show how narrow minded you are in your little elitist world. Go out there and live like the rest, it's actually more fun kids

    • true

      Yawn… Stop being jealous you pleb

      • Claire

        Jealous? Of what? That you have chances that other people don't have simply because you create the problem by reinforcing elitism? hell yes! besides, don't get me wrong, I am priviledged enough to come to England to study and live there (so I am not one of those people which are jealous because I have had a more than fortunate life) BUT after living in England I really started opposing such ways, and it's shocking that Oxbridge students can't think any further and can't use their brains and realise that such an article is simply inappropriate. insulting to anyone but particularily to those who aren't as fortunate as you guys. It's sad.

        Brick's article is silly but to write a satire using your college just goes to show that in fact you believe that there is something "special" about it and the people that attend, or that other people believe this to be the case (yes in fact the article indicates this otherwise there would be no article, it wouldn't work if there was not that slighly ridicolous thought in your head)

        • judge


        • Person

          But the article works because the stereotype of dickish John's students exists not because there's an idea that Johns is 'better' than other colleges in any tangible way. It's poking fun at the kind of people you're not a fan of.

    • Incredulous

      Why on earth would I want to live in the real world?

      In the real world, I have to
      a) work
      b) look after myself
      c) sleep to a regular schedule
      d) live in some shitty little house in slough
      e) probably think about boring stuff like job progression and tax
      f) be largely deprived of opportunities to make it up as I go along

      Where as in Cambridge I get to
      a) not work that much (provided I wasn't let in by mistake)
      b) get my room and bathrooms cleaned by bedders and have my house/room protected by porters
      c) organise my sleep schedule around leisure activities, be they sport, music, pursuit of women or the arts
      d) live in (provided it's a nice college) some unbelievably nice accomodation for comparatively cheap (I mean my room can sleep 10 comfortably ffs)
      e) discuss things with people that are arguably going to be the best in their fields, and if I don't want high brow, and utterly avoid thinking about anything other than an overdraft as the loan is practically free
      f) join societies and clubs and organisations and try new things, where anywhere else it would cost a fortune, are free/cheap here.

      Why on earth would I ever want to come play in the real world? It sounds boring and dreadful.

  • TPJ

    Sorry, I was too busy training with the U21s to even know who Samantha Brick is.

  • Matt Capes

    There are downsides to Girton too.
    1. its really far away so hard to bring girls back.
    2. the only booze shop near is the coop, and their cava selection is particulrly woeful.
    3. there is an 80 pound fine when you chunder in the taxi on the way back to girton. so thats like 8×80 quid per term. eurgh.
    4. we have this event called caesar's sunday. when shit goes down
    5. its really far away!
    6. im too goodlooking for all the girls
    7. i struggle to find ppl with as much banter as me

    • umm

      still not funny

    • haha

      Already been posted… Awwwww little freshers running out of chat. Ans you're not even in the Green Monsters! LOL

  • Disappointed Johnian

    Logic of the article:
    As Brick is to beautiful, Oscar is to Johns…. Which makes him a shit Johnian? Oh Jesus, this is terrible; he must have been fraternising with people who went to day school (ughhh, the horrors!) or not wearing his blazer to Cindies. And we thought he was such a good lad.

    • Definately


  • PTJ

    I'm not sure if it's the maths or being at John's, but the ladies can't get enough of me.

  • Cockring

    Fuck off you stupid navel-gazing cunt of a man

  • The Woman in Black

    I killed a baby called John once

  • the nail

    ouch! this article hit me on right on the head.

  • hal

    claire is the best anything ever

  • About time too..

    Finally, a Tab article that is actually funny. Really well written!

  • http://kenwyn.com Kenwyn Jones

    I’d rather shag the Dean than go to John’s

  • Kapilan Balakumar

    Hey mate, it is not the fact what college you go to Cambridge, it is who you are as a person. People do respect you for what you have achieved and I have to say that it is an impressive accolade. You did what you needed to do in order for it to make it happen ; I certainly couldn’t have done this (in fact I go to a lower tier university). However, after looking at you article and I must say that it is no surprise why people don’t respect because of your judge of character. If you are truly confident in your abilities why write this article and is there a need to tell your accomplishments to the rest of the world. If you perceive yourselves as superior, why ask approval for people who are ‘inferior’ such as myself.

    • C’mon, man

      My friend, the article is a parody. You’re meant to read it as satire.

    • Taxi

      for this boy

  • NotAtStJohns..

    This is actually the best thing I’ve read all day (though sadly im 2 years late), excellent! (Bravo to Oscar for the beautiful journalism :) )

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