Juan’s World: Part 1

Juan Zober De Francisco is one of the university’s best known figures. He passes us some wisdom on getting with girls, nearly running the Union and how to party in Cambridge.

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Juan Zober De Francisco is one of Cambridge’s best known figures.  He’s run student campaigns, come within a whisker of leading the Union and organised more parties than you can shake a stick at. In a three-part special feature for The Tab, he gives us his honest thoughts on topics ranging from his view of Cambridge girls to why he isn’t a member of the Pitt Club. Welcome to Juan’s world.


** Advice to Freshers **

What do you think about hooking up with people from your own College?

I set a personal rule not to, because I knew I’d hook up with multiple women. I only broke this when a certain fourth year caught my eye. In contrast, a friend of mine met a fellow King’s fresher in his first week here. They’re still together over two years later. It really depends on who you are.

Can Freshers who don’t like clubbing enjoy partying in Cambridge?

If clubs aren’t your thing, go pirate punting! Or host a masquerade-themed house party where you insist that no one talks while Vivaldi’s Four Seasons plays. Or replace your Ents Officer and put on a Gothic Alice in Wonderland meets Tarzan-themed bop with free glowsticks. Clubbing is just one way to party.

What’s the best way to get involved in Cambridge life?

Find something you’re passionate about, and then do it. You’ll inevitably meet people through it. For me it was partying. I became Ents Officer at King’s and then at the Union. While organizing parties I found other things I could be passionate about so I followed them. I ran for President at King’s and I won. I ran for President at the Union and I lost – but I still met some amazing people in the process.

** The Union **

What was running to be Union President like?

The Union elections became all-consuming and I became obsessive. I realised this when I called a friend to ask if he’d be happy to support me. He replied “Juan… I’m in hospital”. It shocked me and I was disgusted with my lack of sensitivity.

How did you feel about losing?

Initially, I was distraught. I had allowed myself to give in to an obsessive compulsion to win. When I no longer had the Presidency in sights, I felt devoid of purpose. An ex-President took me to one side for a chat. He suggested VP, and I latched on to it within seconds.

Any advice for someone considering Union Presidency?

Think about it. Make sure the reasons you’re doing it are right. And, if you think they are (and if the people who know you best agree), then go for it. It can be incredibly worthwhile and it’s a fascinating place.

Are there any dangers for freshers getting involved in the Union?

Yes. But if it’s something that intrigues you, do it in any case. Cambridge is a beautiful playground to make mistakes. Besides, it could be perfect for you, but you won’t know unless you try.

** Alcohol **

What’s your hangover cure?

Changes depending on the hangover, but this cocktail worked once: crush lime, ginger and mint into a glass. Top with a little fizzy water, a bit of tonic water and orange juice. Shake and pour over ice. It’s delicious.

Are you a big drinker?

On some nights I tell myself I can drink more than anyone in the room and that I’m sober and fine. On others, two pints can make me do things that I subsequently regret. The effects alcohol has are dangerous and unpredictable, so it’s a risky game.

Does it matter if someone can drink a lot?

Of course it doesn’t. People respect you if you can be fun and sociable without a drink in your hand. And if they don’t, you really shouldn’t be wasting your time trying to please them.

What do you think of Cambridge ‘lads’?

Spend three minutes with a Cambridge ‘lad’ when he’s a) sober, b) not surrounded by women (or men) he’s trying to impress and you’ll get a very different image than the one you’ll get if you see him in Cindies.


In Wednesday’s Part 2, read Juan’s views on CUSU,  Cambridge girls and how he feels about David Mitchell’s attack on him in the national press.