Deputy Editor JOHN BARDSLEY on how failure is your best option in week five.

ADC Cambridge Union desmond tutu failure first class degree john bardsley success Week Five Week Five Blues

Most people in this place take themselves pretty seriously. Failure is a word that sends shivers down the spine of many an undergrad. To a lot of people getting a Desmond on an essay would take them out of action for a week. Missing one supervision would require a few counselling sessions and worse than that, getting dropped from the tennis team would require a visit to A & E (Arseholes & Exaggerators).

But take no notice of those morons. This week and to be honest most weeks, we shouldn’t fear the ‘f’ word. We should embrace it.

In Cambridge it’s impossible not to fail in some respect. Pretty much every area of your life becomes a competition. Are you on track for a first? Are you also sporty? Do you also neck bottles of wine for fun on drinking soc nights out?

Oh, you’re doing all of this? Ok, maybe it’s just me who’s a joke.


On top of these things, do you drink funny named ciders in the ADC bar after performing in futurist plays that none of your mates understand? Do you go and listen to weird-sounding music in Fez whilst looking pensive? Do you wash down your duck breast au twattay with a 1982 Château Pénis over dinner with your Union hack buddies? Does your friend Mona have a stake in a niche fashion brand?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, good for you. You’re just fucking great. Also, you should probably seek medical help after drinking that wine. But back here on planet Earth nobody combines all of these things.  And guess what that means? It means that to someone here, you’re a failure.

The first stage is admitting it. You’ve lost. You thought that by being here you had succeeded, but you haven’t. You can never succeed. Total success is impossible.

Well, a certain sort of success is. But accepting that you aren’t going to be the best at everything is probably the best life lesson Cambridge can teach you. In this instance defeat is actually your greatest success.

Napoleon and Hitler couldn’t fight wars on lots of fronts, so what makes you think you can? Time to scrap those dreams of becoming an investment-banking, pro badminton-playing academic. (Though you’re in big trouble if you’ve been dreaming about that). You’re likely going to be a normal person, and mediocrity is something we should all welcome with open arms.

It seems appropriate then that we’re entering week five. The fifth week blues may hit hard and when they do, just remember that in some respects you’re a failure and always will be.

Isn’t this an incredibly optimistic and pleasing idea?  At least if we know we are going to disappoint others, we can focus on enjoying our own lives.

So here’s my advice to you all: if week five bitch-slaps you in the face then miss that lecture. Drop that ball, spill that soup and wear those shoes your friends think look shit. Be the best failure you can be.