How To Be Popular In Freshers Week

Being popular from the outset is extremely important. We tell you how it’s done…

cambridge freshers Cambridge University freshers 2013 Gap Yah gap-year High School Musical Jelly Babies popular Popular in Freshers week reverse-snobbery Students

Not only is being popular during Freshers Week the most important thing in the world, you bloody well owe it to your poor mother!

She spent the entirety of your puberty wondering why you preferred Sanskrit to sunshine (with its football, picnics and springly stirrings), and why when other boys were filling out their polo shirts with a virility of pectorals (shoal of fish, virility of pectorals), you were the bag of bones cowering in the corner of Waterstones with a handful of Jelly Babies and a satchel of Digimon cards.

The woman needs a break. It might also be nice to demonstrate to her that you’re capable of sustaining a sexual relationship outside of the squalid Ask Jeeves image searches you left on her internet history. Here’s The Tab guide to being so popular during Freshers that it’ll be hard to distinguish between you and the really likeable Fit Singing Ones out of High School Musical 3.

1.)    Do absolutely everything

Being popular means being known and adored by absolutely everyone. Freshers week is, in theory, the perfect Launchpad for this. Whether it’s Churchill’s Anything-But-Clothes disco or Murray Edward’s finger painting workshop, every event is a critical mingle along the ladder to universal reverence. You won’t be sleeping during Freshers Week, unfortunately, but this shouldn’t have any lasting effects and should be relatively manageable. The question to ask yourself before indulging in any given beverage is “should I be drinking this, or should I be drinking Monster?” The answer, I would hope, is crystal clear. In addition to this, insert slices of fresh lemon in between your lips and gums and sprinkle your codpiece with chilli powder. Both tactics are said to administer a long-lasting, enlivening zing.

Remember Hermione’s method of going to every single class in The Prisoner of Azkaban, even if there was a clash? What I’m suggesting is not that you procure yourself a (spoiler alert!) Time-Turner, but that it is possible to be just as popular as Hermione without going to such measures. Skip relentlessly from mingle to mingle with charisma in your dimples and a LOTR meme on your T-shirt; people will admire both your stamina and your incandescent sense of humour.

 time turner

There’s a reason we all loved Emma…

2.)    Establish yourself as a formidable sexual presence.

Nothing makes a prospective friend more approachable than the bellowing smoke signal issuing from his or her loins. Treat yourself to undoing as many buttons as Alfie Moon would be comfortable with on quiz night at the Queen Victoria, and make sure you dance with your armpits exposed for pinnacle pheromone dissemination. It’s time to bandy your legs bout town as if you’ve spent the week bare-backing a Shire, and invite all of those ladies (who, aware of your gonadic apparition, should surely have been locked up by their fathers) back for a séance of Bend It Like Beckham. The women want to date you, the men want to be you, and you are everyone’s first choice supervision partner for Ge3.

bend it

“There’s a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one without a fella!”

3.)    Make sure everyone knows about your gap year.

The most important part here is that you were on a post-Gap-Yah gap year. You know that, we know that, and therefore there is absolutely no chance that you will be mocked. None of that paying-thousands-of-pounds-to-volunteer-as-a-Ugandan-zoo-hand rubbish; you were actually doing good! In a real-life orphanage. Reading Penguin classics with the original orange and off-white covers. Strumming your guitar to the tune of your own existential discontent. Thank God you were kidnapped in Gabon, because otherwise you wouldn’t be the exhilarating yet wonderfully humble person you are today. Finish the look with the juxtaposition of a Malian death mask above your tins of alphabet soup – spiritual yet domestic! – or maybe your own meditation workshop to help others out of Week Five Blues.

4.)    Indulge in reverse-snobbery

Let’s not worry about that stand-alone bath or thoroughbred Siamese: one of your mother’s cousins was a bricklayer and you definitely have working class roots. For God’s sake tell those brazen boys in the Biryani-stained chinos what’s what, but first take care to sweep under the metaphorical carpet those moccasins and claim ignorance of that bedevilled ‘m’ in ‘whom’. Despite the odd anomalous lawyer or Deloitte tax associate in the family, you are practically the first of your clan to go to university, let alone Cambridge. And oh how excited your Nan was to hear your of success whilst she passed your overalls through the mangle. And oh how hard it was to complete those A levels under the stress of trying not to be stabbed in the playground of X-bury Grammar whilst having to sell the dinner ladies knock-off ketamine to make ends meet. Play up those noble rags-to-riches as if the word “plethora” never happened.


These are not yours.

5.)    Be too cool for Cambridge

Because nothing says “be my best friend” more emphatically than a face full of I-Could-Be-Elsewhere. You advised Elle against leather bandeaus last week, and were mentioned in the Editorial. Your children’s book about a lonely mushroom who learns to laugh via a blossoming friendship with Fun Gus has caught the attention of Bloomsbury. The Tate Modern re-tweeted your thoughts on Ellen Gallagher’s latest as you had a good deal to say on her treatment of Afro-Caribbean genealogy.  The whiff of extra-curricular success that you carry within your (veneered) teeth like a Black Mamba does death could not be more attractive. People will be queuing to share their Tuna-melt with you.

Heed these simple counsels and you will pack the social punch of Danny Zuko. Think of the smile on Mom’s face when she hears there’s a crowd for Sunday lunch.