Tab Tries: Pretending to be a Fresher

Second year NATALIA MOLINA-HARNO goes undercover on the freshers’ pub crawl

Cambridge University Face paint Freshers Week gap-year girton lola los pub crawl strawpedo undercover

That night started off like any other, and yet it clearly wasn’t. That was the night I would go undercover, deep behind enemy lines. What formidable enemy do I speak of? The Fresher.  I was going out into the midst of freshers everywhere, pretending to be one of them, carefully concealing my 2nd year status. Having done a little research on my enemy (it’s been almost a full year since I was one, the details have escaped me) I was feeling prepped and ready to paint the town red. Or orange, more like, since I’d used my brightest and boldest orange lipstick to slash clan stripes across my face and write a very classy and very subtle “#fresher” across my chest.

As I excitedly ran out my door, I realized a second too late that I’d locked myself out… Not backing myself to be sober enough to request a key from the Porter’s lodge at the end of the night I proceeded onwards and upwards to the Plodge. Having semi-forgotten that I looked like an overexcited raver, I spent an awkward few minutes waiting to be given my key, punctuated by a fair amount of disapproving looks from the porters.

Still! I wasn’t going to let this mildly embarrassing porterly altercation kill my thunder! It was Pub Crawl night and I was pumped! Or at least trying, when really I was praying the freshers would all fall for my poorly constructed lies and not oust me from the circle of fun. #YOLO

Mid-Twerk to convince the freshers of my youth

We hit up the first pub and I kicked off the night in style by loudly ordering the cheapest shot available. I then proceeded to tell any fresher who would listen that this was because I’d blown all my savings on a Sainsbury’s Basics shop that should last me at least a month – a lifetime’s supply of Pot Noodles – and getting a couple hundred pictures of my Gap Year printed to remind me of how much of an awesome time I had (Did you know I’ve been sick in every country in the Western Hemisphere?!). Trying too hard? I was sure that if I could get a few more units in them, they’d find me more believable. After downing that bad boy, the night had officially begun.

Having brushed up on my small talk in front of the mirror for the greater part of the day, I spent the evening making my way around the Cambridge pub scene making life-long friends and memories that I may or may not remember the next day. Social highlights of the evening included meeting Kevin “Girton isn’t that far away” Jenkins, Ryan “I can strawpedo a PINT, wanna see?” Wilson, and Lucy “I swear, Girton’s really not that far away” Phillips.

Spot the world-weary second year

We hit up the Maypole next and proceeded to set up what could have been, if the Guinness Book of World Records had been involved, the world’s longest Boat race. Having already had my fair share to drink I was both incredibly keen to kick the boat race off for my side and equally unable to down my drink half as fast as any of the guys on the other team. Crushed by my defeat and unsure of what to do or where to go, I decided on the safe option of buying a couple of VK’s for the road-and we set off towards the excitement of Spoons.

As the night carried on and my small talk got drunker-including an awkward conversation, where, unable to understand the name of the boyfriend of the girl I was talking to, I subtly said “How do you spell his name?”, to which she perplexedly answered, “Uh.. M-a-x…”. Painting war stripes on everyone’s faces so I would feel less alone seemed like the best possible idea; cue a very long photo shoot where I busted out my best pouty and/or “tongue-out” faces, #camclan.

I think it was roughly around then that we decided to trade the townie delights of Spoons for the coconut-infused wonder of Lola Lo’s. When we got in, bombarded with visions of tropical cocktails and Easter Island statues, I thought for a moment I had travelled through space and time and landed in Polynesia, but only for a moment. As I headed upstairs towards the toilets, narrowly avoiding getting crushed by a very large rugby guy in a turquoise suit looking exceedingly proud of himself, I overheard a conversation from the boy’s bathroom. A group of five or six guys all wearing their best red chinos and tweed blazers (did you take a wrong turn on your way to the Pitt Club?) were shouting about possible names for the drinking club they were going to create…Not sure which I like more “The Red Chino Society” or “The Penis Society”… I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit.

I then danced the night away, making sure to take a healthy number of pictures along the way to assure my new-found fresher friends that I was exactly like them and just as keen to show my friends at Bristol and Leeds that Cambridge may be library fines and Harry Potter style capes but at night it’s all about sweaty clubs and stealing that guy’s hat because I’ve always wanted a french beret.

Just a group of guys trying to have a good time

I really feel like I bonded with the Freshers! Little do they know I was actually an undercover second-year on a mission: to convince as many gullible, over-eager freshers as possible that I was their new BFF, and remember the good ‘ole days of Fresherness in the process.