The Tab Guide To Becoming A BNOC

Our infamous ex-columnist OCTAVIA SHEEPSHANKS returns with the inside track on becoming a BNOC

ADC BNOC column friends Libraries lonely Octavia Sheepshanks popular Waitrose


So it’s nearly week 3 in your first term, you’ve read all the Tab Tips for freshers, and you still don’t have any friends.* Well, have I got news for you. You don’t need any! Real friends pale into insignificance if you can attain the legendary status of a BNOC: a Big Name On Campus. While you won’t have a single close acquaintance you can confide in, at least everyone will know who you are. If you follow these five easy steps, I guarantee you’ll be a BNOC by at least Week Four, Lent Term.

*The following process can also be employed by students in other years; since nobody knows who you are, it couldn’t be easier to formulate a totally new identity.

Step One: Get a weird name

This is a definite arrow in your quiver in your quest for BNOC status. It means that people will catch sight of your name somewhere (say, a list for a philosophy logic class), forget where they saw it, and then think it was somewhere cool. I’ve had mine since birth, but if you’re burdened with a boring title there’s literally nothing to stop you getting a new one. Ideally, both first and last names should be interesting; that way, when you introduce yourself with your first name, people will add in your surname themselves, with an expression of awe and delight.


Step Two: Vary the location

Don’t just stick to your college and faculty libraries. Suss out what’s on offer from various faculties, and make regular appearances at the UL. Remember, you want to be seen everywhere, by everyone. In a similar vein, branch out from Sainsbury’s. While I would never stray as far out as LIDL, I can report that M&S have a nifty Sainsbury’s price-match system on certain items, such as milk and bananas. Simultaneously stock up on basics and associate yourself with an upmarket setting!

…but don’t overlook college entirely

It may be a mere springboard to your university-wide social domination, but you do need to lay some groundwork. I didn’t make any friends in college until Lent, and I’m still repairing the damage. If everyone’s going to be looking at you in buttery (and they are), you really don’t want to be sitting alone.

Step Three: Wear bright colours

This is key for conquering those students you would only ever pass on the street. Soon, people will smile as you walk by, then look embarrassed as they realise you have no idea who they are. They’ll assume they’ve seen you in a play or something; little do they know they were just mesmerised by your floral trousers the week before.

This BNOC from the 80s could teach you all a lesson

This BNOC from the 80s could teach you all a lesson

Step Four: Master the theatrical world

I quickly realised that ADC mainshows were quite a challenge to get into. The good news is, it doesn’t actually matter if you’re never cast in one. Notch up some camdram points with a political poetry recital or a dodgy Rattigan in the Fitzpat, put in the hours in the ADC bar, and nobody will be any the wiser. The weekly cocktails are so pungent they’ll soon think you’re one of them.

Step Five: Write a column for the Tab

This is a winning move that will absolutely ensure people associate your name with your face. As a bonus, some readers may devote long hours to analysing your personality in the comments section so you can learn more about yourself- a bit like a group therapy session. One remark which really helped me grow as a person was:  ‘After declaring yourself independent, it frequently feels as though you’re just swinging back to hiding behind an image.’  Your Tab column will also be useful material if, in a year’s time, you decide you want to write a silly ‘How To…’ article for the same publication.

Follow these steps and one day this could be yours

Follow these steps and one day this could be yours