Tab Tries: predrinking a supervision

It went as well as it sounds like it would

Cambridge DoS Drinking supervision work

My DoS showed me some paintings in his office a few weeks ago and I tripped over a fancy antique rug. This perfectly symbolised my intellectual contribution to the meeting.

If you asked someone to draw a Cambridge don, they would draw something exactly like my Director of Studies: a white-bearded man of knowledge with a thick accent and round spectacles, who talks in riddles and funny anecdotes. I cannot form sentences around wizards. He has emerged from a Cambridge nether-time and I have emerged from the age of microwavable mini- pizzas.

He looks this wise and this old

He looks this wise and this old

“Are you drunk?” He asked. A long two or three seconds went by before I realised he was joking. Then he continued to show me some cool paintings, and I continued to make insightful comments like, “that’s a cool painting.”

One of the things this uni boasts about is bringing wooly brains like ours into contact with those of world class academics. However, unless you have seriously perfected the art of bullshitting, it’s normal to come out of these conversations feeling a bit mentally underqualified.

Last week I decided to change that. It was either buying a thesaurus and the entire works of ‘…for dummies’, or learning to blag. Even the latter option sounded like a big job at first. Then I remembered that there are drinks you can consume to make the words to flow more freely. What could possibly go wrong?

Lots of things, obviously

Lots of things, obviously

Is it a good idea to drink before a supervision? Maybe not if you’re a mathematician and need your logic but if your subject matter tends towards the wafty then maybe it could be the best decision of your academic career! Not getting drunk of course, just to that sweet middle ground when you start to notice that you’re getting funnier.

I asked around and no-one said it was a terrible idea. Apparently it’s all but expected for MML’ers to prink an oral exam, so surely it can’t be unheard of for Art Historians. Maybe a slightly altered frame of mind would give me unconventional new insights into the analysis of a painting.

God bless the History of Art

God bless the History of Art

I had a supervision at ten am last week with the same formidable old nerd. But this time I was prepared, and had a can of gin and tonic with my breakfast. I drank approximately seven tenths of the can before I panicked and poured it away. Maybe it was because my stomach only had rice crispies in it; maybe it was some kind of guilt-inspired placebo effect; maybe Bacchus exists and was having a laugh at me for not believing in him; but I was halfway drunk.

As I walked to my supervision I realised that I was a complete twat.

Opportunities for intellectual development were slipping away...

Opportunities for intellectual development were slipping away

My Dos was a good ten minutes late. I spent those minutes swaying around next to his office trying not to feel tiddly, taking pictures of a spider I saw on the wall, hoping that I wasn’t going to Hell. By the time he arrived any conversational advantages that the one unit of alcohol I had consumed could have given me had worn off and I was woozy.

If anything, I was feeling even more nervous than usual because I didn’t want him to smell me and think I have an alcohol problem. I was also worrying that I might have an alcohol problem.

Still incapable of bullshit and with even fewer wits than usual, I forgot the name of one of my modules and stared at my shoes the whole time.

Pre-drinking a supervision could have gone worse, but not easily. I mean it wasn’t even a good story. Shockingly, is easier to debate with an academic when you have tea with your cereal.

That packaging speaks wisdom

That packaging speaks wisdom


In conclusion, if you decide to drink before a scary meeting, drink a lot so that you forget that it’s a completely terrible idea.