The Tab Guide to a week long post-exam bender
How to get in the bin and stay there
Congratulations kid, you’ve made it through your exams and now it’s time to celebrate.
Having spent the past month in a hole of darkness and despair, completely free of any kind of substance-induced fun, you’ll be keen to immediately get back on the sauce and hit up every single club night this minute little town has to offer. Nothing but bevs and banter from here on out, right?
It isn’t that simple. The post-exam bender is a hard thing to get right and an even harder one to enjoy. Thankfully The Tab is here to help, and has distilled all of it’s lager soaked knowledge into a handy little guide to be studied like a holy scripture. If you want to know how to dodge the hangovers, keep the party going and make it to May Ball with your psyche intact then read on, silly fresher.
Thursday – The Cava Finish
As you put down the pen after the inevitable clusterfuck of your last exam, you’ll be itching with anticipation. The smell of prosecco might even waft into the hall, leaving you fixated on doing nothing but grabbing the nearest bottle of anything fizzy and chugging it like a thirsty dog.
Be warned. This is the first pitfall on your quest for the perfect bender. While a bottle of cava might have been a light refreshment in Lent, by the end of exam term your tolerance will be at a painfully low level. Over doing it now will lead to an embarrassing early exit from the sesh. Simply sip your cava, watch your intoxication and make it in and out of your preferred club night. Don’t be the overconfident fool who dies at pres because they couldn’t resist that one additional tinny. The first night is damage limitation. Get some sleep and prepare yourself for the rest.
Friday – Townie Night
If you performed well yesterday, you’ll wake up almost hangover free. If not, drink some water and have an Ibuprofen (Boots sells 16 for 60p, stock up), the real work is yet ahead. Spend the day relaxing, spraying any later finishers and maybe having a tinnie or two. This is an excellent way to covertly build up tolerance.
Come the evening, and it’s time to see what you’re really made of. Friday Life is perhaps Cambridge’s best rounded club night and for good reason. It provides the perfect synthesis of student and civilian life, with a reasonable song set to boot. For some reason Friday townies are far friendlier than their Saturday night counterparts, so it’s time to gauge your drinking chops against their consistently solid bench mark
For now, stick to beer and wine. I’ll remind you that a bender is a marathon and not a sprint.
Saturday – Enter the Spoons
Perhaps you and your mates are feeling rough after your recent double header. Well that’s tough, the sesh goes on with or without them. In the face of your companions reluctance, perhaps consider offering them a ‘chill one at the pub’. Neglect to mention that pub is Spoons till the last possible moment.
DangerSpoons is overhyped when it comes to genuine risk from the locals, and actually plays some passable music. Still, you need to remember your training, keep it cool and sip your pitcher. It’s hard to keep drinking when you’re concussed.
Sunday – The Benchmark
It’s make or break time. You’re four days in and need to show your worth at the drinking-soc staple Sunday Life. If you did spoons properly, the morning will be spent downing water and swallowing painkillers like they’re smints.
This is probably a good time to mention that physical fitness is key here. One of the best antidotes for a hangover is exercise, so get down to five-a-side and sweat out any remaining Long Island Ice Tea left in the bloodstream. Avoid rowing though, lest you be dragged down by their inherent wetness.
It’s the Sunday of May Week, which means only one thing: garden party time. My recommendation for this is hitting up Medwards, where you can binge on VKs like the thirsty scholar you are. This acts as an excellent prelude to May Ball, and is fun enough to keep you from collapsing into a mid bender coma, unlike the myriad of other more sedentary garden parties.
You also must make it to Life, no matter the state of your blazer, and put in a decent stint to perhaps Cambridge’s worst club setlist. Jaegerbombs are your friend here. Many a poor night can be rescued by the sickly mix of Sainsbury’s Blue Bolt and German digestif.
Monday – The Last Formal
If you feel ashamed, alone, fragile and weak, well done. You did well son, but the fight isn’t over yet. Now like an iPhone, it’s time to enter recovery mode. Multiple naps, a variety of painkillers and maybe even cigarettes are your tools here. It’s time to mend your head.
Come the evening, still slight boozed, it might be tempting to take the night off. However as you’ll recall, you and your friends thought it would be a nice idea to go to formal before the end of term. Oh what a stupid boob you were just a week ago.
By now, many will be going wineless, but for you this would be abject surrender. Grab a bottle of Cladia Mercier (£5.50 from the wine merchants), add a couple of pre-formal pints and thank the Lord there’s no clubbing on Monday. This night is all about continuity.
Tuesday – Something Pretentious
Now the Architects have finished, a plethora of club nights boasting an esoteric line up and a unreadable symbolic description will pop up on the Facebook page. Buck the trend by actually going to one of these weird nights instead of just marking yourself as ‘Interested’.
If you have friends of this variety, make use of them now, for your normie group is likely spent at this point. Don’t make a costume though, simply observe like Louis Theroux, above it all with your wry smile.
One advantage is these types don’t tend to drink much, so you can secretly have an easy one without arousing suspicion. Stay late though, for you’ll be in better stead for tomorrow.
Wednesday – The May Ball
The final day, the final push. Your head will feel like a hollowed out coconut, each of your limbs will suffer the same endless ache. At this point it’s no longer about fun and entirely about completion.
Sleep late, drink water and make sure you’re wired on pro-plus and coffee before you even start queueing for the so called ‘best night of the year’. You honestly won’t enjoy this too much, and will wonder why you’ve almost completely ruined a night costing you upwards of £100. Ignore such doubting thoughts, and hit the drinks early. To make it through the next 8 hours, you’ll need to work yourself into a state of intoxicated delirium, so ignore the cocktail stand and go straight for the prosecco. Queue’s are usually shorter, allowing for more efficient consumption. Get down to the main stage, try to enjoy whatever has been your May Ball committee has wheeled out for you and resist out of body experiences. At this point they’ll be hitting you on an hourly basis.
Keep your eyes off the time. You’ll feel grim and at this point be welcoming the sun rise like the approaching messiah, although when it comes and you line up for that survivors photo, your body little more than animate corpse, your psyche a rotten visage of it’s former self, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment like no other.
Harder than tripos, more difficult than a dissertation, you’ve earned first class marks in getting on the piss. Sesh well, silly fresher.