A Cruel Mistress

Lafrowda has an excellent peering point to watch students leave the Lemmy at 2am.

alcohol Exeter Lawfrowda Lifestyle student The high road Uni

For many students, the first year of University is one captured through a decidedly hazy lens.

Whether a lover, a fighter, a manic depressive, or a shockingly bad dancer (or let’s face it, all four), your drunk self is one friend from home it’s wise to come to terms with before being catapulted into a world where you’ll probably spend most of your time together.

In what will forever remain an irreconcilable paradox, alcohol represents the plague of our overdraft, motivation and dignity, and the stuff that memories are made of.

So, how do you reconcile the person whose pasty and listless face greets you in the mirror each day, with their Jäger-induced alter ego?

We’re all familiar with the statistics of the issue, those which alarm parents, exasperate the taxpayer and trigger in the student mind a bizarre mixture of apathy and pride. We’ve all missed the occasional seminar after a Cheesy Tuesday, or experienced the post-apocalyptic atmosphere of campus on Sunday mornings.

You’ve also probably woken up burdened with the knowledge of your own tipsy indiscretions, feeling like your life resembles that of Bridget Jones without the happy ending.

It’s at this point that the student community is divided, with each faction employing different strategies for the inevitable morning-after debrief.

You may choose, like some, to adopt the ‘what happens in Rococos, stays in Rococos’ policy, claiming that anything occurring in the hours when your dignity is consigned to oblivion simply doesn’t matter, doesn’t count, and certainly doesn’t need to be cross-examined. Patrons of this technique find sanctuary in ignorance, that is, until the ever-flattering club endorsed photographer rears their ugly head around midday.

Alternatively, you may be the type for whom focusing on the mishaps of others is the natural companion to the obligatory hangover tea and toast.

This option does however carry the risk of your becoming the ‘judgmental one’. We’ve all encountered these abominable creatures and their terrible artillery, whether their weapon of choice is merely a smirk in lectures, or woefully transparent praise of your drunken ‘confidence’.

What we must remember, however, is that however élite the moral high ground, the low ground has the majority.

Fortunately, there is another tactic, and it’s one which we as students should be proficient in: don’t take yourself too seriously.

It’s often the case that we fixate on our own personal Armageddon amidst the hilarity of the tales of others. One of the greatest privileges (if not the only privilege) of residing in the infamous Old Lafrowda is the joy of watching you wonderful people stumble home from the Lemmy at 2am on Saturday night, and very rarely does amusement give way to stinging criticism.

We’re all adults here (in theory, at least), but we enjoy the unique advantage of having the freedom to test boundaries, form relationships and establish ourselves in countless scenarios with the welcome assistance of ‘dutch courage’ in whatever quantity we deem appropriate.

Inevitably many of the connections formed at university will feel the influence of alcohol at some point, but balance is key. As the recent UniLad scandal has so abundantly demonstrated, there is a point at which ‘banter’, the sidekick of inebriation, becomes neither endearing nor palatable.

For the majority, however, alcohol proves a great leveller, and we often find ourselves united by the memories it begins (and indeed those it obliterates).

The fact of the matter is that life’s much easier when you recognise the humour in your own blunders, and keep them in perspective. The freedom to pursue such a rampantly hedonistic lifestyle will deplete rapidly after first year, with plenty of opportunities for self-scrutiny accompanying first the final push for degree success, and then the ominous employability struggle.

For now, at least, the tragedies of the morning should be the punch lines of the evening, and if all else fails, just claim that you were satirising society.