Earning Your Hangover, a St Andrews Events Story

St Andrews is the land of events, but how do we tell what’s good, bad, and just plain balls?

A worthwhile St Andrews event and a disappointing one share many things: both leave a trail of abandoned tutorials; burning wallet holes; and a shared consensus that whoever thought Patrick Hamilton suffered has surely never tried vodka red wine as a warm up cocktail. What they don’t share however is the residual smile, that faint flash of teeth below layers of hangover induced agony that defies the price and the pain, the smile that lets the world know it was worth it. Yet, with an events repertoire that ranges from polo and balls to improvised grime-themed house parties, the question remains ‘how do I find what’s worth going to?’

CREDIT: ST ANDREWS STUDENT ASSOCIATION

Step one, societies. St Andrews is so often a town made of history and money, be careful when applying this to events however. The big clubs can host a bad event just as easily as a small society can host an amazing one, and so often it is the case that the smaller and newer groups bring a welcome change to what can be balls, balls, balls. A night out at The Vic involves dancing to music, standing around on your phone when you’re bored, and trying to maintain the delicate drunken balance of good night’s sleep vs Dundee hospital. It’s remarkable how in so many cases when it comes to St Andrews events once you strip away the name, some often fairly average food, and the fact you’re in black tie, you’re actually paying over £50 for something extremely similar to what you get in town for £3.

The trick to finding and enjoying a good event lies in doing something that you could not otherwise experience in town. Gathering a set and learning to reel; standing around with your group of dirndl and lederhosen clad friends at Octoberfest; re-running storylines from old skins episodes in your mind as you enjoy a Wax Collective; these are the experiences worth having. It’s interesting to note how many of the best events I’ve been to have been closer to the price of The Vic than the certified bankruptcy of a ball. We live in a town of Jazz nights, student plays, TedX conferences, outbursts of personal passion that eclipse checking your watch at 11:30 and realising there’s still hours to go. It’s common knowledge that some of St Andrews’ ‘biggest nights’ are defined by needing a blood alcohol level that could be used to fuel a small car. What an event should bring is something remotely interesting enough to justify holding off on your inevitable catatonic tendencies until the after party.  You want my advice? Don’t allow yourself to be lassoed by the great school of networking and ‘being seen’ that St Andrews event culture can so easily be defined as. Select something you can do with your friends that’ll keep you all off your phone, maybe take a risk on a smaller society and, for the love of god, try something new.

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