Oh god, I know, I know, all my posts these days seem entirely initiated by what I've previously read in the paper. Thing is, at this current moment in time, occupation and location, the broadsheet is my only source of intellectual wisdom. Sad, but true.
Anyway, A level results come out today. Right now teenagers will be rushing up to school gates, trying not to look like they care that this is what they've been built up for the entirety of their non-compulsory educational lives and they're on the brink of filling their pants.
The mere two years ago that I went through a similar experience seems like an age ago. Mainly because two years in university teaches you a hell of a lot more than the normal eight seasons. I'm not pretending I'm all wise and philosophically rounded now - how bloody boring - but I know enough that the Times' student supplement clearly hasn't been written by anybody who's graduated in the last three years.
Yeah, yeah, so they've got a whole page on Twitter and all that, but seriously, when do people drink 'half pints' on Freshers' Bar Crawls? Half pints? Half pints are pathetic, almost cute little things that I serve to the elderly in my village local. They even come in patronisingly miniature pint glasses to demonstrate the lack of intoxication. All good students know that Freshers' Bar Crawls are done once, and very rarely again, because they are the most restless and expensive way of having organised fun, and because the hangover you get from incessant shots of sugary forms of some kind of fermented animal is truly ungodly. Especially to those who've spent the whole summer choosing what kind of laptop to buy.
The feature on the £230 day-long pre-university cookery course also took me aback. Not least when one of the attendees thought of the potential to 'start up a supper club' was a brilliant idea, with menu inclusions being a salad of figs, goats' cheese and walnuts and homemade lamb-burgers. Apparently, it'll make 'everyone want to share', which translates to 'people robbing your food'. An average £15 per week student food budget goes on Shreddies, 3 kilo bags of penne and tinned tomatoes et al. Creative cooking comes in the form of mustard mash. Even if you do fancy trying some culinary talent, Fresher kitchens are invariably so disgusting that dinner becomes whatever you can create fastest and get the hell out of there. Never mind, they'll soon realise the delights of cheese on toast and angel delight, and Jamie O will get stashed to the back of the cupboard, or maybe used in an inventive drinking game.
However, the icing on the cake was found in a little column called 'The Knowledge' - apparently the Bible to getting though Freshers'. Some, very true: 'Girls who wear pink pashminas study history of art' - although in Newcastle that's practically everyone, and even up there I think the Pash may have died out by next year. 'You will be showered with freebies, all of which will be worthless' - again, very true. I think it was only the flatmate with the smallest chance of getting laid that used the Players Bar, 'Do Not Disturb - got lucky at Players' door sign. But then, again with the cringe, 'Retro is cool in clothes, children's television programmes and gadgets such as SodaStream'. Firstly, wrong. Anyone who likes 'Retro' also likes Flares, the 70s nightclub. Secondly, my almost-entirely vintage wardrobe is only admired by my flatmates for fancy dress purposes, my vintage record player marked me as a pretentious loser and anyone who still wears teeshirts with Zippy or other Rainbow characters on is clearly a mature student having a midlife crisis.
Enough rant. No doubt my 3rd year self will be just as sceptical of my 2nd year self should I get round to graduating. My advice? Never forget the trackies. I may not leave the house in mine, but they get nearly every student through hangovers/overeating/all-nighters.