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August 20, 2018 | by  | in From the Archives | [ssba]

From the Archives

Students operate within an extremely dumb and arbitrary hierarchy. When you first get to university, you immediately feel you’ve left behind the youthful trappings of high school students, no longer a child but a cosmopolitan young adult. In second and third year you talk derisively about the naiveté of first years, while doing all the same stuff you did in first year, except now you eat unseasoned spag bol five nights a week. When you become a post-grad, you sip coffee in Milk & Honey, laughing smugly with your fellow thesis students at the undergrads passing by. It’s the circle of life, baby.
Underpinning the university hierarchy is an understanding that uni is, at some level, an obstacle course which gets easier when you possess certain knowledge. A lot of this information has to be accrued over time, but some can be passed down from those who’ve gone before. While making fun of freshers is a universal theme running through back issues of Salient, so too is the distribution of advice on learning how to navigate student life.
Salient 1954 provides some examples of these nuggets of sage, senior student wisdom, a lot of which still hold up. For example, B.C. Shaw provides a wealth of tips on making the most of the resources available to students:

“Use Available Resources – the Library is for your use. Use it often. Also make use of special discussions, by attending these you will further your knowledge and appreciation of the various subjects of your course. Attend tutorials. Ask questions about anything you are not too sure about.”

Wedged next to Shaw’s practical advice is a column explaining how to affect a bohemian student look:

“Head scarves or berets are permitted if pulled down firmly; men may adopt tweed hats if shapeless enough. Blazers should be at least one size too large, and if new, exposed to gain the correct brownish shade and droopy shape. Patches of contrasting colour on elbows are extremely popular.”

Fashions may come and go, but the crux of this advice is timeless – try out some goofy shit with your dress sense while you’re at uni. You might never be able to wear David Bain sweaters or a Jim Beam cap every day with impunity again. Carpe diem.
I cannot so freely endorse the advice of the author of “Around the Bottles With R.T.B.”. It starts strong with recommendations for good bars near uni, undoubtedly crucial intel, before suggesting a feral concoction from The George:

“To celebrate the beginning of the Varsity year you should try that famous drink “A George Cocktail.” Order a double rum and a double whisky in a five ounce glass and top it up with peppermint, mix it well and drink it with two beer chasers.”

This is the kind of mixed drink you hear about just after you turn eighteen that you reckon will make you look like the absolute loosest unit for drinking. You talk it up all week – “yeah bro, reckon I’m getting on the Georges this weekend” – then as soon as you take the first sip you realise that a) it tastes like death and you want to vomit, and b) no one’s even really that impressed that you’re drinking a strong, shitty drink. You could be drinking raspberry Scrumpy, but instead you paid $80 to have two almost full bottles, one of whisky and one of rum, that you’re never going to want to drink ever again. But hey – now you know for next year.


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