A Student’s Guide To Revision

Revision. Revision. Revision.

In my old age I have grown to accept this concept – not fight it. Revision is now a permanent fixture in my academic calendar. It occurs annually, taking up most of May, and sometimes even trickles into early June.

The problem is, however much revision I do, I just never get very good at it. Maybe it’s my technique. Maybe it’s my commitment. Maybe it’s just that I’m a bit shit at working.

Be honest: how many of you can actually say that you have truly figured out the best and most productive way of learning stuff to pass an exam?


One of the major issues we all face around this time of year is the fact that revision is meant to be, literally, a ‘re-visit’ to things you have already learnt. Effectively, you should already know the syllabus, and by revising you are merely consolidating your knowledge.

However, in reality no proper learning has been done all year, and so we are left to teach ourselves the entire course in the space of a few weeks. You’d think we’d learn, but this has happened for the last 3 years. Oops.

There are several phases one goes through while undertaking their revision. They include:

  • Denial – ‘It’s only April, I definitely don’t need to start revising yet.’
  • Reluctance – ‘I’ll revise for a bit, but then Made In Chelsea is on, and I have to watch it.’
  • Embrace – ‘I genuinely feel like I’m learning something.’
  • Reality – ‘It was only a past paper – who cares that I got 28%.’
  • Excuses – ‘I know so much that revising any more would actually be bad for me.’
  • Worry – ‘Is it possible to un-learn stuff overnight?’
  • Cramming – ‘I can definitely teach myself the entire syllabus the night before the exam – that’s what Red Bull’s for.’
  • Relief – ‘Who cares that I only passed by one mark – I only wanted a B anyway.’

We all have those little friends we call upon during exam season. They’re the equivalent of real-life ‘get out of jail free’ cards. Teachers swear by them and students use them as an excuse to not have to write actual notes


You know, those sumptuous spider diagrams, fantastic flow charts, luscious lists, amazing acronyms, and, er, very (good) Venn diagrams.

Ultimately, we realise that all of these are, in fact, a bit naff and don’t really help much at all. So, in the end we inevitably plump for making notes on notes on notes. On notes.

Our handwriting somehow turns from surprisingly good to disgustingly – almost illegally – illegible, and then we face the age old problem of selecting which words are slightly more highlight-worthy than others.

We never know whether staying up to revise into the early hours the night before an exam is helpful or not, or whether it is better to get a good night’s sleep and put our notes under our pillow – because the knowledge will obviously seep through the pillow and into our brain.

Of course, we opt for the second option as it is better (easier).

After all this trauma, we wake up and question our nerves – after all, the pass mark is only 40%.

We stumble to the exam half-asleep, desperately look for someone in the exam hall who looks worse-prepared than ourselves, and complete the exam with an almost empty bank of knowledge.

Results day then comes, and we regard it as a mild success to have escaped with anything remotely over the pass mark.

Twelve months later – repeat.



Motivate Me – Now!

As a student, living in student accommodation, studying in a university crammed full of students, I come across quite a lot of students. One thing that seems to be a recurring theme among them is a constant need for motivation and/or inspiration (the words seem to be interchangeable as far as anyone aged 18-22 is concerned).

Everything that goes on in the world of a student seems like it is achieved at a slight push, or that every time anything is accomplished, it is done so expending just a little bit more effort than should have been required. This is really quite exhausting.

For instance, getting out of bed in the morning (or, more often than not, afternoon) always seems such a chore. “If I run extra fast to campus I can definitely have ten more minutes in bed.” Even though the food at [insert shop] may be nicer than the food at [insert shop], we students will inevitably plump for the shop that is fractionally nearer, for one reason and one reason only: it’s easier.

In order to overcome these painstakingly horrendous challenges that we face, we often pine for some sort of divine inspiration to motivate us.

My question is simple: why is inspiration from elsewhere always needed to deal with our own problems?

A quick Google search on the words “motivational quotes” returns approximately 18 million results. Flabbergasting. Now, it’s all very well the incredible feats of others being used as some sort of proof to us that we can also overcome this particular challenge. However, the sheer extent to which people rely on these quotes/stories/anecdotes in order to get by is ridiculous.

Recently I have witnessed a surge in the number of Twitter accounts who feel they are adding something to the world by recycling famous “inspirational” quotes. Internet memes combining a picture and a quote, or supposedly emotive message, are also intended to be a form of inspiration.

People have even started to get jobs and establish careers as inspirational speakers who travel internationally to give seminars which will apparently transform you into a “better” person. Don’t get me wrong, some people, for example Aron Ralston – the guy that the film 127 Hours is based on – have genuinely inspiring stories to share with us. They should be celebrated and embraced.

However, it seems to me that nowadays any chip off the old block who grew up in a dodgy council estate, only to use initiative, escape, and make a mild (relative) success of himself, is considered “inspiring” and can make money out of this by selling their story. Pathetic.

My gripe is that anyone with any sense of personal pride and sliver of initiative should be proactive enough to inspire themselves to success. Internet phenomena, potentially fabricated quotes, and exaggerated stories of human feats of people we don’t even know, should not be relied upon to stimulate us to achieve something.

Proactivity, diligence and conscientiousness should be more than enough to inspire and motivate us to be the best we can.

So, the next time you find yourself Googling “inspirational quotes” when in need of a lift, get off your arse and be proactive!


The Alternative Ten Commandments

  1. Thou shalt not telephone another house, nor flush thy toilet chain (unless it’s a number 2), after 10.30pm.
  2. Thou shalt not ask a stranger if they are nearly done on the loo.
  3. Thou shalt only consume dropped food if it was on the floor for five seconds or fewer.
  4. Thou shalt avoid the use of a urinal directly next to another at all costs.
  5. Thou shalt stick to the ‘one per segment’ rule when using revolving doors.
  6. Thou shalt adore one, if not all, of Drake, Justin Bieber, One Direction and Beyonce.
  7. Thou shalt abide by the ‘follow back’ rule on Twitter, the ‘add everyone you meet’ rule on Facebook, and the ‘take pictures of everything’ rule on Instagram.
  8. Thou shalt be completely outraged by any hint of racism, yet proceed to still be a little bit racist thyself.
  9. Thou shalt enjoy a love-hate relationship with all reality television shows: hating them publically, whilst simultaneously secretly loving them.
  10. Thou shalt always be aware of the potentially catastrophic repercussions when deciding how many x’s to put at the end of a text.


That Little Thing You Do When…

…walking past someone you know, you pause your iPod so you can hear exactly what they say, preventing you replying ‘good thanks’ in response to ‘hey’.

…you automatically answer ‘yeah that’s great’ when the barber asks if your haircut is okay, even though you actually absolutely despise what he’s done to your hair.

…you see a crunchy looking leaf and feel that you simply could not live with yourself were you to not step on it.

…instead of asking someone if you can alternate with them on the machine in the gym, you simply do a little dance with your index fingers, making them revolve around one another.

…you quietly mutter ‘sorry’ as you brush past someone in a crowded corridor, even though you have not done anything warranting an apology.

…misspelling a word on your phone/computer, instead of merely deleting the word back to where the spelling mistake began, you erase the entire word and start again.

…walking alongside a friend, you have to begrudgingly accept they’re a slow walker, and adjust your speed accordingly, rather than asking them to increase their speed.

…you shield your PIN number as if your life depended on it, even though no one is remotely near enough to be able to see it.

…at school, the teacher cleans all the writing off the board but misses out a few squiggles, and you suffer a mini panic attack while contemplating whether or not it would be socially acceptable for you to ask him/her to clean them off.

…you are required to know whether a letter comes before or after another, so you recite the entire alphabet, having never fully mastered it in primary school.

…having already asked someone to repeat what they said three times, you still cannot understand them, but decide you can’t say ‘what?!’ again, so you pretend to understand them and simply nod/smile.

…ordering tap water at a restaurant, you become incredibly awkward and feel obliged to apologise, as if having offended the waiter.


Overcoming Awkward Social Greetings

It simply cannot be just me who is hopelessly confused when it comes to greeting friends, relatives, or anyone else you may encounter. However much practice I get, I never seem to be able to apply the absolutely, unequivocally correct greeting to the specific person in the specific context.

Whether it is saying hello or goodbye, I just never know exactly which greeting is most appropriate in the particular circumstance. Handshake? Hug? Kiss on cheek? One? Two? Kiss on lips? High five? God knows.

The rules of this custom are so ambiguous that I would wager you are, like me, plunged into a completely undesirable awkward situation on what seems to be a daily basis. One must always be wary of so many factors when considering their approach – often including their relationship with the person, formality of the context and surrounding company whenever addressing anyone.

When you see someone every day, or even on more than one separate occasion in the same day, is the same extravagant greeting required each and every time?

If you make out that you are in an extreme rush to get somewhere, is it socially acceptable to avoid a greeting altogether and merely nod dismissively? Will you be cast out by society if you do this?

If you are in a room of more than 3 others, do you still have to acknowledge all of them individually, or will an overall, all-encompassing address suffice?


A particularly delicate situation is, when walking, you spot someone you know walking toward you. If they recognise you, the fun and games begin. Panic will immediately set in. If they are more than 15 feet away, there is just no way that you can maintain eye contact for the amount of time it will take for you to cross paths. That would be weird, if not very unsettling. As they will be too far away to hear you accurately, to engage them in conversation is out of the question. So is a shout of ‘hey’, as anyone who is between the two of you will assume it is intended for them.

More often than not, you will opt for complete silence, avoid any further eye contact, and continue walking until you finally reach each other. Then, you must, in a split-second, decide which greeting is most appropriate. You can’t react spontaneously, as if having just recognised them, as you both know this has already happened. This is when you freeze. Which greeting? WHICH GREETING?!

In a bid to stop any situation like this from arising again, I have created this:

The Foolproof Greeting Manual (suitable for almost all social situations)*

2 guys, close friends – weird hand cupping high five thing, then an immediate embrace which involves your left shoulder knocking into their right shoulder.

2 guys, friends – weird hand cupping high five thing.

2 guys, acquaintances – upwards nod, awkward smile.

2 guys, spoke once ages ago – downwards nod, immediate avoidance of further eye contact.

1 guy, 1 girl, good friends – kiss on one cheek then hug (kiss on both cheeks if European or posh).

1 guy, 1 girl, friends – either: kiss on one cheek and no hug, or hug but no kiss on cheek.

1 guy, 1 girl, acquaintances – cheesy smile but no embrace.

Greetings with family members are a different story altogether, with things like closeness of family, exact relationship, length of time since last meeting all coming into the equation. This may be addressed in a further blog (if I can be bothered).

I hope the above guide is helpful, and goes some way to clearing up your horrific confusion whenever you see, well, anyone.

*For best results, carry with you at all times and consult frequently.


Clubbing Wankers

We’ve all done it. Got ourselves massively hyped up for a huge night out, only for our pre-planned tactics to fail miserably, with the result being a worse-for-wear moody teenager swanning around the club in search of a mood-lifter. At this point, there is only one thing left to do: mope around the club in a bad mood, judging each and every person who is unlucky enough to bump into us.

More often than not, these are the kinds of wankers we encounter:

THE BALLER – Perhaps the biggest, most notorious clubbing wanker. To be a part of this exclusive society, a passion for high end, ridiculously expensive alcohol is key. The uniform is sleek and stylish, with flamboyant shirts, pretentious waistcoats, and shiny shoes a must. A true Baller can be identified by the shiny Rolex on their wrist, or the waft of Paco Rabanne aftershave everyone around them will undoubtedly be stifled with.

VIP entry to all top clubs comes as standard, as does several bottles of Grey Goose and Moet per night – the bigger the better. The Baller will often be spotted at the Movidas and Jalouses of this world, as opposed to the more student-friendly Oceanas and Gatecrashers. Their plan is to spend as much as is humanly possible in an attempt to boost their ego enough to speak to members of the opposite sex, which, more often than not, ends in failure. Relentless guzzling of copious amounts of triple-distilled vodka often results in an Addison Lee-style taxi being called prematurely.

THE WOLFPACK – Consists of groups of boys who storm round the club in search of female conquests. A specific attire is required, consisting of matching hairstyles with excessive gel, a t-shirt with a print of a sexy girl on front (preferably bought at AllSaints), and spray-on skinny jeans. T-shirt sleeves will undoubtedly be rolled up, and piercings/tattoos are optional extras. Members of The Wolfpack will often be seen pointing at girls, selecting them for approach. These are the wankers most likely to leave the club with a black eye, having been punched by one of their targets after a cheeky comment was taken the wrong way.

THE RELUCTANT CLUBBER – Will often be persuaded to come on the night out at the last moment due to that unforgiving fear of missing out that haunts us. However, their original reluctance never fully subsides and so they often take to their phone to occupy them, rather than immerse themselves in the crazy drunken antics surrounding them.

A running commentary of the night is provided by them for all their Twitter followers, as they feel it is their obligation to warn everyone how ‘shit’ and ‘dead’ the club is. This is complete with spelling mistakes littered throughout, to give everyone the impression they are actually drunk. Once their phone runs out of battery thanks to over-use, The Reluctant Clubber will pester all their friends to leave with them as soon as possible, tempting them with the reward of greasy hot wings or cheesy chips as a late-night snack.

THE DELUDED DANCER – This party animal will dance all night with a gleeful disregard for their horrendous moves. They think that they have mastered all the dance crazes – The Dougie, Gangnam Style and the Cha Cha Slide – they haven’t. This is exemplified when they somehow manage to get the Harlem Shake wrong. Importantly, they will stubbornly refuse to accept any criticism, rebutting it by having the cheek to chuckle at someone else’s dancing. The Deluded Dancer is most likely to be found dancing in acres of space as their friends back off in embarrassment.

THE EXPLORER – This character will enter the club and immediately lose their friends within minutes. They’ll go on a wild adventure in a quest to be reunited with their pals, discovering various phenomena en route – often including several high fives/fist bumps with strangers, ventures into and out of the retro room with alarming speed, and becoming best friends with the toilet guy. After finally being reunited with their friends, they will proceed to wildly over-exaggerate with regards what they encountered on their adventure. This will include fabricated stories of body shots, drinking games, invitations to the DJ booth and spontaneous lap dances.

THE BIG SPENDER – Always sets out with good intentions of not irrevocably damaging their student loan – yet, inevitably, the night never pans out in this way. The Big Spender is a frequent drink-buyer – and not necessarily just for themselves. They will somehow manage to tip the toilet man at least a tenner every visit, whilst rarely reimbursing themselves by indulging in the appropriate amount of liquid soap, aftershave or confectionery. As a result, a lack of punani is inevitably experienced due to the failure to spray themselves with Armani.

THE HEAVY PRE-DRINKER – No matter how many times they say they won’t, this clubbing enthusiast always proceeds to over-do it at pre-drinks. The temptation is too much to take, so countless vodka shots are knocked back in no time at all. They can be seen walking around the pre-drink location aimlessly, high-fiving everyone in sight, and inappropriately groping all their female friends at least once. This wanker thinks it’s hilarious to tease someone for ‘not drinking’ even when they quite clearly are drinking. The Heavy Pre-Drinker rarely makes it out of pre-drinks conscious, and if they do, odds are they won’t last even half an hour at the club.

THE RING LEADER – The clubbing king, the life of the party. This guy is a true alpha male. They decide which club you go to. If they embrace the themed clothing, you do too. They control the music in the pres. They start the chants in the cab. You buy them drinks. They dance in the middle, you dance around them. Girls want to be with them, guys want to be them.

Don’t deny it – you are in at least one of these groups, if not several. So, the next time you’re out on the town, remember this blog so you can brand each and every one of your friends a particular clubbing wanker.


From undergraduate to Man Utd manager – why I should have been appointed as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor.

David Moyes? David ‘overachiever-but-still-a-bit-average’ Moyes?! No thanks.

Yet, despite my various warnings via twitter and informal chats with friends against appointing Moyes, he is the man United have plumped for to attempt to replicate Fergie’s stunning success. I guess Malcolm Glazer obviously just doesn’t follow me.

David Moyes has been appointed ahead of arguably more suitable and qualified managers such as Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp. The cynic would argue it is due to him being at the end of his Everton contract, and so no compensation being due, whereas a sum upwards of £10m would have had to be paid to Madrid to oust Jose form the Bernabeu.

However, Moyes does have various characteristics that make him ideal for the Old Trafford hotseat. He took a worse-than-average Everton side into the top four of the Premier League and transformed them from perennial underdogs to a slightly-above-average-and-actually-quite -decent-on-their-day team. He focusses on bringing through youth, a core principle at United, with Victor Anichebe, Ross Barkley, and of course, United’s own Wayne Rooney, cases in point. Perhaps most importantly for Sir Alex, he is Scottish – something that seemingly guarantees success at Old Trafford.

But, is having actual managerial experience and being above the age of 19 really the primary criteria that should be scrutinised when appointing a football manager?

I don’t think it can be argued that some of the key attributes any successful manager must have in abundance include:

  • a confident handling of the press
  • man management
  • talent/bargain spotting
  • tactical nous
  • an understanding of the game
  • a ruthless will to win

I’d argue that I possess all those qualities, amongst others.

A healthy relationship with the media is essential to ensuring a positive image is maintained. In the past I have been known to contribute tweets to the BBC Sports Live Blog, be interviewed in the street for promotional campaigns, appear as a mere dot in the background of TV news reports, and converse with people who know people who know actual journalists. All this undoubtedly stands me in good stead.

Man management and keeping all the players happy is integral to maintaining a healthy relationship with the squad. I have first-hand experience at this, for instance deciding which friend to hang out with on which day, or which three girls to play off one another at once.

I have a wonderful eye for talent. This is demonstrated when I correctly recognise which two of my friends would get on with one another, and introduce them. Being able to unearth the ‘new Ronaldo’ or ‘new Djemba-Djemba’ is an absolute must for any potential United manager. I am able to spot bubbling potential in a rough-diamond with no problem at all, something exemplified when I identify a girl in a dark club as being something of a beauty, and proceed to have this confirmed via Facebook the next morning.

An understanding of the intricacies behind a successful implementation of a false nine, midfield diamond, or correct deployment of the regista, trequartista and libero are primary factors behind any sequence of wins. I have been able to show off my enviable tactical nous countless times thanks to the Football Manager game. There is no luck involved in getting Brentford into the Premier League, leading Yeovil to a historic domestic treble, or winning the Champions League with Bristol Rovers. Each individual success is the result of hours of moving the little dots on the screen into the position that makes their green light shine brightest, a mastering of the laptop trackpad, and relentless pressing on the space bar.

A ruthless will to win is perhaps the greatest contributing factor behind Fergie’s remarkable prolonged success. Without unrelenting passion and an obsession to be the best, a manager will simply not succeed at the very top of the game. Thankfully, I have displayed these qualities over the years in a number of ways.

For instance, whenever I am playing FIFA and fall several goals behind, I respectfully leave the game with a somewhat surprising level of dignity, simply refusing to be beaten by my virtual competitor. As a kid playing Monopoly, I would often swipe the board clean of all houses and hotels in a rage of red mist when the dice would not roll in my favour. Finally, without wanting to seem boastful or arrogant, it is widely accepted that I am a master of rock, paper, scissors, recording countless victories over the years. I think we can all agree that all this equates to an unrivalled record of success.

So, there you have it – my argument as to why I should have been chosen as the next manager of Manchester United. While I might not have been the outstanding candidate or the bookies favourite, I think I have more than justified why I should have been given more of a look-in.

Oh well, United, it’s your loss. Good luck Mr Moyes – prove me wrong.