Doing the 50: How to finish with a whimper, not a bang

This week, Sheffield third-year James Ashford completes the last of the 50 tasks we once told him he (and you) had to do before he left uni. The anticlimax is palpable

A long, long time ago, I stumbled across a list of 50 things to do before you leave university. The list was pretty bland and vaguely patronising, but it gave me some direction. I decided to complete all fifty things, write about them, and in the process have some 'life-changing experiences'. What a dismal failure.

With 45 things completed on my list of 50, it was time for the final five.

18. Go to the careers office and speak to them completely honestly

Even by the standards of this spectacularly boring list, you’d have to say that this is a pretty dull thing to make someone do before leaving university. I had my first careers meeting when I was about six years old and my professional ambitions were primarily influenced by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Even at that age I realised these meetings were essentially useless, and that people working in a careers office weren’t in the best position to advise me on life prospects.

The previous article included my attempt at ’16. Apply for internships and jobs’. The good news is that I got the job I applied for. The bad news is that this made a chat with the careers people rather redundant. In light of this, I decided not to waste anyone’s time, and instead just stood around outside the careers office for a bit, looking smug.

21. Go and see the art departments' end of year show

The generally lackadaisical approach I take towards researching my articles means I have been known to occasionally make mistakes. However, I can say with the swagger of a man who has spent at least four minutes checking on Google, that at the University of Sheffield, we do not have an art department.

I can only presume that when all the departments were divvied up between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam, we lost out on ‘art’. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if we deserve to be ranked 44 places higher than Hallam at all – unlike them, we don’t do Tourism Management, Metalwork or even Furniture Design. Through some massive miscarriage of justice, we ended up getting stuck with all the mickey-mouse subjects like ‘Medicine’ and ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Astrophysics’.

To make up for the lack of art show, or indeed department, I went into our union and had a look at the pictures on the walls. They were rubbish.

42. Dye your hair

Like most things on this list of 50, dying your hair is something most people will have done within the first week of university or, more likely, long before. I bleached my hair, and much of my scalp, at the age of fourteen, along with a few friends. We were so pleased with the results that we set up a pop group, The Bleach Boys, who enjoyed wild success thanks to our brilliantly cunning strategy of never performing in public.

People’s reactions to my long bleached mop cut were generally positive. My Head Teacher had bet me a fiver in front of the whole school assembly that I wouldn’t go through with it. After buying the bleach, I was left with four pounds well-earned profit.

Even my mum was encouraging. I remember us laughing and joking, me asking what she thought of it, her affectionately calling me ‘fucking idiot boy’ and weeping about the loss of my ‘beautiful, beautiful hair’.

I wouldn’t recommend dying your hair, but if you have to, invest in a quality brand and under no circumstances buy your bleach at poundland unless you’re going for the ‘do not approach this man, he is considered armed and dangerous’ look.

44. Make a movie starring your friends and your favourite places

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me film in the gym, so I resorted to plan B. Many people are getting familiar with the popular iPhone app ‘snapchat’. You can probably get it on other phones, but I wouldn’t know, because I don’t like to hang around with anyone who isn’t packing at least a 4S.

You can send photos or short videos to friends, which expire 1 – 10 seconds after they’ve been viewed. You can’t save or screenshot photos people send you, but you can save media you send to other people. As a result, the ‘movie’ I made consists of a series of short clips of me and my friends doing the type of things that make people think our generation is probably the end of any type of civilised society.

46. Make friends with a student from a country you've never known someone from or been to before

I didn’t know anyone from Germany before university, and now I know someone from there really quite well. As a result, I’ve spent a New Year’s Eve in Berlin, learnt a decent amount of German and had a clean haven away from the various hovels I have lived in. I’ve even managed to limit war jokes to special occasions; I will only start playing Churchill speeches if my Freundin’s bragging about the Deutsch economy gets out of hand.

With these five ticked off, fifty out of fifty things were complete. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, if the rollercoaster was one of those shit ones you get at fair grounds run by people who keep getting married on Channel 4.

James Ashford, you'll note, did not actually do any of the things he was meant to do this time around. Follow him on Twitter: @iamjamesashford

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Trainee Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Trainee Sales Executive is re...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer - Peterborough - £18,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Cambridgeshire - £23,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Front-End Develo...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003