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
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

Maths Teacher (Swindon and Wiltshire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for short-term cover, l...

Maths Teacher (Bath and North East Somerset)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for day to day cover, l...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week