Doing the 50: I would do anything to finish this list... but I won't hand an essay in on time

Sheffield third-year James Ashford is determined to do all 50 things The Independent once witlessly suggested all students should do before they leave uni. The results are... just as you might imagine

A few months ago, I stumbled across a list of 50 things to do before you leave university. The list was utterly bland and entirely patronising, but it finally gave me some direction in my life. In that moment, I decided to complete all fifty things, write about them, and in the process have some 'life-changing experiences'.

I'm 20 things down so far and looking forward to the next five as much as a cattle prod to the nipple. And yet, here they here.

4. Hand in an essay early
9. Study in every library that exists at your university (like you're ‘on tour' - but studying)

Handing in an essay early is very unfamiliar territory for the majority of students. Finishing (and starting) your work the night before a deadline is common practice even amongst the most distinguished of scholars.

Though last-ditch effort has traditionally been frowned upon by tutors, secondary school teachers and parents, in reality I believe it is the best method for 'all-round development'. University is meant to be character-building.

In my opinion there is nothing more character-building than shambling to the departmental office, the morning after an all-nighter, with four thousand words and bloodshot eyes.

That said, it’s hard to read that bracketed section of task nine without experiencing a feeling of genuine revulsion. Visitng our various university libraries is about as convincing a ‘tour’ as performing to Welsh school children with your village percussion band. You can tell as many girls as you like that you ‘went on the road’ but you’ll only end up lying to yourself as much as them.

To satisfy requirement nine, I managed to visit a number of pretty intensely studious libraries, before deciding that Sheffield's 'Information Commons' would become my headquarters. The IC is home to some of the most fascinating specimens in human evolutionary history. You can’t spell diversity without library, and that is the making, and also the downfall, of the IC.

All are welcome, which means all do flock. People will come into the library for shelter from the rain, for warmth, for a chat. The only time you can sort the wheat from the inanely chattering chaff is the middle of the night. Come witching hour, only truly zealous or pitifully desperate students remain. It was amongst these people that I found my home while starting my essay early.

The pros and cons of handing in an essay early are as follows:

Pros

  • You have to worry about it for less time.
  • It’s probably not as rubbish because you have longer to think about it.
  • You don’t feel like such a slacking [chap - ed.].

Cons

  •  

Despite completing the bulk of the work about a week early, due to my commitments as the Prince of Parties, I was only able to hand in the essay one day early.

I later realised that ‘hand an essay in early’ is a ridiculous task, because unless you hand it in on the very second of the deadline, it's always going to be a bit early.

And that is how I will justify it forevermore.

32. If you think a lecture was particularly good, try and instigate a standing ovation

Luckily, around essay hand-in time, no one actually attends lectures. I was able to use this to my advantage by reducing the audience to as small a number as possible for my next stunt.

I decided the best time to strike would be following a lecture on sexual perversion, because in a room of people debating the merits of bestiality, one young man clapping at the back is hardly going to cause an uproar.

As the lecture drew to a close, I stood up and began applauding. Not only did nobody join in, not a single person seemed to show the slightest bit of interest. Though I was disappointed that my appreciation had gone unnoticed, the overriding feeling was that of relief. I’m not a judgmental person, but if I saw someone clapping at the end of a lecture my first thought wouldn’t be ‘they’re probably doing it for an article’, it would be ‘what a sarcastic little cockwomble.’

22. Go to a play put on by the drama department or a uni society

I went to go and see Sheffield University Theatre Company’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I was disappointed to discover that there would be no musical numbers but decided to stick it out nonetheless.

The performances were mixed. The key players performed their roles commendably; Frankenstein and his monster led well from the front.

The refreshments were mediocre but I didn’t let it spoil a pleasant evening’s entertainment.

50. Get loads of discounts, free things and cool stuff by joining the UK's largest student money saving club studentbeans.com, of course!

Not only was this the easiest thing on the list for me to do, it's also a pretty good way of saving money. Recommended.

James Ashford is a sweetheart really. Follow him on Twitter: @iamjamesashford

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £140 per day + ?DOE: Randstad Education Maidstone: SEN Teacher Kent

Year 5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: KS2 Supply Teacher Position avai...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil