Everyone is bloody boring these days. And not in a sit in their rooms and don’t go out kind of way. No, it’s that no one has the courage to do anything interesting any more – we’re all terrified of our reputations.
Editors of student papers will know well that students will refuse to comment on the most inane and harmless matters for fear that a potential future employer might see their banterous quote on the internet and decide not to hire them.
Naturally, students should be worried about doing things that are actively damaging (e.g. no one is going to want anything to do with that Liverpool student who was caught standing on a roof, masturbating and staring through the window at his female flatmate). But there is a marked difference between not doing things that are actually bad, illegal or unemployable and not doing anything at all.
“Oh no, he’s got a sense of humour”, “dear me, he expresses opinions”, or “oh, he ran for election and didn’t win”. No one should give him a job, ever. Naturally.
If you think these are genuinely going to be issues that will prevent you from succeeding post university then I’m sorry but there are probably other issues you need to address as well. Like being a total wet blanket.
Having google search results that make you look like an angel is obviously ideal. But even if you’re loudly complaining about your JCR instead of being recognized for your charity work, or expressing your views on cheesy chips instead of receiving awards for your poetry, at least you’re doing your bit in making Oxford seem a bit more enjoyable, and yourself a bit less of a fun-sponge.
Students get to Oxford and they rightly want to make the most of the opportunity. For better or for worse, Oxford is no longer the bubble it was before the rise of the internet – things that are done in this University city quickly proliferate into the outside world (cheers for that, Daily Mail…). But this constant state of terror should not paralyse us, it should teach us to have judgment, and only act in ways that we’re willing to defend.
Yes, there is no leniency for students any more – if you do something wrong or outrageously stupid you get treated like an adult and held to account, and, as an Oxford student, often very publically. But that doesn’t mean that we should all try and have less fun than a piece of cardboard watching paint dry. If you never take any risks, and if you never do anything interesting, what are you trying to achieve, anyway?
Tags: boring — Oxford — reputation — student journalism