The Dingbat: How to avoid looking like a first year

The dust has settled; you’ve formed your indestructible Jump Start friend group, you’ve switched out of engineering and you’ve come out as bisexual. How do you signal to friends, peers and complete strangers that you’re not the same person you were three weeks ago?

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on the little things you can do to affirm that you’re not like other first years.

Take off your lanyard

When the upper-year goblins are walking around, peering into the faces of the class of ‘26, the first way for them to identify you as a first year is to see whether or not you have that teal UBC housing lanyard on.

Solution 1: Take the lanyard off.

Solution 2: Morph into a Residence Life Manager, the only person who would wear a lanyard. This requires turning 30 and saying “No skateboarding in the hallway!”

Don't sweat the shirt

I know you want to show everyone that you’ve escaped Winnipeg, but consider spending $70 on something more useful than that classic UBC crewneck, like a haircut or 70 Hilroy notebooks.

No notes

Sure, many students have discovered the joys of Notion or Evernote or whatever, but any dirtbag fifth year will tell you all you need to take notes is a dog-eared sheaf of loose paper, a pen you stole from a bank and a dream.

Shit-talk your hometown

I know you want to show everyone that you’ve escaped Winnipeg, but by the end of first year, you’ll have formulated a list of your hometown’s dubious qualities, and will have even deluded yourself into thinking it’s better than Vancouver, just to fend off the shit-eating grins of people who grew up just outside Toronto.

Eat bug protein

Land and Food Systems first years know this instinctually, but as you progress through your arts or science degree, you’ll realize how doomed the world is in general and that you’d better get used to more sustainable forms of protein. So grab some chopsticks and get roachin’!

Using the name of the old ruler*

We can’t call him what we used to, so like with any ex, we must remain mature and stick only to nicknames, like ‘ol’ bowtie,’ ‘that traitor’ or ‘Mitch.’ Non-first years understand the pain of his departure and so should you!

*Obviously, monarchism is tacky at all levels of the student body.

Make your own coffee

In first year, you get easy access to swill-adjacent drip coffee from the dining halls, but consider pouring your effort into much more time-consuming forms of coffee artisanship, like the French press or cold brewing. A 2013 iteration of this article might have warned you against consuming ‘mochachinowhatsits’ but those are no longer the symbol of naïveté that they once were.

Don’t mention that you were valedictorian in high school 

Or student president, or whatever, because some doofus will turn around in front of you and say “Hey, me too!” eliciting a chorus of “Me too”’s all across Main Mall. I know you want everyone to know you were the best guy in Winnipeg, but save yourself the trouble of having to interact with the best guy from Edmonton.

Keep your guitar in its case

Yeah, you can play “Wonderwall” or “Blackbird,” but can you keep your case shut? The gentle sounds of strings across the quad is an important part of the university experience, but maybe just exercise self control once in a while just to see if it’s possible.

The most important thing to remember is that firstyearness isn’t just a mindset; it’s a disease. So, start cold brewing and get well soon, sweaty!

The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. Send pitches or completed pieces to