Neknominate? No.

Neknominate? No.

You’ll have to forgive me for being an old and cynical git now. And yes, I am still a student, contrary to what the tone of this post might suggest.

However, there is a new craze doing the rounds at Uni and also on social media at the moment, and it is a craze that I am finding most infuriating. This craze is known as ‘Neknominate’, or ‘nekominate’, or God knows what else (It’s all explained on the link below).

This craze involves being ‘neknominated’ by someone to down a pint (although, certain videos show people downing considerably more) of a vile concoction of alcohol, on a video to be posted online, and then nominate someone to do the same within 24 hours. The concoction of alcohol varies, although I did overhear on campus of a pint made of Vodka, Lager, Bitter, Sambuca, Lemon Juice, and just for good measure, Vinegar.

This ‘neknomiate’ business really hacks me off. Young people and students get a lot of bad press nowadays, and posting videos online of ourselves getting slaughtered will not help. Furthermore, where does it all stop? The stuff that is being consumed in these videos will only get more and more stupid, and someone somewhere will soon drink something that will really do some harm.

Finally, what do you do when the future employer of your dream job finds that video of you online? What will have seemed like a good idea at the time, will actually strike you for what it really is: a really stupid idea.

Rant over.


Why Should I Bother Voting?

Originally published online by The Knowledge, as part of their series on the University of Plymouth’s Student Union election season:

It is that time of year again. Posters are up, leaflets are being passed around, arrangements are being made. Indeed, there is a student somewhere who is preparing to gear up to try and become the Student Union President, and he or she will succeed. However, while there is an inevitable buzz about taking part in the politics of the UPSU, there is also an inevitable feeling of apathy. Final year students may (understandably) ask: “Why should I vote? I won’t be here next year.” Others may also ask: “How will the results of the SU elections affect me anyway? There’s no point in me voting.”

No doubt that, in the next few weeks, the UPSU will start trying to reverse such apathy. However, if you need any persuading as to why you should use your vote in the Student Elections, you need only switch on your television.

If you have watched the news this week, you will have seen the events of a referendum being held in Egypt. The referendum will decide whether or not a new constitution, drafted by the interim government and also one which greatly benefits the Egyptian military, will come into force in Egypt. Indeed, the news showed billboards urging voters to vote ‘Yes’, television adverts with the same message, and also queues of excited voters, excited to give their backing to the new constitution.

But, this is only half the story. There is also a large group of people who would say ‘No’ to the new constitution. Indeed, this group of people were the supporters of Egypt’s previous President, Mohammad Morsi. They too, will have been excited as the ‘Yes’ voters are, when their candidate won the (democratic, I hasten to add) Presidential Elections in June 2012.

However, Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian Army in July 2013; an event which was followed by anguish for those who had voted for him. It was felt that the fact that their democratically-elected President was ousted by the Army had reversed the progress towards democracy that the Egyptians had made in the first place. They will also feel aggrieved that the same powers that ousted their President, are the same powers that have written the draft constitution, and it will be the same powers that are entrenched in the Egyptian government should the new constitution be passed. The general consensus is that it will be.

“How is this relevant to the UPSU elections?”, I hear you ask. My response? These events are relevant to any vote, and not just the UPSU elections. These events act as reminders to us of just how lucky we are, in this election and also many others. Indeed, if your choice for the Union’s President wins this year, or even your choice for Prime Minister next year, he or she will not be overthrown by a coup soon after. It sounds far-fetched, but it certainly is not far-fetched to those who have experienced it.

Make the most of your vote, for you have the opportunity to do so, without fear of outside interference.


The place where we all return to.

The place where we all return.

Travelling to Paris for New Year’s Eve was a superb experience. Lots of photos were taken, lots of landmarks were marvelled at. However, one particular spot that caught my eye was this one by the River Seine, not far down from Notre Dame. In amongst a line of market stalls was this small commemorative plaque, saying: ‘On the 20th of August, 1944, Peacekeeper René Sitterlin died here for the liberation of Paris‘.

Without reading too much into the history of what happened, you already know that this is a special spot. This spot, commemorating a man who gave his life for his country, will hold a special place in his family’s heart, will remind some people about how times were less prosperous, and will also act as a reminder to his compatriots about just how much they owe to him and all the others who died in the line of service.

As such, this spot got me thinking. It made me think about how we all have a spot somewhere. It does not necessarily have to be a ‘favourite’ spot as such, but a spot where we stop and think about life. It might not have a plaque like above, it may not even be dedicated to someone special, but it is still our spot. We may go there to remember family, relive memories with friends, or simply just to think things through. Nevertheless, we go there because that place means something to us, and we go there to feel at peace.

My spot is a beach, about a mile away from my hometown. I find that while I am there, I always manage to think things through and put life into perspective. I have not been back there for a while, and I regret that. However, I still think of that place, and I plan on returning soon.

Do not misread me, I am not trying to equate a beach with a place where a man has died for his country. But what I am trying to say, is that we all have the place we return to when life takes a turn for the worse, as I do to that beach, and as I am sure that Mr. Sitterlin’s family do to this spot above.