Things you should stop saying at uni

Things you should stop saying at uni

I like to think that since last September, I’ve become a slightly better person. You know, more rounded, accepting and all that business, I really do think that, without meaning to sound a bit pretentious.

But, (and it’s a big but), I know that I can still be relatively cynical. And hypocritical. And occasionally a little bit of a dick. And because of that, there are one or two phrases which I’ve noticed floating around campuses across the country, by which I mean three different unis.

These phrases need to stop. If you don’t want to become part of that culture which you so passionately despise, start seeking to stamp out this terminology which somehow straddles the line between adolescence and adulthood.

I know there are more important things in your world, like how to budget the slim remnants of your student loan, or avoid eye-contact with that lady you tried to pull in your seminar on a course night-out, but for once, think of the greater-good; I mean, furthering your education is a laughably small matter when compared to judging someone on how many times they say ‘like’ in a single sentence.

You could always do what I do: carry a Nerf gun, and relentlessly shoot flatmates who utter one of these hellish phrases, until it becomes an extra from a Tarantino film. Below are the terms which you should always be on your guard for…


One simple quarrel with this one: Unless you don’t actually drink before you eventually arrive at your club or pub of choice, you will be drinking. ‘Pre-drinks’, often now shortened into the blood-curdling variant of ‘prinks’, sounds like you are preparing to drink, not actually drinking before you go out in order to save some money, seeing as you’re doing a night out for a tenner when entry is £4.

For those blissfully unaware of the term, ‘Pre-drinks’ could be some sort of sacrificial ritual in hopes of beckoning a good night out, or the equivalent of doing Mr. Motivator-esque stretches before the heavy drinking commences. Such confusion and misguided 90s references need to be prevented.

It may be much more effort to say, “We’re going round to Cassandra’s for drinks, before we go out and start drinking properly”, but at least it will be somewhat correct. And the world will think of you as a much better person.


This isn’t 2010. You’re not part of some scripted-reality ITV 3 show. You’re also not in the presence of all those such ‘stars’ from fresher’s week. So stop the ‘banter’, formerly known as the ability to have a bit of a confident conversation with someone which could be interpreted as slightly offensive to either parties involved.

So get of the ‘banter bus’, and remove your excessive ‘bants’, because you’re not on telly, apart from that one time you were in the background of news report and didn’t even realise it. Traditionally, ‘banter’ was the intelligent and witty conversations that two people had, not slight digs at each other which are overlooked for the sake of being slightly tipsy.

Even if you’re one of the ‘smarter’ ones, who only says it ironically, there is a limit to the use of the word and its comedic effect. Eventually, you’ll say it too much. One day, you’ll just become one with the ‘banterous’ masses, and no-one will know of your unfortunate social demise.

Oh yeah, and it’s also not an excuse to act like your drunk self does. ‘It was just banter’, has the same effect as someone saying, ‘I’m not racist, but…’ The phrase isn’t an invisible shield which renders you immune to judgement. If the ‘banter’ card is played, you’ll instantly get a giant sticker plastered on your forehead which reads ‘bit of a dick’.


Cheeky. Adjective. To be impudent and potentially audacious, with synonyms including ‘insolent’, ‘over-familiar’ and ‘disrespectful’. With that in mind, let’s have a quick look at some particular occasions which people often describe as ‘cheeky’, and see if their designations are up to scratch.

Going to Nando’s, McDonald’s, or any other form of restaurant; not necessarily cheeky.

Having a night out, or going to the gym, subsequently plastering the evidence all across social media: not cheeky whatsoever.

Placing a bet on whatever form of competitive sport you indulge in; nah, not really up to scratch.

Sorry to tell you, but these things just aren’t cheeky.

If everyone feels the need to make themselves seem more daring, and that their lives are far more adventurous, exciting and daring than they let on, then I feel like the young adults of Britain seem to have a huge issue with accepting the reality of their lives.

I mean, I occasionally swap the order of which I have a shower and breakfast in the morning, but despite the over-whelming nature of that change, I still don’t apply the prefix of ‘cheeky’ when posting about it on Facebook.


A lot of the issues with the ‘Tactical’ prefix can also be seen with the similarly irritating ‘Cheeky’ variant. But, what makes this one much worse is how it is often used as an excuse. It’s like some mad linguistic monster mashed together ‘banter’ and ‘cheeky’ and got this following abomination.

Excuses paired with this saying can vary from the relatively harmless, to the somewhat sexist. A ‘tactical chunder’ is a key favourite, suggesting that said person was intentionally sick, with the hopes of then continuing drinking, or sobering up. Ninety percent of the time, the ‘tactical’ aspect of said vomiting session can be questioned; you were sick. You didn’t mean to be sick, stop pretending you were.

But this can also get a bit more disgusting. Granted, being sick is fairly tragic, but when the lads (another term which was on the shortlist), start attaching ‘tactical’ to their attempts to pull, that’s when things get a bit questionable. Trying to openly pull is somewhat fine. However, when it becomes a ‘tactical pull’, it seems like the sought-after women are being devalued further.

Also it sounds a bit like another term for ‘tactical wank’, which only causes confusion.

Other tactical, (and mostly student-related things), include a ‘tactical TMI’, a ‘tactical tug’, and even ‘tactical Tupperware’, although the last is much more prominent in America.


What a way to show how obsessed everyone is with social media and technology. If being glued to a screen all day long isn’t enough, (I recognise the irony of myself saying that while typing this up), then why not start using social shorthand in real life? Start with the occasional ‘LOL’, and if you can withstand all the dirty looks and subtle tutting, then you could work your way up to telling people a story of someone who was sick in your flat last night, topping it off with “Oh my god, hashtag vile”

Luckily enough, just as with other terms which were coined online, this seems to be dying out. But one fairly unique problem with ‘hashtag’, was that its use online was only heightened. Mundane posts about someone’s day were only made more annoying due to a fountain of tags. A photo of a lady at a bus stop would have on average, 18 hashtags attached to it, consisting of repeated phrases and passive-aggressive jabs at public transport.

I don’t know if I should have put this one on the list, I mean I’m hard-pressed to find something else which has encouraged so many people to pretend to care, or has allowed so many people to believe they’re being social activists in the laziest manner possible.

Singing any Disney song, for any duration, and at any time of day

Pack it in, you’re not 6 anymore. And you’re not even drunk.


Err. No.

This is one of the main offenders of grammatical misuse. I appreciate that you want to emphasise something, but this just isn’t the way to do it, ladies and gents.

Bad hangover? You must “literally feel like death”. I’m sure you would “literally kill for a kebab”, but considering it’s been a good 5 months now, and you still haven’t been accused of multiple counts of murder, I’m starting to think that you’re using the term incorrectly.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s hardly as bad as ‘banter’ or ‘tactical’, but after such verbal misuse, I cannot take you seriously after saying that are you are literally going to die for what seems like the 40th time.

Just like PSY’s music, it’s been used so much that it’s faded into cultural memory. And hopefully that’ll happen with the rest of the terms on this rant-fuelled list.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just that for a place which is meant to represent some of the most progressive and forward-thinking young people in the country, for a fair few, that image is immediately shattered when they open their mouths.

But I suppose I can’t really say anything. I’ve been guilty of saying these ‘ironically’, but to some people that’ll make no difference whatsoever. Regardless, a lot flatmates will continue to be shot with foam bullets into the foreseeable future, or until those phrases die down.

Photo Credit: mazzyolmeda via Flickr

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Currently attempting English at the University of Lincoln. I also apparently sound like I know what I'm on about...

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