Coffee Shop Talks

…in which fails spectacularly to talk about coffee

Image: Harriet Cheshire

Image: Harriet Cheshire

Practically every new columnist struggles to know what to write about. I am no different. With that in mind I turned to an issue of simplicity and relevance: Freshers.

This whole column is based on the idea that I will review various coffee shops around York, of which there are many, while offering some mildly pessimistic advice/comment on a topic of choice.
With the scene set, let us begin.

You may expect me to write about how fun Freshers’ Week is, or to offer some advice for these people we call ‘freshers’. I have no such intention because I simply do not care. Freshers, try to stay safe and have fun. There. Done. Now let’s get onto business.

‘To STYC’. This, a verb that belongs in the depths of York jargon. Alongside other such stains on the English language as ‘Derwent’ or ‘Central Hall’, the York-only verb sends shivers down many second and third years’ spines.

You see, this year I decided it would be wise to be a Head STYC, which I ought to state has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. It has also been a week in which I have been sleep deprived, seriously undernourished (for a man who usually scoffs two brownies in a day at least) and dubbed ‘bus-man Ben’ by half of my college’s freshers. A name which I can’t exactly complain about: after all my childhood dream job was to be a bus driver.

I have been vomited on. I have been to hospital. I have chased after some very drunk people. Indeed, I have felt remotely responsible. But, as I sit at my desk, which is perhaps the best place for anyone to consume coffee, I have had an epiphany. It’s all been worth it.

When I decided to write about my time as a Head STYC, I had a genuinely huge array of truly horrid experiences that I could have shared with you, good reader. I could have easily fuelled my pessimism and general distaste of anything fun and whinged about having to be responsible.

But moving people into the next chapter of their lives and ensuring they didn’t get lost roaming around the great historical walls of Eboracum has been a mildly therapeutic activity for the soul.
One may argue it has allowed me to appreciate, in hindsight, the amazing work that STYCs and others put into my own Freshers’ Week.

So while I’m in a positive mood, let me say this: freshers, if you see a sleepy looking second or third year, it’s probably because they’ve been out getting too pissed or working ridiculously late.
But maybe, just maybe, they were on the front line we call Freshers’ Week. Show them some appreciation and make sure you have an amazing first year, otherwise what would the vomit and ambulances all be for?

Oh, and by the way, Gatehouse coffee shop at the bottom of Hull Road is a great place to escape to write your columns when you’re definitely late and hiding from your editors.

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