The 5 Types Of People To Avoid At University 

University can be a daunting prospect –trading in a life of laundry and nutrition for the Great Unknown. The one thing you can always count upon is that you have thousands of comrades in the same position – these mates you make early on will become invaluable as you make sense of those first bewildering weeks.

But where you’ll find diamonds, there will also be coal – sussing out the many new faces around you can be tough, so check out this handy guide to work out exactly who you DON’T want to find yourself rubbing shoulders with for the next three years.


1) The Aggressive Vegan

Who They Are:

Let us just get this one out of the way – university campuses appear to be the environment in which the Aggressive Vegan particularly flourishes.

Before you submit the #NotAllVegans think piece to The Guardian – this is not an attack on people who chose to remove animal products from their diet. To take up Veganism is a pure and wise decision, and such dedication should probably be recognised in some official capacity. (The Linda McCartney Award for Outstanding Public Service?)

But – as in all walks of life- veganism has an extremist faction which is giving all you lot a bad rep. The Al-quorn’ida if you like.

Where They Are:

Commonly observed prowling your dinner table for evidence of mealtime sin managing to impressively emulate both Sherlock Holmes and Gillian McKeith, searching far and wide for that dab of butter, the faintest whiff of cheese, a stray fish egg, the Aggressive Vegan has no qualms in publicly shaming your appetite whilst attempting to coerce you onto path of righteousness. Imagine Jim Jones but with added Quorn.


In desperate times such as these, with blood on your hands and plate, one must confront the Aggressive Vegan as you would a vampire. Substitute the crucifix for a medium- rare steak, ditch the garlic cloves (unless to go with a nice beef casserole) and run for your life.


2) The “Devil’s Advocate”

Who They Are:

Recognisable immediately by their family crest “but that’s not what I ACTUALLY think” the “Devil’s Advocate” enjoys nothing more than throwing a provocative opinion bomb into the conversation and then denying they believe it.

Of course university should be an environment in which your worldview is challenged and debate flourishes, but the modus operandi of the pretender Devil’s Advocate is instead to announce an offensive opinion and then hide under the shield of “not my view” when called out.  It’s a) disingenuous and b) pretty boring after a week.

Where Are They: 

The pub. Or Reddit.


Remember to genuinely be open to other people’s opinions – as much as the “Devil’s Advocate” is a pain, so is someone who refuses to accommodate differing views. And if you do have a certified fake Advocate in your life – listen, make vague grunting noises at various intervals and purge yourself with a Wikipedia article afterwards.


3) The Meninist

Who They Are:

The louder, slightly balding cousin of our “Devil’s Advocate” but actually far more dangerous – these guys genuinely mean what they say. A keen advocate for ‘Men’s Rights’ (working to ensure fairer custody hearings for fathers in a court which often favours the mother? Nope. Challenging the culture of toxic masculinity which facilitates suicide being the leading cause of death for men under 50? Shut the door on your way out. Shouting at women online? Activism!)

Topics of conversation with a fully paid up Meninist don’t stretch far beyond the pay gap being a conspiracy or the trauma of paying an extra fiver to get into Oceana when ladies go free.  Sprinkle a few “feminazis” on top and you have the recipe for a rough three years ahead.

Where They Are:

Online – spread over social media like an oil spill- is common breeding ground. Or joining their brothers in arms – the “Devils Advocates”- at the bar, ready and waiting to ruin your evening.


This can be a tricky tightrope to walk – it’s not always so easy to just block out your friendly neighbourhood activist. Facts and reasoning slip away like water off a duck.

Try to steady any conversation on the topic towards genuinely troubling aspects of masculinity (repression of emotion in order to retain “manliness”, the pressures of maintaining a certain body image, pretending to like beer) and hopefully a sense of perspective can be restored. Failing this, interrupt his monologue, say you need to use the toilet and climb out the nearest window.


4) The Gap Year One

Who They Are:

In a strange moment of writing-Inception, it’s become almost a cliché to include the cliché. But the ‘gap yarh’ guru is one so pervasive in campus culture, it would be doing all future fresher types a disservice to fail to highlight the danger they pose.

Often found ironically slumming it in the cheapest campus accommodation, The Gap Year One appears to have acquired an afternoon in Ankor Wok in place of a personality. No sunrise can ever match the one they witnessed over Cambodia, no walk ever as memorable as the one they took tight roping over an active volcano, no conversation as meaningful as when they were personally blessed by the Dali Llama whilst getting a henna tattoo.

Where They Are: 

Finding themselves on the shores of Koh Phi Phi. Harassing indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest. Every corner of the bloody globe if there to be believed. Or, just on your sofa watching Jeremy Kyle and eating crisps.


Much like a great white shark (which btw, they TOTALLY saw while scuba diving off the coast of Australia), the Gap Year One has acquired a slightly unfair reputation. Whilst initially annoying, your worldly companion will usually settle into a life of routine, bus fares and plumbing after a few weeks into University. Stick it out and wistfully day dream about the day you can afford to enter a de-programming facility to forget the words “volunteering” and “full moon party” ever existed.


5) The Couple

Who They Are:

Romeo and Juliet. Anthony and Cleopatra. Ross and Rachel. Err…. Ryan and Lucy? Much in the way that history is littered with couples whose romance has gripped the world, campus is filled with those who instead make us nauseous.

The Instagram collages celebrating their 3 and a half hours together, the frankly aggressive PDA  and, worst of all, the idea that not being someone’s ‘better half’ after day 2 of Fresher’s Week is some sort of prerequisite for a life of microwave meals and cat documentaries.

Where They Are: 

Instagram – documenting every candlelit Nandos. Or together in the corner of the students union, impressively recreating that Snake Attacks Then EATS Crocodile video you saw on YouTube earlier that afternoon.


Either grab yourself your own partner and engage in some Hunger Games style guerrilla warfare to topple their dominance as Campus Couple, or alternatively keep in mind that university is the time to invest in a number of relationships, not just the one.


Patrick Woodcock graduated from the University of Sussex in 2016 with a History degree. You can find him on Twitter at @p_trickwoodcock

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