A Victorian Guide
Students can get a bad press these days but have you ever wondered how students behaved during Victorian times? Wonder no more. The Fresher’s Don’t written by “A Sympathiser” is a guide for students of Cambridge University which dates back to 1893 and it provides a glimpse into student life in the nineteenth century. Among the advice for undergraduates at the then only male establishment is “not to get too familiar with the landlady’s daughter as she is probably more clever than you”; do not “speak to girls without introduction”; but apparently “With other men’s landlady’s daughters you may be less particular, but even then – take care.” The advice was not confined to dealing with the opposite sex, there were also guidelines for that favourite pastime of students…alcohol “Don’t attempt to keep every brand of wine under the sun. Most undergrads cannot distinguish ‘Bordeaux’ from ‘Burgundy’ if served in a decanter.” Perhaps that is not so relevant for today’s student but there was general advice that still applies today such as “Don’t let your residence in Cambridge cause you to assume superiority over others less fortunate” and “Always offer visitors a cup of tea.” Some advice is just timeless.