21 Ways to Forever Retain Your Inner Child

This article was originally published in Impact Magazine in June 2011. See it at http://www.impactnottingham.com/2011/06/21-ways-to-retain-your-inner-child/

I turn 21 today, like many have done, and I am confronted with the fact that I will be officially entering adultdom. There is no turning back. I have witnessed the years gradually speeding past me, through the wonder-years of being a teenager and then the twilight years of nineteen and ‘twenteen’. Now, I will have to face up to my responsibilities. However, I do feel that student life presents a sort of limbo between childhood and adulthood, between responsibility and carefree joy, between the real world and the world of blissful abandon. Students and children have a remarkable amount of things in common, and students seem to do well at embracing their borrowed time in childhood. Whatever your age, here are my ways in which students never lose their inner child.

Making a den:
This is the protocol for students living together for the first time. Take some sheets and blankets. Drape them across the chairs and tables; crawl underneath and voilà, you have your den. NB. you must eat/play/sleep in the den for at least a couple of days in order to appreciate its full beauty. An entry password is also recommended.

Having a food fight/ water fight/ snowball fightComplete with team tactics, ‘base-points’, shelters and an HQ.

Eating nothing but sweets and chocolate all day, every day
Just because you can

Getting naked as much as possible
Fairly self-explanatory.

Soiling yourself
Students tend to achieve this without actually trying to, surprisingly.

 Forever enjoying playgrounds, and rushing to be the first one on the slide, roundabout and swings
(even if your feet drag on the floor).

Still enjoying Smilies, fish-fingers and alphabet-spaghetti
(though this may be the extent of some student’s cooking repertoire anyway).

Crying/throwing a tantrum
The reasons for this may have changed from bodily responses such as hunger to drunkenly losing your eyelash-curlers in a club.

Drinking out of a bottle
Not really recommended, although some ‘classy-birds’ out there swapped their milk for Lambrini many moons ago.

Wearing a onesie
Enough said.

Deploying the almighty mattress-slide
The mattress-slide is the paragon of student childishness. Simply take a mattress (or two, depending on how long your staircase is) and place it over the stairs, creating a super-slide. If you want to create a proper assault-course out of your home, tie a rope/dressing-gown cord to the top of the banister and use it to ‘climb’ up and slide down again. May also be used in conjunction with the den. NB. Impact will not accept the responsibility for any part of your house breaking as a result of this activity.

‘Decorating’ your house/flat
Some students are mature and have refined tastes; some have ogres for landlords, and some wreak havoc on their homes, so your mileage on the definition of ‘decorating’ may vary. Choices of ‘decor’ include graffiti and outlandish murals.

Sleeping all day and being awake all night
For a reason, insert all nighter/intoxication/laziness here.

Getting excited about the smallest thing
Whether it’s finally learning to tie your own shoelaces or finally managing to take your shoes off after a night out.

Dancing on the sofa and jumping on the bed
(like no one is watching)

Watching Disney videos/ Nickelodeon/CBBC
because your alcohol-saturated brain can’t take anything more mentally strenuous.

Still needing a cuddle, a pat on the head, or being ‘tucked in’ to bed every now and again
It just feels nice…

Dressing up in fancy-dress
Students appear to have superseded children in the fancy-dress stakes, dressing up for any occasion, whether this be a bar-crawl or your mate’s sister’s cousin’s flat-mate’s work do.

Playing endless games of hide and seek, tag and spin-the-bottle
There seems to be no shame in playing these games, and if the hide-and-seek was instigated by your dribblingly drunken friend and the spin-the-bottle then leads to a highly regrettable one-night-stand, well, then so be it.

Happily indulging in parties which feature jelly, balloons and musical bumps
Admittedly, some student’s parties feature vodka jelly, ‘noz’ balloons and the musical ‘bumps’ of people falling over, but other students engage quite happily in the more wholesome variety. So there you go.

Camping in the garden
The novelty never dies. Except when, after a few beers, your super-cool ‘roof sunbathing’ ends in tears.


From Blogrolls to Sphinn Apps

As I make my first tentative foray into the world of blogging, I know what I’m up against, and the odds aren’t stacked in my favour. As of 16th February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence, so as I start out, this blog from little old me is just a drop in the ocean. Secondly, several studies show that most blogs are abandoned after they’re created (some 60%-80%, according to various internet sources) and that few are regularly updated. In fact, the ‘blogosphere’ is often referred to as an iceberg: several popular blogs which are updated regularly and viewed by thousands, and then millions more which are dead or dormant. I’m in the largest demographic of bloggers (53.3% are aged between 21-35) but as a UK blogger I am dwarfed by those in America: 29.22% of the blogosphere is composed of US bloggers compared to  the 6.75% British (followed by a measly 4.88% in Japan and 4.19% in Brazil).


So, there’s an overcrowded platform, a high failure rate, extensive peer competition and I’m in a minority global demographic…it doesn’t exactly scream ‘Success!’. Still, it’s not all bad news. Blogging has single-handedly changed the face of journalism and the media, and has allowed grassroots journalism to flourish, giving people anywhere a vehicle to express an opinion and showcase their writing. New Media has had print journalism quaking in its boots for a good few years now, and has forced it to innovate, progress, and generally keep up with the pace, but before the old Fleet Street hacks hang up their hats, one indelible fact remains: the good thing about blogging is that anyone can be a journalist; the bad thing about blogging is that anyone can be a journalist.

There are far too many blogs out there which feature posts such as ‘One day I decided to feed my cat’ or ‘It rained for a bit so I took out my umbrella’; in short, those millions of blogs which lurk in the murky depths beneath the tip of the iceberg. I intend with this blog to be the latter part of the blogging iceberg, but only the incorrigible number of website hits will be the judge of that.

I must confess a further impediment to my success as a blogger: I am literally the least computer-  and technology-literate person ever, with most of the middle-aged population putting me to shame. I’ve only just really grasped what ‘streaming’ and ‘buffering’ are, I’m still amazed at the print-screen function on a computer, I don’t know the keyboard shortcut for copy+paste and I need supervision and guided assistance when downloading anything. In short, when faced with a technological issue, I panic and go running to the nearest friend for help with “this computer thing”, so entering this fast-paced and high-tech arena is for me like being a baby chick who’s just emerged from her shell, blinking and fragile and unused to the world around her.

In my defence, the lexicon of the internet and today’s technology is enough to send even the most foolhardy of prospective techies running for cover. I’ve had to get my head around widgets and gadgets, around Digg, Sphinn and Blogspot, around avatars and Androids and wifis and wikis. Then there’s blogs, blogrolls and the blogosphere and Twitter, tweeting and the Twitterverse, along with Tumblr and Flickr (what happened to the humble ‘e’?). Finally there’s feeds, podcasts and hashtags, not forgetting all the countless logs, tags, apps and any number of seemingly gobbledygook words that confirm that yes, tech-speak and the technological word is as intimidating as we had first feared.

Incidentally, what on earth was the hashtag even for for about twenty years? It used to be that defunct and useless button I’d mistakenly press on my Nokia keypad instead of ‘wxyz’, and now all of a sudden it’s had this nouveau resurgence in the twenty-first century, hustling its way into the Twitter glossary as an integral part of its functioning, and as such, making itself a household name.

So reader, I’ll cut to the chase: what will this blog be about? Time magazine, in its 25 Best Blogs of 2011, states that “a basic fact about blogging: the best way to show you love a topic isn’t to write it a love letter but to treat it in an uncompromising manner”. So, no more odes to blogging, but what I do love is writing, so this is what this blog will be: a well written divulgence of up to date news and uncompromising views, of insightful features and informative analysis, of anecdotal tales and investigative journalism.
This blog is the new hashtag. So watch this cyberspace.