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Conor Scrivener

by Sophie

Life without Facebook?

Conor Scrivener relives his time without Facebook during the exam period.

Procrastination: the most common form of revision. We all take it up with exams approaching, whether we know we are doing it or not.

With all the technology that’s around for us to use, the internet is a much easier revision tool for us than it was thirty years ago. Without computers and the internet, long hours reading up through books in the library were vital to get any degree classification, let alone a good one.

Now, a quick search on Google or reading through a page on Wikipedia can help you understand and learn bits of the course you had previously missed or just not understood the first time around in lectures.

However one of the biggest, if not the biggest, distractions from revision is that little social networking site that most of us get withdrawal symptoms from if we don’t check it for an hour.

Facebook is certainly a virus to revision, the work of the devil tempting you with such fun things as being able to stalk your friends and play Farmville, rather than reading that chapter of a book or writing out revision notes.

Facebook have now put in the Profile Pausing feature, whereby your account is temporarily shut down. However, this is easily rectified by simply logging back into your account and resetting it via an email, and so isn’t really an impregnable barrier which is going to stop you if you really want to use Facebook.

A better solution is a tactic that I have taken up for the past six weeks. The solution to this great temptation is actually as simple as making a cup of tea. Firstly, find a willing and trustworthy friend. Secondly, give them your password. Thirdly, tell them to change it. It really is as simple as that!

By doing this, you can’t get on your account and won’t be bowing down to the temptations when you should be doing past papers. You won’t be up till 2am talking to friends on chat about wanting to go to bed and refreshing the homepage every five minutes in the hope something new and exciting has happened.

Now, there is a risk involved your friend will ‘frape’ you numerous times, which may involve changing your sex, putting your birthday as 01/01/1900 so you are 111 years old or putting that your favourite music is a combination of Jedward, Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black.

But the password-changing tactic works better as just that, an exchange where you get your friend’s details too. Then if they do vandalise your account, you have the tools to get them back, even worse than they ‘fraped’ you.

With this, the biggest and main distraction from revision out of the way until your exams are over with, that leaves you to carry on with all other methods of procrastination. Watching Jeremy Kyle, Bargain Hunt and Come Dine With Me never seemed so good.

This article was published in Pendragon, Summer Term Issue Two.


Couldn’t catch a bus.

Conor Scrivener struggles to come to terms with the University’s ever-changing bus routes.

Buses: without them we couldn’t really do much, as students away from home and the vast majority of us being without cars. Speaking first hand as somebody in a band, getting equipment to gigs would be a serious difficulty without buses – although Sainsbury’s trolleys do come in quite useful.

The buses are needed for those of us who live off campus; without them the A6 would be one giant cycle lane. However, the ever-changing location of bus stops on campus is a real hassle. If you don’t use the buses every day, the shock of bus stops moving momentarily can cause frantic panicking.

Throughout my first year here, there was a big campaign to get a bus route up into County. This was primarily to help disabled students get nearer their houses to be dropped off, but also students carrying shopping wouldn’t have to carry it as far. So when we returned in October to find that our wishes had become a reality, everyone was happy. Even if the bus was a 2A, you would put up with that extra ten minutes on your journey just to get dropped off closer.

When the Underpass was shut and the bus routes transformed yet again last term, it was a surprise to see that the route to County had been taken away. Even the bus drivers were surprised, with at least one having to do a three-point turn after he had driven past the Chaplaincy Centre. Also, with no direct pathway through to County from the Chaplaincy Centre, it means having to negotiate the uneasy, uncomfortable place that is Bowland College.

The sooner the Underpass is completed the better, provided the route round to County is back in place, as it is such a helpful and useful thing for all members of County and students from across campus too.

This article was published in Pendragon, Summer Term Issue One.


Lancaster University… the longest-running building site in history?

Conor Scrivener struggles to repress his urge to steal traffic cones.

It has to be. In the year and a half I have been studying here, building work has been commonplace. We’ve had the LICA building and County South renovation just in our college, not forgetting all the work around campus such as in Alexandra Square, the Underpass, the new Sports Centre and many more.

Now I suppose we shouldn’t moan too much about this; at the end of the day we are getting better quality facilities, which can only benefit our study here and help us through university.

However, the work disrupts such simple daily tasks as walking to a lecture or a trip to Spar. Having to negotiate an ever-changing route through Alex’ Square or evade random bits of scaffolding on the Spine can mean having to get out of bed an extra ten minutes before you normally would. I’m sure you agree that longer in bed will make you less tired and more productive in lectures?

By far the biggest problem though, is something quite immature that I’m sure we all have an urge to do. Enhanced by a drop or two of alcohol, the cones, signs and anything else left on-site, look like ideal trophies and mementos of your time spent at university; they’re seen as something to brag about to mates. But taking these things is illegal, and you can face quite large fines, not forgetting a possible criminal record. But who at the time has actually considered that? Unless you are caught by the police that is (he speaks from experience – Ed.).

So as much as the building work causes disruption to many things on campus, from a walk down the Spine to having to get wet while you catch the bus in the rain, it’s having to repress the urges of the inner child to take things that don’t belong to you that causes us as students the biggest problem.

This article was published in Pendragon, Lent Term Issue Two.


County Wonderland?

Conor Scrivener blames Lancaster’s weather for the repression of our inner children.

Lancaster actually does have its own micro-climate.

When the rest of the UK – from top to bottom – had its worst snowfall for years, Lancaster had, well, nothing. Nothing, apart from what is best described as icing sugar on a cake. This still allowed the city, where traffic is horrific at the best of times, to carry on functioning in a normal manner. By normal, I mean a standstill even at the quiet times of the day. However, for the children of the place (or students as we’re otherwise known) there were no real snowball fights, sledging or snowman-building as if we were eight again. Not that big a problem, until you notice friends’ Facebook updates about how good snow is elsewhere; then the jealousy kicks in.

Now at our age, we can understand the problems and disruption the winter conditions cause, which we couldn’t at eight. The weekend before the end of term saw particularly bad snow; I suspect many parents got stuck for a long time, or weren’t able to make the journey at all. This gives a sense of what your parents where on about when they said that they hated snow, and you thought they were mad. At university, the inner child wants to get out and have fun, but the Lancaster micro-climate always ruins that prospect.

A huge snowfall would have brought delight to most of us, with the prospect of lecturers stuck at home, even exams being cancelled and deadlines extended, but more importantly because of that chance to roll around in the snow making snow angels.

This article was published in Pendragon, Lent Term Issue One