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Society bible lectures students on etiquette

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As another crop of 18-year-olds heads to college for the first time, University towns across the land are bracing themselves for the bacchanalian orgy known as freshers' week.

Thankfully, any parents worried that their nearest and dearest are going to fall prey to the Rugby Club's front row or end up flogging copies of Socialist Worker on Saturday mornings might do worse than to point their offspring towards society and etiquette experts Debretts' list of pointers on Freshers Etiquette.

Debretts top tips include: "Introduce yourself to strangers at parties. Everyone is in the same boat, so don't worry about making the first move."

Once the ice is broken, Freshers should "Listen to what other people tell you, and ask questions. Conversation is likely to be about A-level results, school, courses and gap years." Well, that's five minutes sorted, before a rapid degeneration into moaning about student loan delays, debating classic TV programmes, and bitching about newly acquired flatmates/classmates.

Things do get a bit confusing at this point. One the one hand, students are advised to "Be social. Operate an open door policy when you move into your halls."

Sounds good to us, but before you know, Debretts is being all prim and proper, suggesting that "While it's good to be open to new experiences, exercise a little caution. You may end up doing something in freshers' week that will haunt you for the next three years.

Which is a politer way of expressing number seven: "Away from parental and school supervision, hormones will run high. Make sure you're not the talk of the campus."

All good stuff, if slightly generalist - we can't help thinking that there's some etiquette points that geeks in training may want to consider. Perhaps advice to flush your cache and history list before letting potential romantic interests use your PC would be pertinent. Also, it might be good to point out that going to the Freshers Ball as your SecondLife avatar is unlikely to make it a night to remember - not for you anyway.

The full list is here

If you've got any other advice for the younger generation, you know where to stick it. ®

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