Picture this: I’m lounging on the red velvet sofas of Park End, gazing at the club-goers dancing energetically below me, Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ is blaring over the speakers. I reach over and take out the litre of Smirnoff from the ice bucket and drink some straight; it’s free and somehow this makes it taste a thousand times better, bearable even. A group try to smuggle their way into our VIP area, but the bouncer blocks their path. I feel smug. I laugh a little even. But then I remember that I had to sell my soul to be here.
So let’s talk about being a club rep. To be specific: the woes of being a club rep. I was recruited by a third year, who spun me a tale of outrageous partying, ludicrous funding and instant BNOC status. The bright-eyed fresher that I was accepted this offer of instant glory. After all, at a university where you’re prohibited from having a job, the proposition of easy money and low commitment is tantalisingly tempting. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would come at the small cost of my integrity and pride.
Normally, there’s around three reps per college for Encore Events (they promote some of your favourite nights at Atik, Fever and JT’s), and one or two for Varsity Events (who host the legendary Bridge Thursday and Fridays at Emporium).
Unfortunately I’m a lone rep. This means I’m everybody’s port of call from morning to midnight. I alone get to experience the joys of organising tickets for events like Matriculation, Torpids, alongside crewdates and other sports socials, all on top of the standard weekly student nights. As you can imagine, my degree has become somewhat neglected.
If you are lucky enough to be in a group of reps, you can share the work. The downside of this however is being subjected to an intense rivalry between reps for sales, and the humiliating revelation of who people from your college would rather give their money to.
Sounds fun, right? Well, here’s what the typical shame-fuelled night out as a rep looks like:
It’s 9pm on a Wednesday and you still have over half your Fuzzy Ducks tickets left. You dash from the bar to pres and back to the bar again, envelope and cash in hand as you cajole and coax anyone you can into buying a ticket. “Yes, it includes queue jump! Yes, it’s completely valid after eleven o’ clock!” You sell one. They hand you a fiver. You realise you’ve babbled humiliatingly and hysterically for ten minutes, all for a commission of fifty pence.
At 10pm, your phone buzzes, you glance at the screen and your heart drops: Hey, do you mind doing a post on your JCR Noticeboard for tonight’s event? :). You ponder what you value more, the potential of a free bottle of vodka, or your integrity and public image? Vodka usually wins.
It’s now midnight. You’ve already sauntered past the streaming queues, before being guided to your VIP booth for the night and given your litre of vodka. This is only if you are fortunate to have such good relations with your employers. The truth is that the majority of reps will never experience this.
It’s 1am and you’re now dancing vigorously in your small and exclusive circle. Yet you still envy all the regular club goers, on the regular dance floor, who are able to enjoy a regular night out without feeling haunted by the actions that have led them there. You try to ignore this feeling – Jägerbombs are pretty good at helping with this.
You dance until closing. On the way back, as the other reps are passing around a joint, you decide it’s a good idea to jump into the canal. You get your Hassans, freezing to death in your sopping wet clothes. Hassan knows you by name now, you’re a loyal regular. A minimum of four nights out a week kind of regular. Four nights all resembling the above in some way.
But it’s hard to stop when you have an entire college depending on you.