I spent two weeks in the same pants

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

ca­reer at Bal­liol Col­lege, Ox­ford. My trunk fol­lowed by rail — ex­cept that it didn’t. I spent a fort­night in the same un­der­wear.

Oh the dis­as­ters! The bath­rooms were so cold you had to un­dress in the steam. I couldn’t or­gan­ise a gown so missed ma­tric­u­la­tion. Hated Ja­cob Bur­ck­hardt so failed Ger­man pre­lims. Got into the pol­i­tics so much that I missed ev­ery­thing else.

A psy­chol­o­gist would prob­a­bly de­cide I was try­ing to get chucked out. And I was.

There were desul­tory ef­forts to help me out, but at 19 I was deemed a big boy and no-one would dig me out of my own hole.

Then, off to Manch­ester where I ended up with the in­spir­ing (now Sir) Ian Ker­shaw as tu­tor and a good de­gree.

My tips for new stu­dents — in­clud­ing my el­dest daugh­ter — even things that seem dis­as­trous usu­ally aren’t. Take up run­ning and do not take up smok­ing. Do a bit of pol­i­tics, if you like, but not at the ex­pense of art, cul­ture and lec­tures. An­tic­i­pate the vis­its of the Chris­tian So­ci­ety by mug­ging up on your Dawkins or your Bi­ble. It is ex­traor­di­nary how lit­tle they know about their own re­li­gion. David Aaronovitch is an au­thor, broad­caster and JC colum­nist

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