How To: Get Things Wrong

Whether you’re in your first or fourth year in the marathon pursuit of that prized ‘master’s’ degree, there will undoubtedly be times where you get it wrong.

1. A favourite and guaranteed way to start your day off wrong, is the classic error of mistiming. We all fall guilty of slapping our phone screens in the morning in search of the holy grail – the ‘snooze’ button. This comes swiftly after going full-rager at the audacity of being woken up by the world’s most aggressive radar at the ripe hour of 9 am, regardless of the fact we planned it the night before. The old phrase ‘another five minutes won’t hurt’ gets some serious airtime in student digs across Edinburgh and sets the tone of lateness early on. After crawling out of bed 5 (or actually 8) minutes later, you scramble to get dressed and head to the kitchen for a cup of instant coffee that is like a drug at this time of the morning. After faffing about some more trying to squeeze the last drop of toothpaste out the tube, you walk out the door only approximately 6 minutes behind schedule. Now, you may be thinking ‘what a win’ – because yes, it could have been 20 minutes – however, what you forget to consider is the iron-man-esque walk into uni that lies ahead. Whether you are a 25 or 10 minute walk away, that 6 minute delay ensures you a spot in the race. Realising you will be late, you march along the streets, heart pumping, ripping layers off left, right and centre. Unfortunately, the result of such endeavours is you arriving awkwardly (not fashionably) late as a red-faced, hot mess. Funnily enough that Calvin Klein model of a classmate still hasn’t given you a look in.

2. Another example of what not to do in Edinburgh comes into play by the sea. For those who love a refreshing dip or those who prefer the chips and ice cream stalls, Portobello beach doesn’t disappoint. However, should you choose to engage in cryotherapy and spontaneously sprint into the water, I implore you to check for a towel. This process is not dissimilar to checking you have your passport before going to the airport, as it also ensures safe onward travel. Forgetting your towel will only cause you grief. You exit the water after your spur of the moment swim, burning chest and bloodshot eyes in tow, to find yourself in a tricky situation. With your underwear soaked, remaining clothes covered in beach debris, and lack of a towel, you quickly realise the gravity of the situation as hypothermia sets in and you opt for the sad-looking advance party back. Should you attempt to put your sandy feet back into your trainers, you may at least experience a pedicure-like treatment from the exfoliating effect of gritty sand, possibly the only silver lining in this situation.

3. The weekly food shop: love it or hate it, do it or don’t, is always bound to incur some issues. Lidl lovers alike listen up – this one’s for you. Whilst it is harder to go wrong with the weekly shop, you may still run into trouble. Getting overexcited in store usually results in 2 bags of salad that will disintegrate in your fridge’s vegetable drawer, and a bag of sweet potatoes so large that you are forced to carbo-load for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although, the main issue here is transporting the goods home. Walking along Nicholson Street with 3 Lidl bags shows who is pure bicep and tricep, and who definitely is not. To avoid any pulled muscles and to mix up your meals, you may opt for the shop as you go option. This seems like a brilliant idea, the ease of popping into the shop after uni and grabbing what you fancy on your way home. No, no, no, don’t be such a fool.

You will most likely arrive into Lidl to be hit by a crowd so large it’s as though Chris Martin is performing his final tour show in the dairy aisle. Looking to buy some mince and tinned tomatoes for your spag bol, you weave through the crowds, displaying a serious RBF. Luckily, with all of your two items, at least you should be out of there in no time. Think again. The queue for checkout is another obstacle in your path, snaking around the entirety of Lidl’s floorplan. The RBF has now become a permanent feature with a dash of hanger thrown in for good measure. At this stage, it wouldn’t be surprising for one to sack off the shop all together and settle for a sweet potato for dinner, as you can bet on your mum’s life you’ve got one knocking around the cupboard somewhere.

(Not) being dramatic, Edinburgh can be a minefield, but it is the probationary period of proper adulting and getting it wrong is a crucial part of knowing how to get it right. So, watch your step, or don’t, it will all work out.

Photo credit: “Wrong Way Signs” by Arizona Department of Transportationis licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.