It is that time of the year again. When the traditional meets the insane, the irrational meets the logical, and when students meet the sea. Yes, it’s May Dip. For some ridiculous reason, we throw ourselves into the North Sea. A sea that is still recovering from a cold winter, waiting to embrace all the warm bodies that will soon enter it. Of course, it’s supposed to be symbolic – washing away our academic sins before embarking on exams – but even then, man, the things we do for this university. And yet, a generational discussion always occurs at this time of the year throughout all the years of this university. To take a chilled approach, or go for it. To be sensible about outerwear and your swimsuit or to not give a fuck and just turn up and strip off. And, possibly the most heated of questions, to nap, or not to nap? It is a hotly debated question that cannot really be answered properly.
Instead, it must be asked what type of May Dip you’d like to have? As was true in a series of articles last semester written about sobriety during Raisin Sunday, both sides of the question have their pros and cons and are entirely dependent on the sort of May Dip experience you’d like to have. It is universally acknowledged that Freshers usually go the route of no nap, staying up by all means possible to greet the rising sun with eternal gratitude after a treacherous night of avoiding comfortable sofas and beds at house parties. All you crazy kids won’t nap. You’ve never done May Dip before so why would you be sensible and look ahead? You should have a nice relaxing late evening and mentally prepare yourself over a pizza. Then, begin the pre-ing and this is where strategy really comes into it. It is imperative, and if this is the only piece of advice that you get out of this article today, is to pace yourself.
Too many valiantly enthusiastic freshers have fallen around the most difficult of hours in the morning (the dreaded 3 am) succumbing to too much alcohol and too much movement. Unless you’re a horse and can withstand a full five hours of sustained drinking, start late and aim to peak around at 3 or 4 am. Enjoy a movie night with friends until midnight and then let the games begin! Looking back, I don’t know how I got through my May Dip last year. It was a night of wandering around Market Street, attending parties that then got shut down an hour later, wandering on to find another. On retreating back to my halls, we started our own party, which promptly, minute after minute, hour after hour, descended into “what we can do to keep everyone else awake.”
One vivid memory that will always remain is dancing along to Fancy by Iggy Azalea whilst coming down from a cider drunkenness that never seems to last that long. Damn bubbles. I made it, barely, I remember nearly succumbing to the waves of sleep around 4:30 am, and I was thankful that my friends and I managed to make it down to the beach. This year I plan to take a different approach. I plan to nap. But again, this should be a tactful nap, and used with care. Those well-rehearsed in the art of napping will know that there is a certain skill in making sure that you wake up feeling refreshed rather than sleepier than before you went to sleep.
For those who may want to just sleep the night away and wake up ready to go at 5, I’m jealous. But I may just nap so as to still enjoy the hallucination-esque events that always occur in the early morning hours of the 1 May. It is said that you should limit your naps to less than 45 minutes in order to not fall into a REM cycle. However, for the long nappers, it is advisable that you sleep for more than 90 minutes so as to complete a full REM cycle and wake up raring to go unlike those crazed sleep-deprived students hanging by a thread.
What must be stressed is the fact that you absolutely cannot miss this event. May Dip and Raisin hold hands in being the most celebrated traditional and unique events at this university, and falling asleep or not making it is simply not an excuse. For Freshers embarking on your first May Dip, embrace the sand in awkward places, the myriad of naked fourth years running into the North Sea and remember that you may have to queue for showers when you get into halls. But you’ll have a fabulous time, so don’t miss it.