Column: Costas Mourselas

I’m trying to look condescending. Is it working?

Hey you! No not you. The other person glancing over my column. You know, the one with the excellent career prospects, warm personality and good looks? Oh. Looks like they’ve stopped reading. Guess I’m stuck with you.

Well, since you’re still reading and not showing any signs of stopping, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Costas and I’m a third year PPE student. That stands for pretentious, patronizing and egocentric for those that don’t know.

You can spot this common breed on campus by looking for the edgy middle class person that tries to win politics or economics arguments by bringing up random philosophers in the wrong context. That should give you a rough idea of the kind of person I am.

Now that I’ve introduced myself, it’s your turn. What’s your name? Wow. What the hell were your parents thinking? That is a terrible name. I was going to ask you what you study, but you’ve put me off now.

Anyway, let me quickly outline how this whole thrice-termly column thing is going to work. Every few weeks, you’re going to open your handy dandy copy of York Vision, the finest student newspaper in the United Kingdom, and I’m going to bless you with little titbits of third year knowledge, while simultaneously insulting your career prospects (among other things) and employing the use of self deprecating humour.

In doing these things, I intend to make you think to yourself: “He’s a douchebag but he’s also kinda right.” If I fail to this end and you wish to complain, please email your reservations to [email protected] Don’t forget to include your credit card details. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this column shall we?

So, the new editors of the paper have declared that this edition must be ‘student focused.’ As such, if I fail to make this column about you (yes you), I will be banished to the icy tundra of Heslington East, a fate I very much wish to avoid. Seeing as my previous foray into student-based opinion revolved around freshers, I thought I’d make this particular piece about the plight of third years.

Now I know you’re about to stop reading because nobody cares about third years but for the sake of politeness, hear me out.
There is no easy way to say this, but third year is pretty shitty. Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now. Clearly it must be the unbearable work load. Or the fact that university is coming to an end for me. Or something of that nature. And you’d be wrong. I don’t have a huge amount to do and I’ve made peace with the fact that I will leave the comfortable womb of university life within the year.

What really bothers me is the incredibly condescending way with which first and second years treat you. Like a family treats a grandfather who is ‘on his way out’. Sure he’s going to die soon but treat him like a normal fucking human being until he’s gone, you know?

I was at the Derwent Ceilidh and upon discovering I was a third year, my dance partner recoiled and announced that she thought it was ‘quite creepy’. I’m 20 years old! That’s two gap yah’s older than most first years! I like to have fun too thank you very fucking much.
While I wish this was an isolated incident, societies seem to give third years the same treatment. Two society welcome posts on Facebook proclaimed: “even third years are welcome!”. You can play monopoly too Grandpa!

While being viewed as an irrelevant old creep has its downsides, there are certain perks. A minority of people do shut up and listen when third years talk, as they should. I’ve essentially grown a proverbial beard of wisdom. And I do mean that in a purely metaphorical sense; I couldn’t grow a beard to save my life.

But, as I was saying, whether or not first or second years like to admit it, I’ve been around for a while. And while I may have resigned myself to the idea that I will be gone soon, I just wanted to bestow that little bit of third year wisdom that comes with the benefit of hindsight.

Chill the fuck out about societies. It is true that a small minority of societies are influential enough to help with job prospects in the future. But ultimately, that’s not why many students go for executive positions. It’s the delusion of power and respect from their peers.
Those in committee positions like to deny this, but the amount of times people have introduced themselves to me as ‘chair of x society’ is ridiculous. It’s the same reason people put their committee position on their Facebook profile.

So I guess the message I’m trying to get through to you, dear reader, is to put things into a little bit of perspective. It’s very easy for freshers to think that graduation is ‘ages away’, but trust me, it’s not.

Ultimately, any respect or esteem you accumulate during your time at university is fleeting and irrelevant. Join the societies you’re interested in and have fun. But please, don’t have the delusions of grandeur normally reserved for 18th Century princes and student journalists.

economics building
Definitely not inept.


The rumblings of a new free speech society emerging have been felt across campus. The as-yet unratified group say they hope to deal with alleged censorship of media societies and the unaccountability of decisions made by YUSU.

Of course, the raison d’être (that’s ‘reason for existence’ for those of you that don’t study PPE*) of the society has been called into question, as YUSU has never and will never censor articles.

As a writer for some of York’s media societies, I must profess that my article reviewing the YUSU Sabbatical Officers last year was certainly not censored to such an extreme degree that the page was practically empty.

Furthermore, I would like to stress that my article about the ineptness of the economics department was not altered and scrutinized for being a “welfare issue”.

And even if YUSU did exercise its censorship powers, abuse of its power would be impossible, thanks to the robust system of checks and balances that exist in the organization.

So if you want to join a society that’s trying to solve a problem that does not exist, feel free to sign up.


*I told you PPE stood for Pretentious, Patronizing and Egocentric.

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