St John's demonstrating that the Cambridge's competitive spirit extends to bridge-buildingCharmaine Au-Yeung for Varsity

Lotte: The worst Cambridge Flex is telling people you go to Cambridge. This is not a flex. Yes, you’re academically probably quite smart – we get it. But going to Cambridge is not a substitute for a personality. Also, it is way more interesting to simply be yourself, get some hobbies and/or opinions and make these the things that people know about you. Or even a fun visual identifier: pierce your nose! Dye your hair! Get a tattoo of a frog! They can find out you go to Cambridge throughout a natural conversation – not as a substitute for your name. Don’t shove it down the throats of a stranger at first meeting. It’s embarrassing. Non-Cambridge people don’t care that you go here, they are ambivalent about it at best. Worst case they’ll find you to be boasting. Let your interests do the talking and stop hiding behind the name of this (often problematic) institution. If they ask, you can tell, them but “didyouknowigotocambridge?” is not a good conversational opening gambit.

Gwenno: The worst Cambridge flex is, inevitably, rowing. Now, before you come for me, I must confess: I too was once a rower. Back in my heydays as an impressionable fresher, I was lured into the boat club by the offering of a free burger. After a term and a half of rowing, the only thing I gained was the unshakable feeling that I must be dyspraxic. Following several close brushes for death, I hung up my oars for the safety of the wider student population. Just like with vegans, I don’t care if you row, just don’t tell me about it. You woke up at 5:50am for an outing? Congratulations, glad to hear that you have a working alarm clock and a disrupted sleep schedule. You’re still wearing your unisuit from this morning to lectures? Learn some basic personal hygiene. And all for what? The thrill of ramming a boat into another in May Bumps? A rowing blazer which sets you back £250? Rowers, stop trying to “get blades” and please, just get a life.

Fabian: The worst Cambridge flex is one that isn’t even yours to begin with. The prime offenders are people that piggyback off the achievements of their college faculty, alumni or peers, swimming around like bragging pilot-fish, passing off real clout as their own. We all know someone who takes any opportunity to launch into their comparison competition: “We’ve got a signature cocktail at our bar”, “So and so off the BBC used to go to my college”, “My supervisor wrote this famous book”. Problem is, none of these remarkable things are down to these achievement appropriators themselves. All the bragging is a fugazi, and the braggers don’t seem to be self-aware about it. They are a tick on the elephant of this centuries-old institution and I’m fed up with it. Even the most arrogant personal boasts are excused in comparison by the fact that at least they’re one’s own. These subtle tricks of association are the infuriating final straw in a university that is already full to the brim with misplaced confidence. Give me a self-important tripos-topper over these charlatans any day.

Hugh: The worst Cambridge flex is when a humanities student tries to tell you how big their workload is. As an English student myself, I tried doing this in first year. Unfortunately for me, I was talking to a Vet Med at the time. I now know that unless your essay crisis involves sticking your hand up a cow’s arse you should probably keep your complaints to yourself. The fact is that doing a humanities degree just isn’t that hard. Most humanities faculties are pretty clear that their students should expect to work roughly 40 hours a week. If you did a 9-5, five days a week, you would be fine. You wouldn’t even have to do anything hard. Just sit in a nice cosy library, Arc Cafe coffee in hand, reading a novel. For most people that counts as a holiday. But Cambridge students can’t help making their lives more difficult. They wake up at 5am to row, sell their souls to the ADC, and write needlessly provocative columns for Varsity. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Cambridge would be a very boring place if historians and englings started taking their degrees seriously. Just don’t pretend that you genuinely didn’t have time to write an essay this week – or ask a STEM student to feel sorry for you.

Maia: The worst Cambridge flex is the obsessive need to tell everyone how little you slept last night. Oh, so you only got two hours of sleep? Sucks to be you, I guess. You wrote your essay at 4am on the floor of the Lola’s toilets? Congrats on treating your body like a doormat. This is your fourth coffee of the morning; please spare me your words and just go brush your teeth. If you’re desperate for my compassion for your oh-so-difficult all-nighter lifestyle, then sure, I am sorry about your (and my) poor organisational skills – but don’t try to use it as a flex. Wrecking your body for the sake of an essay is not to be glorified – it is a bad habit you should ditch. I’m not saying I’m immune to poor sleep, but at least I have the decency to keep quiet about it. Trust me, you don’t seem impressively occupied and aloof, you look like a run-over raccoon with those bags under your eyes. If you think you’re too busy for sleep, consider reallocating the time you spend flexing for a nap or two: you’ll finally feel well-rested, and we’ll all be grateful for the peace and quiet.