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March 3, 2014 | by  | in Features Homepage |
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How 200

We challenged our contributors to teach us how to do something in 200 words. Here are 17 of the best.


How to walk around Wellington

by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

Download the Welly Walks app from the iTunes Store, slip on some comfortable shoes and put one foot in front of the other.  Walking is one activity where the left and right must cooperate.

Walking is our first mode of transport – it is also the healthiest, cheapest and most convenient.

Start your walking explorations at Uni and take on the City to Sea walkway.  It will take you to our exhilarating South Coast, via Aro St’s delicious cafés and flying foxes in Central Park.

Once you have conquered this 12 km track, try a shorter walk along Wellington’s waterfront.  This week you can catch The Performance Arcade, a temporary miniature performance and installation space.

For your walk back to Uni, consult one of the useful VUW walking maps at This will get you to lectures alert and on time.

On Walk to Work Day, Wednesday 12 March, join me for a free breakfast, 7–9 am at Frank Kitts Park.

Wellington has some of the busiest footpaths in the country.   Around 4500 people walk along Lambton Quay at lunchtime.  We have a higher footfall than Tokyo and Sydney.

Enjoy Wellington, the compact, cosmopolitan walking capital.


How to avoid bankruptcy

by Matt Barnes

Student discounts

Always, always look for student discounts. Saving money doesn’t always mean you can’t have any fun. There are discounts on everything from food to movies, from haircuts to travel to moving companies.

Second-hand isn’t lame, it’s smart

We all know how expensive textbooks are (and if you don’t, you’re in for a shock), but they don’t have to be. Vic Books often offer second-hand versions, or you can check out VUW Book Trade on Facebook.

Stash the cash

Where possible, try to build up a financial buffer. Saving up over summer helps tide you over through the study semesters.

Student Job Search

While at uni, SJS is an excellent way to earn a few bucks on the side. Just be careful not to run out of time to do your assignments. Best of all, the friendly folk at Vic Careers can help you write a brilliant CV.

Do I need this?

Is an excellent question to ask yourself. Cutting out the stuff you don’t truly need is an easy and effective way to save money.

When times get tough

All the banks offer students interest-free overdrafts. Don’t use one until you need it. Whatever you borrow, you have to pay back.


How to cheat Wellington in ten steps

by Cathryn Bridges

Fear no more! The Wellington hills may appear daunting at first, but here is a guide how to only walk downhill/on the flat, and still get back to campus! This is also brilliant for Te Puni Village residents or Kelburn flatters dreading lugging shopping bags (thanks, student loan!) back up the hill.

  1. Walk across the Boyd Wilson Field to the ‘City to Sea’ path leading to Buller St.
  2. Walk down Buller St straight onto Vivian St, and turn left onto Cuba St.
  3. Walk down Cuba St. Spend all your money.
  4. Turn left onto Manners St. Walk down. Spend all your money.
  5. Turn right onto Willis St. Spend all your money.
  6. Veer left onto Lambton Quay. Spend all your money.
  7. Turn left right before Maccas. Walk up the little lane.
  8. Use your Vic ID to ensure a sweet student fare (beg your friend for $1.50 as you have used all your money shopping), and catch the Cable Car to the very last stop by the Botanic Gardens.
  9. Walk up Upland Rd from the Botans.
  10. Turn left on Glasgow St. Continue down until you have reached VUW again.

Enjoy feeling lazy. You never have to walk uphill again.


How to cheat self-checkout machines

by Sammie Lassen

Sick and tired of being a law-abiding supermarket shopper? Do you vomit at the thought of another noodle/grisly mince morsel/piece of toast? Fret no more. Follow these easy steps to illicitly score free food and a guilty conscience.

  1. First, survey the attention-level of the attendant. If you are lucky enough to be shopping under the supervision of a very foreign/geriatric/bored employee, now is the time to strike. (Note: do not be fooled by the aloof appearance of teenage employees! Some take their jobs deceptively seriously and may twig on to your scheme.)
  2. Approach the checkout machine. It’s necessary that you purchase a pull-along granny trolley prior to the mission – they may not be trendy, but they are a perfect and non-suspecting mule.
  3. Keeping one eye on the attendant, scan your least expensive items through the machine, alternating between actually scanning the item, and simply waving the more expensive items near the machine.
  4. Place all items that have been lawfully scanned onto the bagging area, the non scanned items straight into the trolley.
  5. Exit the supermarket with confidence. DO NOT look guilty or shifty. Every criminal knows that no one stops someone who looks like they’re doing something legal.
  6. Enjoy your free groceries!

Note that if you are new to the game, it is best to wait for busy periods in order to avoid suspicion. Late afternoon on a weekday is recommended.


How to get fairer fares/use a child Snapper

by Henry Cooke

First off, a few things to get out of the way. You can get a child Snapper by asking to buy one for your six-year-old brother. You can do this with a beard in business casual – trust me.

There’s no moral ambiguity: public transport is good for city, environment, and is way too expensive for students. I’ve been doing this twice a weekday for three years and I’ve been caught twice. Okay, let’s talk tactics.

You want to minimise contact with the driver. If it’s busy, try not to be the first or last person on the bus. If someone is paying with cash, slip past them, snapping as you go. Keep your Snapper in your wallet, and hold it behind you as walk on, not letting it double beep till you are already halfway down the bus. The drivers do not have the time to call you back. If it’s late at night, and you’re the only one getting on the bus, look as scared as possible.

If you do get caught, talk really really fast. This has saved me before. Make up a story about your high-school ID not changing over and try to confuse the driver enough that they shoo you on. If that doesn’t work, just run.


How to waitress

by Steph Trengrove

Hospo is a warzone, and waitresses make up the front line. For many of you not-yet-qualified-but-desperately-poor students, this battlefield is one with which you will become intimately familiar.

This guide may be the only thing which allows you to survive. Read on with care.

Hiding one’s rack may thwart you out of some tips, but displaying it will ensure that every slightly drunk and horny male assumes he can hit on you. Best is the in-between option – some ‘accidental’ cleavage may score a tip, while seemingly hiding your mangoes will prevent being deemed available and willing.

Always have on hand the ‘detached smile’; invaluable when couples pash in front of you while you try to take their order, or you wait with excruciatingly hot and/or heavy plates as customers forget who ordered what. Also crucial is the fake laugh. The hospo battlefield is fraught with bad jokes. As the customer is always right and their jokes always funny, the fake laugh is imperative.

Finally, eat before reaching the front. Watching people eat causes excessive hunger, and breaks are rare in hospo. Either fuel up before work or snack on dem customer leftovers.

In hospo, you will be faced with situations which you could not have dreamed of, and hardships which you have never before faced. All I can do now is wish you luck, young soldier. Godspeed.


How to be a passive-aggressive flatmate

by Brittany Travers

You will need to perfect the art of passive-aggressive note-writing.  Start threatening, but end with a positive flourish. Example: “Note to all who live here: If you don’t wash your dishes, I’ll throw them away. If you don’t take out the rubbish, I’ll dump it over your sweet face in the morning. If you don’t take your washing out of the dryer I will donate it to the Sallies. Love, Suzie xoxo”

Alternatively: “Who let Bigfoot move into the shower? CLEAN UP YOUR FERAL ARMPIT HAIRS. Regards, Jimmy.” I’m sure you can think up more examples.

If you want to really drum your message into your flatmates’ skulls, buy a year’s supply of Post-it notes. Plaster them everywhere: the fridge, washing machine, shower, toaster, rice cooker, the ceiling fan, and so on. The key is to ensure your malicious words haunt your flatmates at every turn.

Make a list of all the annoying things your flatmates do: noisy sex, slamming doors, stealing food off your shelf.  Every time they walk in the door, glare at them and say: “We need to talk.” Hold a flat meeting at least once a week to discuss everything on the list. Go into detail, and don’t be afraid to make them cry! End the meeting on a positive note, saying something like, “I’m just trying to help you help yourself,” or, “We need to work together to make the flat work this year.” Good luck!


How to look good on the dance floor

by Liam Kennedy

Love them or loathe them, you are going to have bust a move on a dance floor at some point in your student life. Whether at a house party or in a sweaty corner of Hope Bros, this ‘how to’ will help you groove with confidence.

  1. Don’t get over-ambitious: Sure, back flips look cool and a well-executed caterpillar is a sight to behold, but these kinds of moves only lead to embarrassment and back injury for most of us. Keep your moves simple. A little bit of rolling the dice or picking the apple never hurts.

  2. Buy a strobe light: Everything looks more badass under a strobe light, especially dancing. If you can get past the increased probability of epileptic seizure, then download the handy strobe app for your iPhone or head down to your local electronics store.

  3. Never fist pump or take your top off: ever.

  4. Choose your soundtrack wisely: A sudden shift from Daft Punk to dubstep can leave even the most competent groover stranded.  Pick your tracks and always be ready to make a speedy, but graceful, exit from the D-floor.


How to make vinyl bowls

by Evangelina Telfar

Vinyl bowls are a great way to jazz up your new flat or hostel dorm. They are extremely easy and quick to make. Firstly, go to the tip shop or an op shop near you and find some vinyl records that have scratches on them. Set your oven to 160°C and once it is up to temperature, grab a Mason jar or oven-proof bowl and slide it into the oven. Wait a few minutes while the jar heats up. Then balance the middle of the vinyl record on top of the jar and wait for about a minute or until it has softened. Grab some oven mitts and take the jar and vinyl out of the oven. While it cools down, you can mould the vinyl into the shape you desire, but a tip is to go with the form that it has fallen into while hot. Once it is cool, you can use it as a fruit bowl or a decorative wall-piece.


How to make fudge brownies

by Nina Powles

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease a baking tin with butter. In a big bowl that can withstand heat, snap a huge block of dark chocolate into splintered bits. Pile 2 cups of sugar and 100 grams of butter on top. Melt this in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is velvety smooth like molten heaven. Now add 4 eggs and a tablespoon of vanilla essence and mix lovingly. Sift a ½ cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and half a pinch of salt into the liquefied chocolate. Combine gently with a wooden spoon. Let there be lumps. Heap into the baking tin, licking your fingers along the way, and bake for 20–25 minutes – to your desired level of gooey-fudge perfection. Pass the time by licking chocolate off your baking utensils and fingers. Enjoy hot with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Never forget.


How to do hand-poked tattoos, the indefinite guide

by Joe Morris

Don’t. Just don’t tattoo yourself, or your friends.

But anyway, if you’re going to, you’re going to.

Equipment: Trade Me is great. For less than the price of the doctor’s visit post infected tattoo, find: tattoo needles (9RL works, or 15RL for thicker lines), ink, green soap and latex gloves (always rubber up). Then: kitchen towel, glad wrap, bepanthen, a pencil, cotton thread, and beers.

Prep process as follows: Beers for all; gloves on; glad wrap over desk; ink into a clean vessel; needle bound to pencil with thread; skin shaved and wiped down with green soap; and your sweet design drawn on. Ballpoint works: it is pretty non-toxic. Tattoo-transfer paper works better. Look it up.

Sticking process: Dip needle; stretch the skin with your other hand; start poking. Getting the correct depth is essential (as ever). Too shallow and the ink will fall out, too deep and it will blow out in the skin – 3 mm? 4 mm? It varies. Take your time, wipe away any excess ink with a soapy kitchen towel. Try to keep the needle as perpendicular to the plane of the skin as possible.

Post-tattoo: Wrap your bloody mess in glad wrap for a couple of hours, after applying bepanthen sparingly, henceforth morning and night; admire.

There are more definitive guides out there. For inspiration, search for an artist called Slowerblack.


How to come out

by Daniel Deans

Coming out is rarely a fun adventure. It’s largely devoid of unicorns, rainbows and clichéd stereotypes, and instead jam-packed with unsettlingly awkward conversations and serious self-questioning. ‘Coming out’ is nevertheless an important process in self-discovery, and ensuring that everyone is entirely aware of who you’d privately like to engage in relations with. While the advice is provided here in list form, it’s highly advised to perform the steps out of order to ensure maximum awkwardness.

  1. Invite a friend out for coffee, dance around the subject for at least an hour, then suddenly announce it as they get up to leave.

  2. Get drunk and carelessly announce your affinity for the same sex to everyone in the immediate vicinity.

  3. Temporarily going back ‘in’ while you re-assess whether you’re actually gay or not. Maybe everyone’s sexuality exists on a spectrum. Maybe it depends on the person. Maybe it just depends on what I ate for breakfast.

  4. Decide you’re not going to tell anyone anymore because it’s your own private life and it’s not anyone’s business.

  5. Continue to tell everyone anyway.

  6. Try to segue into a conversation with your Dad about homosexuality, only to have it fail and then continue to blurt it out anyway.

  7. Write an article for Salient about coming out.


How to deal with depression

by Andrew Mahoney

Throughout the year you will have your ups and downs, but if you feel that you are down most of the time, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is a serious mental illness and the faster you deal with it, the better. I suffered depression for four years and I found that these three steps helped me beat it.

If you are stressed, talk to someone.

Seriously: a problem shared is a problem halved, in this instance. If you are feeling depressed, talk to people about it: friends, neighbours, RAs, family, etc. People will be able to help you if they know what you are feeling. Everyone has suffered from depression, mildly or severely, at some stage in their lives.

Get involved, join groups and socialise.

A lot of depression is caused by solitude. If this sounds like you, get involved with other people: this will cure your solitude and help you on your recovery.

Eat well and exercise.

High quantities of certain foods increase your risk and severity of depression. Eating healthier does make a difference. Exercise also increases self-esteem and happiness.

Talk to a professional.

If none of the above are helping, seek professional help.


How to break the news to a cat owner that you’ve killed their pet

by Georgia Latief

Over 5.4 million cats are killed each year in car accidents. However, accidental cat killers need to understand how to take responsibility for their actions: by informing the victim’s owners of their pet’s untimely demise, rather than joining the ranks of the millions of cat hit-and-run drivers.

The first step is to ensure that the cat has in fact died. Death is usually obvious if it is not breathing; however, make doubly sure by locating the cat’s pulse by placing your hand against its chest. Once you have confirmed its death, the next step is locating the family of the deceased pet. This will either consist of going door to door describing the colouring and breed of the cat or (if the owners are smart) simply finding the address on the collar.

Once the family has been located, break the news to them gently. If possible, try to find a replacement cat to pass off as their dear family pet. If they see through this, then home-baked goods are often used to melt the ice; however, if you’re a poor student, then a homemade “I’m sorry I killed your cat” card wouldn’t go amiss. Once the news has been broken, solemnly hand over the body, then get the hell out of there.

Important note: Do NOT give them your name under any circumstances. Grieving cat owners are said to do crazy things.


How to travel with friends

by Nicola Braid

Travelling with compadres is a quintessential aspect of student life. The motley crew of 20-somethings with tourist braids, wide-leg pants and vaguely ethnic tattoos are why places like Malaga and Phuket exist. Here are my tips:

  1. Work on your patience. When held up in a flight with good friends, you realise that they’re all on the spectrum. ALL of them. One friend will need you to put everything in units of time, i.e. “How many units until boarding?” And another will only talk in questions: “How do we get there?” “Are you sure?” “Should we take a tuk tuk?” “Will it be expensive?”.
  2. You will, if travelling in a non-English-speaking country, inevitably end up conversing in a warped broken English. I.e. “I talk to them already.” “So pretty.” “It OK?”
  3. You will spoon. It may be out of homesickness. It may be out of sheer necessity to avoid freezing to death in a jungle in northern Thailand. Either way, it will bring you closer together and block out the snoring of three opium-whacked Germans and a fighting French couple.
  4. Pick friends who will not judge your embarrassing toes, or who can handle seeing your naked silhouette through a less-than-frosted hotel shower.


How to tank

by Doc Watson

For this how-to, we’ll assume you’re driving a T55 model, which is available for drive at Tanks For Everything in Christchurch. So open up the hatch and climb on in. It’s a bit cramped in there, so get comfortable. From where you sit, it should look fairly similar to a manual car, mirrored – gear stick on the right, clutch, accelerator and brake at your feet, and two levers on either side of you. Once the engine is running, foot on the clutch, put the tank into gear and move the two levers on either side as far forward as possible – this disengages the parking lock. From there, it drives like a manual with two major differences. First, there’s no steering wheel – the two levers that you just pulled act as brakes for either wheel. Put the right lever in the middle position to go left, and to go right do the same for the left lever. Also, the gearbox can be a little unwieldy, and first gear is bottom-centre rather than top-left. Finally, remember the golden rule of tank driving: things don’t happen to you, you happen to them. Godspeed, comrade.


How to get from Auckland to Dunedin with only Red Bull as currency

by Georgia Cameron

Accommodation: You may think that university halls provide you with networking opportunities for your career. Wrong! It opens up a nationwide range of sofa-based accommodation.

Hitchhike. Like a first-year trying to find their soulmate on the dance floor of Hope Bros, you need to be ready to face plenty of rejection. However, persevere and you might be surprised how easy it is to get a ride. Don’t try your luck on the motorway as you will be arrested. If you are lucky enough to know a pilot, you may be able to schmooze a flight. Or visit Student Flights who will give you epic transport advice and ideas.

Food: What food? Red Bull is everything: a complete food group, toothpaste and cologne. It can also be traded for hot chips at a highway café outside of Timaru.

We were humbled and surprised by the awesome nature of the Kiwis who were willing to go out of their way to help some poor students. We are sure you will find the same!

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