Better Than Sliced Bread Presents: iNMatES 2011 Survival Guide

The National Meeting of English Students, this year going by the acronialism (portmanteau of acronym and initialism by yours truly) iNMatES in a shameless effort to come up with something even more outlandish than last year's gNoMES, is an annual event arranged by the different student organizations of English philology around Finland. Taking place in Turku this year, NMES is a chance for English majors from around Finland to catch up with each other, mingle, socialize and do what English majors do best: make obscure pop-culture references.

We here at BTSB, in an effort to make your NMES much more enjoyable have collected a short list of tips FIY so that your experience in Turku this year won't go FUBAR (now that's how you use initialisms and acronyms!). The tips are, as always, to be used at your own discretion, but they may go a long way towards making your experience a more enjoyable one. Also of note is the fact that this list will mostly be of use to those going to NMES for the first time in their lives.

  1. At last  year's NMES something terrible was unleashed upon the English students from Helsinki, namely a song so terrible that to describe it would be akin to invoking the names of a host of ancient and furious deities hellbent on destroying the world. The song goes by the name "Trololololololololololo." Just Google it to prepare yourself for the horror that the gang who attended NMES last year will incur upon you.
  2. NMES is a happy occasion but sadly all good things come to an end. When NMES finally ends on Sunday you may suddenly realize that three days of reciting pop culture references may have taken its toll on your body, mind and soul. To get a proper idea of this feeling of ennui, see the following sketch from cult classic Finnish comedy Studio Julmahuvi.
  3. One of the important things about NMES is that all the cities involved will prepare a performance for the other cities' enjoyment. In order to prepare yourself for the sort of awesomeness that might be in store for this year, see last year's winning performance. Note: you will need to be Facebook friends with last year's tutor liaison Mart Suikanen to access the video.
  4. Did I mention pop culture references?

    "A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough." — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy So, don't forget to bring a towel.

  5. Related to the aforementioned point about the ennui caused by Sunday, do remember to wake up early enough on Sunday in order to pack your things. Word has it that some of the things left at NMES last year still haunt the halls of Jyväskylä, forgotten and lonely.
  6. This year's iNMatES has something on the menu that is quite alien to the members of SUB: a sillis. A sillis is effectively a breakfast consisting of something salty (mostly fish) following a night of partying as a means towards gathering energy for another day of academic fun times.
  7. Plan ahead! The aforementioned show was not conceived on the bus ride to NMES, it was a labour of love and many sleepless nights. Start planning the show for NMES well in advance in order to grab the prize from under those non-Helsinkians' noses again! Note: You should've done this already.
  8. I already mentioned the sillis practice which is already alien to members of SUB, but there may also be other practices that may seem strange to your Helsinki sensibilities. So, prepare yourself for a culture shock but more importantly try to avoid cultural chauvinism. If the phrase most heard from you is "They do it differently in Helsinki" you won't make any friends.
  9. Remember that this year there are well over a hundred students attending the annual NMES table party. Keep this in mind at all times. A table party is hard enough to control as it is, but one with well over a hundred attendants may easily slip into chaos if you do not mind the rules and behave yourself. At every table party there is always that guy who disturbs the peace and detracts from the fun of everyone else. Don't be that guy.
  10. Most importantly, remember to have a good time!

The author, Patrik Renholm, is very sorry not to be able to attend iNMatES, but it may all be for the best since he might've been that guy last year.

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