At Study International, we keep track on the low down of students the world over, all-year round. From rankings to sub-rankings, to the changes to Australia’s 457, UK’s Tier 4 or US’s H-1B visas, we dig down to the serious details to come up with the informative and illuminating articles students need.
But our favourites will always be chasing after stories that fall well-off the beaten path – the weird, strange and downright bizarre things happening to university students during the most important chapter of their lives.
Here are our top 5 picks for 2017:
The caffeine overdose
Two sports science students at the University of Northumbria were hospitalised after taking part in an experiment to measure the effect of caffeine on exercise. That charitable endeavour in the name of science went horribly wrong when they were both wrongly administered 30g of caffeine each – that’s equivalent to drinking around 300 cups of coffee. Each.
Inexperienced staff had used a mobile phone to calculate the caffeine dosage, resulting in the decimal point being in the wrong place (30g instead of just 0.3g).
Both men suffered “life-threatening” effects and were admitted to intensive care for dialysis. They survived, save for some short-term memory loss by one of them.
The koala rescue mission of Australia
The award for the fuzziest story of the year goes to the La Trobe University excursion team who rescued a stranded koala they found hanging on a bare tree near Ulupna Island, about 60km west of Yarrawonga, Australia
“We edged the boat up towards the tree to see if he was interested and that’s when he jumped in and was straight on-board,” said Kirra Coventry, the student who filmed the rescue. Although the lone marsupial native to Australia can swim, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said they will eventually drown if there are no “assisted ways” for them to climb out.
The cheapest high
ATS (Amphetamine Type Stimulants) – the stuff in ecstasy and MDMA – wins this year’s most affordable study drug award. Going for as low as US$1 a pill in Malaysia, they are reportedly cheap enough for upper secondary students to pop them for exams. Nearly 2,000 tested positive for the use of these drugs in 2015 – we’re betting that incessant head bobbing and jaw-gnawing while taking their algebra tests must have given them away.
Melania Trump as role model for the importance of English
Croatians were told to look towards the First Lady of the United States as inspiration for “how far you can go with a little bit of English”. The Američki Institut or American Institute had put up an image of Trump and that cheeky statement in a billboard in Zagreb, with the aim of highlighting “the importance of knowing the world of languages and how much knowledge is essential for international success”. Right.
The wrestler-cum-hacker wanted by the FBI
A University of Iowa student is facing two federal charges after he was caught for a high-tech scam on his university, i.e. installing malicious software on the university’s computers to record what his professors typed on them, including passwords. The goal behind this sophisticated cheating scheme? Getting advanced copies of exam papers, as well as changing his grades 90+ times in the span of 15 months. That’s pretty ingenious … if both charges don’t carry a maximum 10-year prison time.
2017, you’ve been swell. Here’s to a doozier and weirder 2018!