The University of Southampton
International Voices

Remember, remember, the No-Shave November…

Boy oh boy… November was tough. No-shave November is a synonym for itch with bald beard patches.

Greetings everyone! Since this is my first post I am quite sure a lot of people who are reading this have no idea who I am, and maybe these following months you will be able to know me better since nowadays Blogs speak louder than actual face to face conversations (Sarcasm. Too soon?). My name is Franz Rojas, I am a Mexican-Bolivian international student and I am delighted to be a Santander Digital Scholar and a contributor to this site. It may be a bit too soon for acknowledgements, but before writing anything else, I would like to thank Santander Universities for their support since thanks to them I was given the incentive to make this blog to help future students 🙂

…and also because this scholarship has helped me pay for my tuition.

Ever since I arrived to Southampton, I knew that I had to write about my experiences here, and if you are a new student, I would like you to know there is nothing more exciting than new experiences based on the foreign culture. In my case, I decided I was going to participate in the famous NO SHAVE NOVEMBER (Queue the X-files music please).

Apparently, No shave November evolved from a non-serious Internet trend, to a cause that raises money for prostate cancer. In my case, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to participate in a European trend. Needless to say, I am pretty sure I made the Mexican flag proud with what I call “El mostacho Mexicano”. You will see what I mean when you reach the photos.
There are two things I took from this experience:

– I do not possess enough Testosterone to rock the Woodsman cut.

– European trends are FUN

Seeing so many people rock the prepubescent style was refreshing and I felt part of a big trend that identified me with other students, especially international ones! To my surprise, a lot of international students were part of this experience. Though sadly a lot of them bailed after the first 2 weeks not being able to embrace and withstand the flourishing of their physical maleness through capillaries in what we mortals call “hair”. They were not ready. Yours truly, however, endured the bald patches like the champ he is for his future expectant audience.

I had a wonderful, if not a bit itchy, experience with No-shave November. The first days were the toughest, since a lot of hair grows at its own rhythm and pace, and there is no particular way to keep the beard even except by trimming the hair a bit, but I was not going to even hold a butter knife against my magnificent hair for the remainder of the month so I had to just suck it up. The middle weeks were accompanied by compliments (if not pity) of my new look. Apparently, there is a love/hate relationship regarding facial hair and as to be expected, to some friends I looked like a distant cousin of Gerard Butler when he was in the movie “300”, but to others, I looked like Salvador Dali without the glamour. If I had to give the positive things about having a beard is that in a way, it does make you feel more confident. There was a point where I would not even care about looking myself in the mirror and I would feel good just because I had attitude latched to my skin. Furry and curly attitude.

The drawback: Food in beard. Disgustingly an odd must have experience (you have not lived until you find rice in your beard).

Without further ado, here is the evidence:

The unexpected ending also left me speechless, because I was cutting my hair and was planning on just trimming it, but as you see in the video, it all went from “Cutting my own hair is not a bad idea” to “This definitely was a bad idea”. Did I mention winter is coming? (cries in corner)

As much fun as I had with this experience, we can all agree that although my moustache is on steroids, I need to give my beard a little more time to fly and embrace its mystical furry destiny.

Well, that is all I have for you folks! Remember that this blog was made to provide a perspective to international students regarding experiences and expectations of the UK. I was always curious about how a foreign tradition such as No shave November was going to play out and now you were able to live my experience!

If you are curious about any experience, topic or tradition here in the UK, why don’t you let me know so I will try to cover it up next time. I am open to suggestions, so please, submit your idea!

Have a Beautiful December everyone!



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