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17 Stories That Will Make You Feel Smarter

The best longform reporting, feature stories, and personal essays from BuzzFeed UK over the last month.

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Rebbeca Hendin / BuzzFeed

1. We Know Almost Nothing About How “Study Drugs” Are Used By Students by Tom Chivers

Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

Despite the headlines warning of an “explosion” in students taking drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, their prevalence – and their risks – remains a scientific black spot.

2. Men Tell Us What Being A Father Means To Them by Tolani Shoneye

My only point of reference for a black father was Michael Kyle from My Wife and Kids. I would often watch the show with my sister and we would imagine and discuss what it would be like if he was our father.These memories reinforce the importance of black fatherhood to me. So as a way to celebrate black fathers who are present, I spoke to seven dads and asked them what fatherhood meant to them.
Laura Gallant / Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

My only point of reference for a black father was Michael Kyle from My Wife and Kids. I would often watch the show with my sister and we would imagine and discuss what it would be like if he was our father.

These memories reinforce the importance of black fatherhood to me. So as a way to celebrate black fathers who are present, I spoke to seven dads and asked them what fatherhood meant to them.

3. How I Found Power in Witchcraft and Friendship by Anna McKerrow

Your friendships are magick as much as casting a circle is: You weave your shared jokes, your threads of conversation, into defences against sadness and tragedy, into better worlds that you inhabit together.
Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

Your friendships are magick as much as casting a circle is: You weave your shared jokes, your threads of conversation, into defences against sadness and tragedy, into better worlds that you inhabit together.

4. A Half-Century Later, British Women Are Still Fighting For Full Abortion Rights by Laura Silver

Legislation that allowed doctors to legally perform abortions in Britain is 50 years old. But the women who campaigned for it say the fight for reproductive rights is far from over.
Sian Butcher / BuzzFeed

Legislation that allowed doctors to legally perform abortions in Britain is 50 years old. But the women who campaigned for it say the fight for reproductive rights is far from over.

5. Here's Why Children In The North Are So Much More Likely To Be Taken Into Care by Hannah Al-Othman

Experts have said that the high number of children going into care is a result of underlying inequalities, with deprivation and drug and alcohol dependency higher in the north of England.
Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed

Experts have said that the high number of children going into care is a result of underlying inequalities, with deprivation and drug and alcohol dependency higher in the north of England.

6. Students Showed Us Their Accommodation And It Ranged From £320 To £800 A Month by Victoria Sanusi

“The price is completely unbelievable. In Cornwall you can easily get a bungalow or a semi detached house for the same amount,” said a student who is paying £800 a month in London.
Bex Wade for BuzzFeed

“The price is completely unbelievable. In Cornwall you can easily get a bungalow or a semi detached house for the same amount,” said a student who is paying £800 a month in London.

7. This Man Had To Defend Himself Without A Lawyer Via Videolink With Terrible Audio. He Lost. by Emily Dugan

Sian Butcher / BuzzFeed

A court transcript shows Folarin Oyebola was inaudible 71 times in his hearing, as new research suggests people representing themselves via videolink are disadvantaged in court.

8. These People Living With An Invisible Condition Are Doing Their Best To Raise Awareness About It by Victoria Sanusi

Sickle cell isn't a new condition, but people who have it told BuzzFeed News advances in medical treatment aren’t coming fast enough and are calling for more scientific research and greater investment to improve the quality of their lives.
Laura Gallant / Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

Sickle cell isn't a new condition, but people who have it told BuzzFeed News advances in medical treatment aren’t coming fast enough and are calling for more scientific research and greater investment to improve the quality of their lives.

9. Students Are Demanding More Help With Mental Health And Say Universities Aren’t Keeping Up by Rose Troup Buchanan

Sian Butcher / BuzzFeed

10. There's Been A Huge Rise In Muslim Student Leaders And Here's Why by Aisha Gani

The number of Muslim sabbatical officers at UK universities has increased fivefold in two years. Leaders say a hostile media and increased scrutiny mean their roles have never been more difficult – or more vital.
Chris Bethell / Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

The number of Muslim sabbatical officers at UK universities has increased fivefold in two years. Leaders say a hostile media and increased scrutiny mean their roles have never been more difficult – or more vital.

11. Meet The British Men Who Embody Black Boy Joy by Victoria Sanusi

It was last August that Chance the Rapper posted a picture posing in all his glory at the MTV VMAs on Twitter, using the hashtag #BlackBoyJoy.We spoke to four black British men, from singer MNEK to Olympian Lutalo Muhammad, who embody “black boy joy” and are each killing it in their respective fields.
Laura Gallant / Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

It was last August that Chance the Rapper posted a picture posing in all his glory at the MTV VMAs on Twitter, using the hashtag #BlackBoyJoy.

We spoke to four black British men, from singer MNEK to Olympian Lutalo Muhammad, who embody “black boy joy” and are each killing it in their respective fields.

12. 7 Songs My Mental Health Is Grateful For by Mariam Ansar

At this moment, I have 87 playlists on my Spotify account. In the past, I had over 600 songs on my iPod shuffle. There are countless others that I will refer to as ‘my favourite song’ when I hear the first few seconds begin to play in a restaurant, or the supermarket, or in someone else’s mouth when they start to sing at the top of their lungs. And it sounds annoyingly cliche to say I just like music, or to answer the question of ‘what do you listen to?’ with ‘well, just a bit of everything, really.’ But it’s kind of the truth.
Lixia Guo / BuzzFeed

At this moment, I have 87 playlists on my Spotify account. In the past, I had over 600 songs on my iPod shuffle. There are countless others that I will refer to as ‘my favourite song’ when I hear the first few seconds begin to play in a restaurant, or the supermarket, or in someone else’s mouth when they start to sing at the top of their lungs. And it sounds annoyingly cliche to say I just like music, or to answer the question of ‘what do you listen to?’ with ‘well, just a bit of everything, really.’ But it’s kind of the truth.

13. We Asked These Women To Explain What Their Best Friends Mean To Them by Victoria Sanusi

“Your sisters are your cheerleaders, agony aunts, your supporters, the ones who are dragging you up and keeping you up."
Laura Gallant / Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

“Your sisters are your cheerleaders, agony aunts, your supporters, the ones who are dragging you up and keeping you up."

14. This Uni Was Called Out For A "Vile" Culture Of Sexual Violence. A Year Later, Students Tell Us What's Changed. by Hannah Al-Othman

BuzzFeed News visited Durham University a year after it was revealed to have some of the highest reports of sexual assaults in the UK. As a new intake of students arrive, the picture is more complex than it first appears.
Gavin Forster for BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed News visited Durham University a year after it was revealed to have some of the highest reports of sexual assaults in the UK. As a new intake of students arrive, the picture is more complex than it first appears.

15. This Judge Says He Cries When He Has To Take Children Away From Their Parents by Emily Dugan

Stephen Wildblood, a senior family law judge, spoke to BuzzFeed News about helping the growing number of people facing court without a lawyer.
Artur Tixiliski for BuzzFeed News

Stephen Wildblood, a senior family law judge, spoke to BuzzFeed News about helping the growing number of people facing court without a lawyer.

16. This Is What It's Like To Be The Only Tory On Campus by Matthew Champion

"I remember when I first came here and I said, 'I’m in Tory Soc,' and someone laughed, 'Oh there’s a Conservative society here – surely there can’t be.' We have to make sure it’s not a joke. This is a serious society."
Tim Lane / James Hole / BuzzFeed

"I remember when I first came here and I said, 'I’m in Tory Soc,' and someone laughed, 'Oh there’s a Conservative society here – surely there can’t be.' We have to make sure it’s not a joke. This is a serious society."

17. We Went Back To Uni After 10 Years And Here's What We Learned by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

There’s something truly beautiful about three years of grimy kitchens and wearing your duvet as a shawl.
Sian Butcher / BuzzFeed

There’s something truly beautiful about three years of grimy kitchens and wearing your duvet as a shawl.