Cultural Experience | United Kingdom

15 Ways You Can Tell You Are A UK University Student.

Some universal truths about UK University life

By Lizi Woolgar

1.       The Baywatch Theme Song.

This song now has a very strong meaning attached. Every time it plays in particular clubs across England (for example, Lounge in Bristol and Ocean in Nottingham) all the big rugby #LADSLADSLADS for some reason rip their tops off and gyrate in your face. I never did like Lounge.
2.       Sainsbury’s Basics is your new favourite food.

It’s not uncommon for your entire weekly shop basket to be filled with those delightful white and orange labels. You slowly notice and have a regular chuckle at the brutally honest label slogans which you had literally no idea even existed before going to uni.

3.       The ‘next term I’ll do what I signed up to at freshers’ syndrome.

Freshers week. You sign up to tonnes of new exciting clubs and convince yourself you will be an Ultimate Frisbee pro/a wine connoisseur/#sick at photography by Christmas. Only to email round all those irritating clubs a week later asking to be taken off their mailing list. You’ll do it next term. This term is for making friends, right?

4.       The discovery of Maccy D’s student card deal really was like Christmas came early.

The wonders of the student card meal deal mean you can get 2 drunken portions of chips for the price of 1. However, it does introduce the recurring self-conflict of ‘is a Mcflurry or 2 portions of chips the right choice?’ (Rosi, Nottingham).

Crisis, Nottingham

Crisis, Nottingham

5.       Quadvods.

According to Becky (Southampton), you could get quadruple vodka and mixer drinks for as low as £2… BUT they have since been made illegal. Ridiculous drink offers like this are pretty common across all UK universities which leads to some unusual drink choices. Jagerbombs are often the go-to drink for their regular deals, despite tasting gross, and guaranteeing a can’t-sleep-can’t-stop-shaking experience the following day.

6.       20 minutes of work = 1 hour break is deserved.

There’s no question about it.

7.       There is nothing more painful than a winter 9am.

Amy (Nottingham) reckons that 9am starts seem absolutely impossible at uni, despite getting to school every single morning at 9am since age 5. Because such early starts are cut down (for most students) to probably 2 or 3 days a week, the days you do need to start early seem like hell on earth. Getting up by 10am on a day off is practically the work of a god(dess), but trudging through the frosty mornings at 8am really is asking a bit much.

8.       The cab fare ‘metre’.

Taxis seem to work differently in university towns from home. You can never ever seem to work out whether being put on the metre is beneficial or not cost-wise. I still couldn’t tell you.

9.       Freshers chants.

I expect this is a very English thing. Much like football hooligans, fresher’s week brings with it the joys of drunken, aggressive chants. Typically insulting to other halls or the Polytechnic other half of your university (or vice versa); they will ingrain themselves in your memory forever.

Amy & her housemates in fry-up fancy dress

Amy & her housemates in fry-up fancy dress

10.   Watching an entire TV series in a day is a legit achievement.

Not only is this a regular occurance, it is often also a pre-planned day dedicated to complete given series and brings you a strong sense of accomplishment upon completion (Becky, Southampton). You impress yourself over and over by reaching whole new levels of laziness.

11.   Ragraids. What they really are.

Particularly famed in Nottingham, events such as Ragraids see the UK student population using charity fundraising as an excuse to get somewhat drunk and disorderly. You get the bus to another city, do your bit collecting money during the day, and drink the entire way back. I won’t even begin to mention the stories I’ve heard about the Nottingham bus journey. It’s next level.

12.   Libraries are a third-year social hub.

Formerly nerd-central, the library slowly becomes the most contested socialising spot in town. With entry queues from 8am, by your third year, it seems the ‘in thing’ is now to work super hard. Doing well isn’t embarrassing like it was in school. It gives you bonus quirky points (if you go to anywhere like Bristol, anyway).

13.   Your Uni promotes hitchhiking.

Yeah yeah, don’t panic, I’m talking about Jailbreak. Similar-ish to the Ragraid principle, Jailbreak is a charity event where you’re encouraged to travel as far away from your university as you possibly can in an allocated time, without spending so much as a penny. I can only presume that such an experience would equip you with priceless lift-blagging skills for the rest of your life.

14.   Sports club initiations are never OK but never stopped.

So they tried to ban them, but then the name was just changed to ‘welcome drinks’ instead. Hannah (Warwick) knows they are still just as horrific. Of course, signing up to any sports team can only bring with it the dreaded initiation of Freshers by second and third-years. You tend to know at least one person who had to visit A & E in result of said ‘welcome drinks’ (the one that springs to mind for me is a guy who found that eating a bar of soap didn’t really agree with him. Funny that.)

15.   You forget vegetables exist if they don’t come in Basics variety.

Coming home to a fridge full of multi-coloured fruit and veg used to bring me more joy than I could ever have imagined. Lame, but true. No more eating the same fruit every single day before it goes off. Being able to make a choice based on what you want is like heaven in a … fridge.

7-Legged Race in Nottingham

7-Legged Race in Nottingham

Lizi Woolgar

University of Bristol | 40 stories

Graduate of University of Bristol. Having spent my first two years of University writing for the student newspaper, epigram and Brighton-based Spindle Magazine, I then went on to edit the Style section of Epigram 2012-2013. Now keen to pursue a career in journalism/editorial work, I look forward to writing my weekly column for The College Tourist, all the while seeing where my writing and travel will take me.

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