When I look back on my time at university, most of the time I’m berating myself for not spending my student loan on an incredible holiday instead of books on literary theory and pints of snakebite. Now a lot of what should be time spent in clouds of nostalgia, reminiscing over the time I had to write an essay on the use of sheep in medieval performance, is actually time spent dreaming up an alternate student reality where I chose to study a less universally useless subject and go on adventures with hot medics pretending to be in Grey’s Anatomy.
So a certain despair over the value of my degree, the fact that I’m finally paying more than £2 a year off my mountainous student debt, and the realisation that I’ve now spent as much time out of university as I spent in it, means I often forget to dwell on what truly were some of the best times of my life. For example, this time six years ago my university friends and I were lying in London’s greying, melting snow outside our halls, trying to make snow angels, in neon tutus and leg-warmers, fearless reincarnations of 80s disco warriors, and so dazzling in a sexy, sodden kind of way that I fear we may have blinded several dogs nearby.
Those were the days.
Tutus aside, university is close to my heart because it was the first chapter of my new life in London and so many of my journeys and experiences in this city have now been defined by that. Christmas will always be slush angels, September is dodging London Fashion Week en route to a class, that long corridor at Green Park tube station is only to be skipped down, preferably intoxicated. So this post is dedicated to some of my favourite bits, the bits that make me super grateful for three years with some lifelong friends, a lot of procrastination, and zero cash.
University: The Best Bits
1 The daily dinner routine of making plans for a quiet night of study, whisking up a pretty fresh dinner (of cereal), someone slamming a bottle of basics vodka in the middle of the table, and five whole minutes later you’re in da club.
2 Unwavering faith in the importance of alcohol. Even at roller discos.
3 Student. Discount. Topshop’s sucked ever since and a Macdonalds medium meal is literally a snack without a free cheeseburger.
4 That thing where you’re a fresher for one week and shake everyone’s hand and make friends with all the people and then the following week don’t look anyone in the eye, hold your new soulmates close and act like you’re in the Plastics.
5 Two letters baby: VK.
6 Ordering two vodka shots on the first night out to impress the world and just lamely dribbling them down yourself. Ah, fearlessness.
7 Pasta and ketchup = all the veg you need.
8 Someone suggesting a trip to Asda and you cry because it’s “so cheap it’s basically free.”
9 Going out, having 5000 Jagerbombs, getting up for a 9am lecture and feeling rock and roll. HOW?
10 “That foam party at Walkabout looks really good value.”
11 Fancy dress.
12 Trying to go out in Leicester Square one time, getting groped by either a tourist, a schoolboy or a pimp, and never going again.
13 The friends who thought eggs were one of your five a day and that pasta was cooked dry in a saucepan, to remind you that there are people more catastrophic in the kitchen than you.
14 Walking into a lecture hall and seeing Mufasa’s face in the leftover chalk smears on the blackboard and having an epiphany.
15 Getting thrown out of first-floor cafeteria for talking too passionately about vaginas (because why else would you study gender politics?)
16 Living off Sainsbury’s basics vodka and then waiting the next three years to go blind.
17 Wearing no clothes and never getting ill. No fair.
18 Watching back to back episodes of FRIENDS, eating Dominos, and making plans to change the world.
19 Drunk presentations.
20 Creme egg and spoon races in the library.
22 Tallying up all the people in long-distance relationships in first year and being a bit smug when they all break up. Even if that also happened to you.
23 Reading week. Oh hi not getting out of pyjamas, thinking about getting a library card, going home and eating all of your parents’ food.
24 The miscellaneous kitchen thief: what the fuck are you going to do with a broken tin opener and gluten free bread?
25 Playing hide and seek with a sex toy someone got sent in the post. Ten points for the Yorkshire tea box.
26 Running out of money and trying to pay for things with your Oyster card/shoelaces/eyelashes.
27 Pre-lash in Spoons before nights out in Sainsbury’s, just you and the reduced stickers.
28 Discovering £1.99 Macdonalds meal vouchers = second breakfast at 10.30am.
29 SOCIETIES. Turns out that in real life the world doesn’t just let you put on a musical. Who knew?
30 University news being the biggest news. “They named the new law building WHAT?” “…Dickson Poon.”
31 For split-seconds at a time you have a real purpose in the world, even if it’s simply starting a bibliography.
32 Being all “13p for tinned tomatoes? Er no thanks are you trying to bankrupt me?”
33When in doubt, having sword fights with stale baguettes.
34 Making your student loan last one week and feeling like an accountant.