You’re all moved in. You’ve survived your first night and you’re ready to explore campus – but where should you start?
Some would recommend the library, others the campus pub or the union, all of which are very important places and I do recommend you go and check them out sooner rather than later. In my own experience, and as corny as this sounds, I would suggest finding somewhere on campus that makes you happy. Or that you at least could see yourself comfortably spending some time in before and after lectures.
I wasn’t, and still am not, the kind of person who can work in a completely silent environment; during my first year at university, I only came to campus for my lectures and the occasional visit to the library to check out books. I prefer to have music playing and maybe a pal or two to talk to, be it about our assignments or not, and since our library on campus was a silent-working zone for the most part, I decided early on it wasn’t for me. For some unknown reason I didn’t think to see what other communal spaces there were on campus until my third year. I’m so glad I finally did.
Your choices on campus will probably begin with a chain or two like Pret or Costa. Handy for when you need a quick refill of your travel mug between lectures and of course they serve good food, even if it is at the pricier end of the spectrum. Good for solitary workers, they are always a safe bet. For those who prefer a more social experience, I would endorse the idea of finding a place fairly central on campus which many students are known to pass through. From my own experience at The University of Southampton there are a couple of places you can go: Bar 3 (a small diner-style cafe), The Plant Pot (our vegan and veggie cafe), or The Stag’s Head (the campus pub, affectionately known as Stags) are all popular spaces where students can work, eat, chill, or a combination of all three. However, for me, it was a place called The Bridge where I made myself at home.
With a good selection of food if I got hungry, comfy chairs which easily doubled as a work space, plenty of outlets to charge devices, and the opportunity to meet and socialise with many of my friends, The Bridge is one of the places on campus that I will always have fond memories of. Along with the interior design, which was quite frankly bizarre but lush, it has seen me in all states of mind; stressed up to my eyeballs because of my dissertation, hanging out of my rear from a big night out, in fits of laughter with some friends from a society, and calm and collected crafting an essay or something creative in my spare time (of which I definitely had copious amounts and left nothing to the last minute at all ever…)
In essence, I recommend to you all that you find your uni version of The Bridge. It should be a place that fulfils all your needs both physically and emotionally and feels like a home on campus. Whether you need it for five minutes or five hours, find that place; you’ll thank yourself when you do.
In collaboration with Social Impact Lab Southampton