What it’s been like to live in Pollock – it’s been complicated
A fresher’s thoughts on the imminent end of Absorb pres and the like
It’s been six months since I first stepped into Pollock Halls on the first day of Freshers Week. I can still remember the tangible mix of nauseous anxiety and bewildering excitement. I remember my teary-eyed mum asking me where I saw myself at the end of first year and my response: ‘happy, older and drunk’. Well, living in Pollock has certainly helped me live up to that expectation.
Pollock shifts and evolves as its residents do. I still remember those halcyon days of Freshers’ Week when we would all congregate in WhyNot on a Monday night. Since then, the arrival of JuJu Mondays at Opal brought a new dynamic to weekday nightlife. From pantry drinking games to tunnel raves to Creme Soda pres at Absorb, Pollock Halls enabled nightlife to become communal.
Sentiment aside, living in catered residence has had its downfalls. It can become difficult to find a peaceful middle ground between being alone and being constantly surrounded. I felt a strong sense of isolation near the end of first semester – the locked doors on Chancellors Court served as a physical and psychological barrier to meeting new people. Friendship groups which blossomed in Freshers Week, quickly became exclusive soon after.
I found that there were bouts of quiet which were then quickly followed by endless nights out and a flurry of activity. Pub, club, pub, club – it’s easy to fall into a repetitive cycle, especially when everyone around you is doing the same thing. Work can become a bit of a myth and the urge to stick to a nightlife routine has led to many hungover Thursday lectures.
Come second semester, things began to change. Friendship groups opened again. The people of Pollock started branching out: the Wee Red Bar, Studio 24 and Mash House became more enticing. The inclusion of more events meant that there were, once more, new people to meet. Black tie balls filled up our calendar as the clip-clop of high-heeled shoes echoed throughout the courtyard. I found myself staying at the JMCC longer – taking it all in, savouring the pleasure of never having to do any washing up.
It’s fair to say that I will probably never again face such varied ways of cooking chicken and potatoes. Habit suddenly became enjoyable. Pollock Halls is situated right next to Arthurs Seat and as the sun came out, so did we. Swaggering out of Pollock, we brought cheap vodka to the Crags and filled our snapchat stories with sunsets.
I think the plural ‘we’ is important here. It’s rare to live somewhere where you can be surrounded by so many friends but still have your own space. There is constant diversity: someone, somewhere, will be alternating between Netflix and napping whilst someone else will be playing the clarinet. The JMCC shop becomes a surreal place at 9:45pm where you will find students queuing with a bottle of Smirnoff and mixer, caked in glitter with phones buzzing, alongside another group of people buying milk.
Living in Pollock Halls hasn’t always been easy but it’s been memorable. It gave me the chance to make some of the best friends I’ve ever had and watch myself, and everyone around me, grow. The sense of family and union at Pollock is really something quite special. It may take a while to get there, but it’s worth it.