What they didn’t tell you about coming to Edi Uni but probably should have
You could go four years without hearing a Scottish accent
Welcome to the University of Edinburgh: a member of the Russell group, the best educational establishment in Scotland and the sixth-oldest in the English speaking world. It’s home to 35,000 students, and its alumni include previous prime ministers, 21 Nobel Prize winners, groundbreaking philosophers, and Louise from Made in Chelsea.
From this info alone, you couldn’t be blamed for picturing an establishment reminiscent of the Hogwarts of Scotland. And there’s no need to pretend that when you submitted that UCAS application you didn’t fantasise about curling up in a tartan leather armchair with a Arthur Conan Doyle hardback next to a roaring fire in the Playfair Library.
But, alas, when it’s 10:32am on a Sunday morning and you’re fighting to the death for a seat in central lib, the taste of tropical VK in your mouth from the night before and a semi-faded Big Cheese stamp on your arm, reality starts to set in.
So, here’s a few things that no one tells you about studying at Edinburgh, which might help you face reality sooner:
Everyone here is English…
When you first think about coming to study at Edi it’s hard not to imagine the Scottish stronghold everyone brags about, complete with highland cows and the sound of bagpipes playing wistfully in the breeze. It’s hard not to imagine getting your hands on your very own Greig Laidlaw and living out your days as some kilted, hairy man’s wee lassie in the Highlands.
In reality, Edinburgh Uni is about as Scottish as Mel Gibson’s accent in Braveheart. There are literally three Scottish people here. Three of them. Tres. Almost everyone else is from below the Watford Gap.
Haven’t done the work for your latest tutorial? Really hate the course you’ve been placed in? Is your tutor a prick who makes you feel like an idiot every time you open your mouth? Never fear, because there will always be an American student in your class willing to pick up the slack on contributions.
The Meadows are integral to life
One thing you may not realise before coming to Edinburgh Uni is that the Meadows play such an integral part in your life. Whether you live in Marchmont, Newington or Morningside, and whether you’re walking to or from uni, Princes Street or Hive, the Meadows are the major thoroughfare in our lil bubble.
During the exam season of April and May, when the odd day arises in which the temperature in this fine city reaches a sweltering high of 16 degrees, the Meadows are full of people chilling, barbecuing, and doing that weird thing with the tightrope between the trees. It’s like a city on ecstasy; everyone’s just really, really, fucking happy.
For the remaining ten months of winter and early nights, however, they can be kind of sketchy, and after numerous assaults, there have been campaigns to get CCTV installed – to no avail.
Your degree is actually four years, idiot
This might seem pretty obvious for the majority of us who actually got into uni, but the amount of people who accidentally select the three year degree option on UCAS suggests not everyone realises coming to Edinburgh, or most unis in Scotland, means putting off joining the real world for an extra year. Bonus points if you do something like medicine or engineering.
Rent will take everything from you, and more
The Edinburgh rent scene is a lesson in how life isn’t fair. Compared to London, you definitely pay less than a fiver for a pint here – the Tron is precious – but when it comes to rent, the cost is a j o k e. Sure, you can budget for it, but it rises, every. single. year, and current fourth years are paying £100 more than they were as freshers. Landlords and agencies who don’t give a shit about you will take every penny of your student loan, your food money and your soul.
Somehow everyone, every single one of the 35,000 students at this University, does drama and it’s all over your Facebook
Whether it’s Bedlam, Footlights or the Edinburgh University Shakespeare Company, it really doesn’t matter, everyone at this uni seems to ‘do’ drama at some point. You’ll know this because three or four times a year your Facebook feed will go through an experience in which it’s bombarded with people changing their profile pictures to headshots from their latest escapade.
Turn back now. Slow-moving tourists are everywhere.
If you chose Edinburgh instead of London thinking you were going to bypass the hoards of tourists, you were gravely mistaken. And while tourism is integral to Edinburgh’s economy, just thinking about that stretch of road where you have to pass the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, the Elephant Cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, and the Royal Mile, is enough to put anyone in a cold sweat. Trying to manoeuvre your way around tourists taking pictures of a 30cm dog and a cafe sign is how frown lines are formed.
(NB. I even tried to get a google map of the area I meant and there was a coach tour blocking the view. I rest my case.)
Shock horror: Scotland has different bank notes
You may be horrified to find that the Tesco cash machine spits out your freshers week dollar in a different form of white British man. Do not panic, children of England, they are legit x x x
There’s actually more than one campus
This might also seem like an obvious one, especially if you’re a vet, medic or engineer. But if you’re studying a humanity, it can often take years to realise there’s a whole world outside of George Square. And it’s not just Central and Kings – there’s also Easter Bush, Little France and Western General Hospital. I totally had to google these, too.
George Square is actually the set of the Book of Mormon
Hello! My name is Elder Price. Did you know that Jesus lived here in the DHT? As a fairly small country, Scotland has a population of 4 million people, and about 3.6 million of them are Mormons, who all happen to hang around George fucking Square. They harassed students so much last year that EUSA and the uni had to tell them to back off.
It’s Chancellors versus the world
As the most spenny of all of Edinburgh’s accommodations, Chancellors often gets a bad rep from everyone at the uni – even fellow pollock-ers – of being full of yahs sleeping on beds made of daddy’s money. In reality, everyone’s just jealous that they get a balcony.