How to survive the Student Lock-In

Preparation is key to shopping success

If you have never been to student lock-in before, you will need to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the horror about to be unleashed before your eyes. 

Whether you’ve been looking forward to the Student Lock-In like it’s the biggest social event of the year, or you’ve been dragged along by a mate, you will need to know the mere basics of how to tackle the St David’s Centre and the endless queues you are about to face.


Firstly, plan on wearing comfy clothes and especially comfy shoes, preferably slippers. There are no rules saying you can’t. In fact, at the Student Lock-In there are no rules at all. Whether you are standing in an hour-long queue in H&M, getting crushed on entry or simply running for your life you are going to wish you’d worn your flattest, ugliest but comfiest footwear.

Secondly, you should always go for a pre lock-in run. Training is compulsory. Limber up – you will need it. You might not think it’s a thing but people DO run from shop to shop, fighting the crowds and taking down everyone in their path. Watch out.

You also need to arrive early. Consider setting up a campsite overnight if you want to be in with any chance of getting in the door before thousands of other students join you and the shopping centre becomes Hell on Earth. A lot of the shops like Boots and Superdry hand out bags of free goodies for the first 100 people in the door. I guarantee you will get none of these, no matter how hard you try. Soz.

Sorting through the pile of goodies in Primark

Make a military list of things of things you actually need and stick to it. Plan your route between shops, otherwise you will end up leaving knackered and unsatisfied. The event is a glorified late night shopping experience with the added stress of thousands of people. Be sure to take the edge off things and return to the free shot stand over and over and grab yourself any alcohol on offer, it will be the highlight of your night.

There is also no escaping the mountain of leaflets you will receive, they will be thrown in your direction from every angle. You may drown in them. Learn to sieve through and keep only the flyers which actually win you something.  The majority of them won’t get you anything, they will be promotional only and, on that note, unless you want a thousand emails by morning, do not hand over your email address under any circumstances. Or better yet just memorise your flatmate’s and give that.

Step away from the jeans

My biggest tip of all, the food hall is where it is at. Most shops only offer between 10 and 15 per cent discount (most of which offer you it all year round with a student card) but the food hall gives you the best discounts. Cheeky Nandos anyone?

Although you may be sacrificing a top night out in town to fight over the last size 10 pair of jeans in River Island while losing all concept of personal space, it’s a rite of passage. You’ll probably go in your first year and decide to never go again.

Finally, for those of you wondering whether you need to take an overnight bag, you don’t actually get “locked-in”. Although the idea of being locked inside St David’s with the lights off as you and all your mates race to claim a bed in John Lewis and collect food for the night sounds way more appealing.