In Defence of Hatfield
We’re less popular than the cathedral’s new hairstyle.
‘Oh, you’re from Hatfield?’
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard that sentence, spoken with a mix of trepidation and mild horror. The name of one college carries with it notions of public school upbringing, trust funds, and a general aura of unwarranted smugness that could be felt across a lecture theatre.
Freshers of every other college learn pretty quickly that we are the university’s de facto object of scorn and mockery, the butt of many a joke, the collective dark knight that takes the heat so that Queen’s Campus doesn’t have to.
On every bar crawl I’ve ever been on, someone has finished their pint in Chad’s said, ‘Right, so…on to Twatfield?’ And once you get there, we’ve even got our own college beer to remind you that our tastes are far more refined than anything the Hill can offer.
But why do you hate us?
It’s what your college parents did, and their parents before them. Why break from tradition?
I’ll admit, Castle freshers have a good reason for disliking us due to our intoxicated invasion of the keep every Hatfield Day. If I were woken up by the slurred lyrics to Jerusalem, I’d probably be a wee bit pissed off too. But for the large part, we’re fairly normal students.
There’s a strange notion that every Hatfielder has travelled to Cambodia or the Himalayas, and emerged with a contrived sense of spiritual awakening and a profound understanding of humanity.
While we certainly have those who dwell in the glory days of their gap yah, their infinite wisdom and mystic ways haven’t infected the rest of us, who generally consider ourselves to be just like the rest of the mere mortals who never ‘found’ themselves whilst camping in a rainforest.
On any given night, the so-called Session Table is packed with people on socials, and the bar is regular stop for any Bailey crawl. Evidently, we’re doing something right to keep you all coming back. Or maybe you’ve got to be at a certain level of drunkenness before you can tolerate being around so many pairs of red chinos at once.
Formals are a great chance to spot members of other colleges who just couldn’t resist seeing what it’s all about. They’ll do anything to maintain the illusion that their own college does it better, but secretly they’re enjoying the surreptitious pennying of their fellow diners and our bemusing tradition of spooning.
I know it’s tempting to view us as the Lannisters of Durham. But if you have to hate anyone, don’t hate us.