I took my 15 year old brother to Edinburgh Uni with me

And this is what he made of it all

My dearest darling baby brother came up for the week to gloat about getting a half term (turns out I can’t do 11 weeks at once, send help).

Instead of letting him sit around and not study for his GCSEs, I dragged him all around Edinburgh; from Princes Street to the JMCC, to show him what pretending to be a strong, independent student is like up here.

As I’m sure we’re all aware, boys around fifteen aren’t super fond of speaking beyond some grunt-y indication they need food, so here’s an insight in to what it looks like trying to tease some opinions out of him:

Not quite that general but thanks


We’ve ended up referring to Edinburgh as ‘sort of like London but smaller and older’, which is probably only true in that it’s also a city (with a lot of Londoners), is indeed smaller than London and has quite a bit of old stuff in it.

He successfully observed it’s a lot colder than home too, many times over, which killed me a little inside every time he mentioned it. Winter is coming, and I’m not excited.

Yes, he is my *little* brother, shut up

There was a lot of confusion over what Cowgate is doing way down there under South Bridge and whether it means Edinburgh is a multi-layer city, which definitely seems like a suitably Harry Potter kind of concept, and how the Castle hasn’t fallen off it’s little cliff yet given it’s hanging off the sides in several places.

Also probably a Harry Potter thing.


Since the first week I got here and my brother found out that both breakfast and dinner were no-nonsense buffet style, I think there’s always been an ulterior motive in him visiting and for a moment it dramatically swayed his opinion on where he wants to go to uni – just please don’t tell him that all unis do it.

He decided the JMCC was suitably just like the canteens from college films. All the same, it was nearly a catastrophic movie-cliche start as he almost rugby tackled some students with his tray in an attempt to dodge the camera:

terror tactics are an acceptable way to secure your place on the university social ladder

This was also an unnerving reminder than even without the apparent capacity to speak about anything other than sports, he still somehow manages to be far more socially apt than me, as he ended up in a conversation with a group of third year transfer students from Brisbane, Australia. Probably about rugby.

Being from a school that seems to give you roast dinners daily, he was due to be a tough judge on food. Luckily, it being burger night, the options and taste both got a 10/10.

Breakfast probably would have gotten the same approval but given he had to make the difficult decision between sleeping on my floor in halls or on a bed in a hotel that night… we will never know.

He was also surprised there wasn’t haggis. Because stereotyping is an intrinsic part of any Australian expat childs’ upbringing.

Look how happy he is once he’s eaten

Great British Bake Off

In Pollock we’ve got a lovely tradition of crowding around the TV that never seems to be quite loud enough, watching the Bake Off and laughing at everything even closely resembling innuendo (collectively lost it at Andew’s jousting knights).

As one of the seemingly few British citizens left who don’t live and breathe Bake Off for the 10 weeks it airs before switching to the Apprentice, James was left pretty bemused by the whole affair. I can report that he was more than happy to stick around for the free baked goods that came along with it, though. The convict blood just runs too strong in this one.

Nothing brings people together like lowkey patriotism

George Square

Most importantly, even visiting from London he appreciates that the EUSA store is a wee bit pricey. Hear that EUSA? Even a Londoner thinks so.

He also thinks cobble stones are annoying and Teviot Row House looks unnecessarily like something from Harry Potter, or the middle ages. So not that different from all our opinions there, I don’t think.

Tab Meeting

Perhaps a little smugly, James seemed pretty scared of being mistaken for an actual student, as when addressed all he could do was quickly respond ‘I don’t go here’.

He thought the layout of the meeting resembled that of AA meetings a little too closely, and that’s probably a little too close to the truth.

mildly uncomfortable with the whole situation


Starting as he means to continue, I’m sure, he was late to his first ever university lecture, so we didn’t get the photo of him trying to pretend like he belonged there I was hoping for. But, just as for the rest of us –  he gets big credit for showing up at all.

Questions while I was trying to take notes include: Do you need to ask to go to the toilet? Why is everyone on Facebook? Is that guy actually sleeping? It all seemed a pretty good deal compared to classes at school.

King’s Buildings

We didn’t go to Kings because I avoid making the dangerous journey out there whenever possible. It’s been a long winter and provisions are running low, we wouldn’t have made it alive.


University is scary and confusing for everyone, unless no one’s actually expecting you to make sense of it enough to turn work in, in which case it’s just confusing.