The nine circles of hell: Edinburgh University edition

Abandon all hope, ye who matriculate


If Dante went to Edinburgh uni would he be a Canada Gooser sat outside the library smoking or would he be the guy sat front row in your 9 am tutorial, engaging in a basically one-on-one discussion with the tutor? I guess we’ll never know, all we do know is that the Inferno would’ve looked much different typed out on a Macbook Pro at the Library Bar.

Circle One: The Library Lift 

As deadlines become more and more of a reality it’s time to face the fact that you will be spending a lot of time in the library – and if you’re a normal person who loves themselves you’ll probably be taking the library lift to get to your desired floor. It’s cramped, awkward, and always has to stop on the first or second floor – who takes a lift to the second floor!? Not to mention that you’ll almost certainly run into someone who you vaguely know, making a trip to the library way more of a social effort than it should be.

SO awkward

Circle Two: Mormons/The Snapfax Guy 

We’ve all seen him, hiding in the shadows of George Square. Once you hear that dreaded “Free pizza!” you know it’s time to make a run for it. The thing about the Snapfax Guy is that he’s everywhere, always – one time I was queueing up for Liquid Rooms and he was stood outside trying to hand out Snapfaxes.

As for the Mormons, it goes without saying that anyone who’s ever found themselves vomiting in an alleyway off of Cowgate, as I’m sure most of you have – will not want to convert to Mormonism anytime soon. I’m sorry Elder Bob and Brother Billy – I think you’re better off spreading the word of God at a university where students have had less than 7 sexual partners – on average.

Circle Three: Quartermile Sainsbury’s 

It’s embarrassing how much time, money, and energy I spend in the aisles of the Qmile Sainsbury’s. It’s just so quick, so accessible, and there’s no minimum card spend. But anyone who’s been in there at lunchtime knows that it is an absolute hellhole. There’s never any good sandwiches left after twelve and the queue is always massive, making you question if it’s really worth spending your life savings on prepackaged fruit and your precious university years trying to decide if you’re going with mixed berries, pineapple, coconut pieces, or mango today.

Circle Four: The HUB 

I think I speak for everyone when I say, fuck the hub. An acronym for “highly used books” this ground floor inferno is probably where most of your required reading will be. It’s always a bit tense when you know you have an essay due and there’s only one copy of the book you need there, and even more tense when you realise you can only use it for three hours. Which should be enough time, but if you’re like me and spend most of your time in the library on Facebook then you’re gonna have to make multiple trips to this wasteland to renew your book, and you better be prompt because they fine you per minute. Ffs, I’m only human.

Circle Five: Princes Street McDonald’s  

I guess the neon glow of the Princes Street Maccies could be mistaken for the pearly gates when it’s 3 am and you’re off your face, but let’s look at this critically. There’s always a massive queue full of lads who take out the fact that they didn’t pull on a 20 count box of nugs. Staff are (understandably in fairness) a bit rude, you can never find a seat, and after about the fifth nugget you start to feel a bit sick. I think I’ll pass.

Circle Six: Pizza Paradise 

When it comes to the idea of paradise, Pizza Paradise is anything but. You know it’s been a rough night when you end up having a sit-down meal at a pizza restaurant with a bouncer, sat next to an elderly couple – having been reminded that in order to eat there you’ll have to order a starter and two mains. I don’t think I’ve ever been even remotely sober at this fine establishment – and the thing about going to Pizza Paradise is that you never remember you actually went until you check your bank balance the morning after and see that you’ve just paid 15 quid for your post sesh munch.

Circle Seven: Pleasance 

A haven for some, and absolute hellscape for me – the antithesis of health. The thing about Pleasance is that it’s such a hike, it’s like a workout to even get there – and then once you’re there it’s kind of like being stuck in limbo, floating between the treadmills and the bikes and the people who are very obviously more athletic than you. I guess maybe it’s not really that bad, it would just be better suited for someone whose idea of a nutritious breakfast is more potent than two spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Unrealistic body images

Circle Eight: Flat Viewings

Jesus, where do I begin? Dante could write another version of the Inferno based on flat hunting alone. Flat viewings are awful, always led by some bored estate agent at the end of their rope. No one bothers cleaning their flat for the viewing so you’ll have to imagine what that room looks like sans the floordrobe and smell of must. Flat viewings are also always really tense because essentially everyone else there is competition. And after going to so many you’ve become a bit desensitised. Basically, as long as it has windows, a kitchen, and somewhat of a living area (and it isn’t in Leith) I’ll take it!

Circle Nine: The Hugh Robson Building

And here we are. Traveled through eight circles just to get here, the inferno of all infernos – the core of hell, the Hugh Robson Building. The thing about Hugh Rob is that all sense of time and space gets lost once you enter, lined with sinister tree wallpaper, it could be 6 pm or 6 am and you wouldn’t know the difference. You don’t know desperation unless you’ve been in Hugh Rob until the early hours in the morning. Edinburgh’s very own version of the Davy Jones Locker.