Eight things that consistently humble me as an Edinburgh University student

A little humbling can be healthy – right?


As Edinburgh students, we’re never more than moments away from our next humbling. The university is often seen as a place where self-important aspiring intellectuals go to become even more self-important but Edinburgh ensures there’s always the opportunity to stay humble.

Here’s some universal experiences of being taken down a peg or two that you will definitely have experienced:

The Lidl self-checkouts

Anyone who’s ever worked in customer service understands the dread of even slightly irritating people at work. I’m not exaggerating when I say I want to cry out of shame and draft a formal apology to Lidl’s head office when I fail to realise there’s an available self-checkout in sufficient time.

I’ve failed the staff, I’ve failed my fellow queuers, but most of all, I’ve failed myself. In those seconds you spend holding up the entire (enormous) Lidl queue like an absolute idiot, you’re letting down anyone who’s ever believed in you and your capacity to conduct a weekly shop independently. The shame.

Finding a seat in the Main Library

Ah yes, that soulless multi-story car park of a “library”. This one’s a true part of the Edinburgh student experience: going up and down those four plus floors, sweating, stressing, and searching for literally any place to sit.

I’d sit on some carpet if that was socially acceptable – honestly, I’d sit on someone if things got really desperate. Midterm season, you know.

Walking in the Meadows cycle lane

Any Edinburgh student can experience their very own real-life Subway Surfers gameplay by accidentally wandering into the very clearly marked cycle lane in the Meadows.

You’ve got a few milliseconds to realise you’re in the wrong path before succumbing to the speed of an oncoming cyclist with places to be – seriously, why are they so fast? Ultimately, there’s two types of people in this city – those who can correctly interpret a bicycle symbol on the ground, and those who will inevitably face catastrophic consequences in Middle Meadow Walk.

The 40 George Square lifts

Here’s some statistical truths for the STEM girlies: At least one of the three available lifts in 40GS will be out of operation at any given moment, and this becomes a 100 per cent chance when you have a mandatory tutorial on the 12th floor that you’re already running late for.

Ultimate humbling experience if you make the expedition up those endless stairs, risking cardiac arrest and a sweat-drenched fit just for those sweet, sweet attendance marks. Your academic spirit is strong but your pride is not.

Attending a tutorial

Edinburgh students looking for a dose of humble need not go far – just go to any tutorial and it’ll do the job.

Those excruciating silences when your tutor asks anything. The pressure of using the random-opinion-generator in your brain to come up with something “clever” to say about that week’s reading that you definitely did.

Scanning to get into a study zone

Ooh, look at me with my little shiny blue card with my little beaming face printed on it, just waiting for the double beep so I can enter this sanctuary of learning and do my little academic tasks. Just quite embarrassing when you think about it, especially when there’s a queue of stressed-out people behind you.

Cobbled pavements

We’ve all been there – when you do that little semi-trip thing on the cobbles that are everywhere in this beautiful and highly impractical city. Bonus points if you have an audience and the rain has made them practically lethal, so chances of recovery reach zero.

Ending up in Hive

It’s Hive.

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