Hookups, socials and TP: What Exeter students are missing most about pre-Covid uni

Just want Ram curly fries back x

To say that Covid has disrupted the university experience is a huge understatement. Lectures, seminars and tutorials are mostly all online, any opportunity to mix through societies and sports is practically non-existent, and you can’t visit your friends inside their houses. This is not the year returners wanted, nor what freshers had imagined.

Whilst it is uncertain when we will get back to normality, or if we will have to get used to this “new normal,” instead, we can all take pleasure in re-living the good old times, and reading about the things that really made uni worthwhile.

We asked Exeter students on our Instagram what they missed most about pre-Covid uni. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe you’ll cry, but either way, here’s a few reminders of what we’ve been missing so far, and what we’ve come to expect, and appreciate, from Exeter life:

Clubbing and nights out

Without a doubt, clubbing is most the popular and sorely missed aspects of university life according to students at Exeter. No more are the days when you’d stagger your way to Friday TP, praying you weren’t going to be given a token and told to “come back later,” or rocking up to Quids In, ready to spend £7 and get royally sloshed.

Now, you have to book in advance to get just a taste of what life was like before, and no matter how many 3 for 10 Jägerbombs you have, it really isn’t the same. Who would’ve thought the hot and sweaty Fever disco room would be desirable?

Post-night out grub

As we all know, there’s no better way to follow a night out than with food. Regardless of your stance on the best post-night out food spot (*cough* Sidwell’s), there’s nothing quite like coming together as a student community, murdering a song at the top of your voices, and simultaneously destroying some of the finest cuisine known to man. Stunning.

Sports clubs and societies

Unsurprisingly, many of you have told us that one of the biggest parts of uni life you’re missing are the sports clubs and societies. Whether it’s training, matches, rehearsals, or any other society event you’re craving, its safe to say there’s a society-shaped hole in each of our lives.

Socials, socials, socials

A key aspect of any University experience is, of course, socials. There is a bleak absence of socials in Exeter right now, and all we can do is look back at our fave social pictures with fond memories. Wednesdays just don’t feel right anymore when you’re not absolutely obliterated at 8:30pm, wandering around in whatever ‘costume’ you’ve created last minute that *kind of* confirms to that night’s theme.

One-night stands

Whether you believe these are an essential part of the full uni experience or not, students have confessed they miss the random and drunk hookups pre-Covid uni provided.

Whilst I doubt Tinder is lacking in profiles at the moment, the idea of socially-distanced dating doesn’t really have the same appeal as drunkenly bonding with someone based on which colour VK they prefer.

Complaining about Forum Hill

It may have been the bane of our lives last year, but complaining about the mountain that is Forum Hill brings students from all walks of life (pun-intended) together.

It seems the seagulls have finally taken back what’s theirs.

Seeing friends on campus

Seeing friends on campus, grabbing a quick coffee with them between lectures and admiring “the views” has been a sorely-missed experience for many students, particularly by those who are vulnerable and don’t have the option to meet people elsewhere.

Making the most of the opportunities where you can see others seems to be most students’ priority – unless, of course, you’re someone who despises other beings, and in that case, live your best life.

Overnight/long library sessions

Continuing with the campus-related theme, not being able to work through the night in the library has been a disappointment for some students. Whilst we haven’t hit the peak assessment period yet, being forced to work in your house, or having to conform to the daily opening times of campus and coffee shops, is just not the vibe.

It’s almost like they don’t want us to spend the entire time eating snacks and then leaving.


Unfortunately, the limited contact time on campus means that a large majority of us will no longer be able to spend an extortionate amount of money on the sandwiches supplied by Forum Pret.

A blessing in disguise perhaps?

Ram curly fries

Another food-related one. Another lost soldier. Gone but not forgotten.

Pub trips in big groups

The rule of six is only decent if you have five friends/housemates or less. Gone are the days where you can rock up to Impy almost guaranteeing you’ll know people there, and chatting with those you keep saying you’ll go for a coffee with when sober but never actually getting around to it.

All you can do now is wave from across the room, or, if you’re lucky, say a quick hello in the loo.

Batty Bingo

Yes they’re still holding events, and it is one of the few things that sort of resembles pre-Covid reality, so we shouldn’t be picky, but socially-distancing from other Batty-goers (all 300 of them, as opposed to the 800+ usually there) doesn’t create the same ink-tastic atmosphere that usually fills Mecca bingo. Especially when the ink just ruins your mask.

There’s definitely an element of nostalgia attached to scrubbing obscenities off your forehead before heading into campus the next morning.

Not going to 8:30s (or 9:30s, or 10:30s)

No super-late nights out and no hungover treks to campus mean that there are fewer excuses for missing those early-morning starts.

Instead, rolling out of (or staying in) bed is the new norm – at least you can blame your camera being off on dodgy WiFi, right? Thanks Virgin xo

Hugging friends

Self-explanatory. We miss it.

Regardless of what you miss about normal uni, it’s fair to say this next year is going to be an odd one. You may not be able to do all the things you had planned, or in the same manner, but we’re students, we’re resilient, and most importantly, we can get drunk and have fun anywhere.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• ‘The only thing declining is my mental health’: Students on Exeter’s ‘soft lockdown’

• Exeter Uni is giving £40 ‘digital entertainment hamper’ to self-isolating students

• ‘I peed in the TP bin’: All your wildest pre-Covid Exeter night out confessions