Here are five things I learnt about Exeter when visiting other universities

I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else

During my time at Exeter, I have been on the occasional weekend trip to other universities. Luckily, the majority of my school friends also chose unis in the South West, so I must confess most of my comparisons are the result of many chaotic weekenders in Cardiff or Bristol. I have occasionally ventured further afield, but my conclusions are always more or less the same – I’m not sure I could hack anywhere else. When you compare it to other places, Exeter feels like a bit of a bubble. I’m yet to walk up Forum Hill without seeing at least one familiar face, which definitely has its pros and cons, depending on how you look at it. Particularly at non-campus unis, it’s possible to get from A to B without bumping into anybody. So, here are five things I’ve learnt about Exeter from  visiting other unis.

1. Exeter feels relatively safe

Of course, there are streets I wouldn’t walk down alone at night but on the whole, I’ve realised Exeter feels quite safe compared to other universities. As a great lover of an Irish goodbye, me disappearing on a night out is something my friends in Exeter are fairly used to. Even after five Venoms and a couple of Tiki Fires, I will make the journey from TP back to my house with minimal hassle.

However, after deciding to make a sudden exit from a nightclub in Cardiff, things became problematic. I wouldn’t call it kidnapping per say (although my friends definitely would) but within about a minute of leaving the club I was being “dropped home” by someone who claimed to be the taxi driver I had never called. Where was Apple Taxis when I needed them?

2. No club compares to Vaults

If you’re a lover of multi-storey nightclubs that stay open until 4am, then unfortunately Exeter is not the place for you. When I set off to visit Nottingham, I was fully prepared to return feeling miserable about the state of Exeter’s nightlife. However, during the course of the weekend it occurred to me that there is nothing quite like the feeling of ending up in Vaults after a long night in TP. Staying out until close in a huge club is just not as exhilarating as hearing the first mentions of Vaults as TP’s playlist draws to a close. The best part is waking up on a Thursday morning and being able to say you ended up in Vaults. It is truly a badge of honour.

3. The student living area is very compact

Moving swiftly on a more wholesome attribute of Exeter, visiting other unis has made me appreciate the fact that the student living area in Exeter essentially comprises of three streets. This is also the case for first year accommodation – even the trek from Birks to East Park can be done in under 15 minutes. All of your friends (except for the ones who have gone rogue) are a short walk away, which I really value given my tumultuous relationship with Uber.

When I visited Bristol, I wanted to split my time between two friends who were in different accommodations. I was due to attend pres in one halls but return to the other accommodation before heading out, which would have been a relatively simple operation had I been in Exeter. However, in Bristol, what I failed to accommodate in my schedule was the 40 minute walk in between halls. I’m not much of a planner, so I’m a big fan of the spontaneity that the Exeter living situation allows for.

4. Timepiece acts as an honorary Students’ Union club

For the entirety of my first year, I was under the impression that Exeter did not have a Students’ Union club. This caused me much distress, as I had visited unis where the SU was the place to go on Wednesday for sports night. If you’ve been to Cardiff, I’m sure you will agree that their SU is elite and puts the Lemon Grove to shame. When I was a fresher, the Lemmy was still under construction, hence the confusion, but even when it reopened and suddenly became the place to go on a Saturday (for about two weeks) it never made it as the venue for sports night. Nothing annoys me more than slaving away on Facebook in search of an overpriced TP ticket, just to eventually get one and realise the entry time doesn’t match up with your friends. Exeter needs to up its game in this department.

5. We are so lucky to be in Devon

I’ve saved this one until last, as it’s probably the best thing about Exeter when you compare it to the location of other unis. Big cities trump Exeter in many ways when it comes to things to do, but when I’ve visited them, I’ve always felt slightly trapped. The fact that you can get out of Exeter is personally one of my favourite things about being at uni here. I visited Nottingham during the summer term and although there is so much going on in the city, you can’t just decide to go cliff jumping, have a beach day or head down to Cornwall. The location of Exeter is incomparable to other unis and although I am sometimes jealous of the busy city lifestyle some of my friends enjoy, I don’t think it’s for me.

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