The places in UCL you’ll belong in based on what school stereotype you were
We can’t all thrive in the Student Centre.
You’re fresh out of secondary school, ready to leave the cliques and fake IDs behind and explore the big wide world of London. The fairy lights have been bought, the uniform has been ditched and the Facebook freshers groups have been joined. ‘Finally,’ you think, ‘I can reinvent myself. Everyone can be themselves at uni.’
False. Yes, the popular girls are nowhere to be seen, mainly because they reached their peak at 16 and now work in a hair salon, and the geeks are no longer bullied but worshipped for being smart. However, in your naivety you will forget one small detail: it’s not that easy to change personality overnight. Like it or not, you belong to a stereotype, and this will probably guide your first-year experience. Not all of us have the capacity for accompanying brunch with a rollie every day or spending 10 hours in the library drinking Monster, and thus, places of solace around campus form.
Here is where you’ll feel most comfortable on UCL campus based on your school stereotype:
The rugby boy
Downstairs on the light-up dancefloor at Loop making eyes at every girl in a mile radius on a Wednesday night. He feels a sense of calm in the terrible music transitions and near-boiling temperature of the lower ground. Preferably will have a VK in hand and a half-hearted woman’s costume on, having just taken the bus to sports night and settled firmly into his designated corner of the club. Loop is a second home to this testosterone-filled, overly excited rugby fresher, who will likely have only just discovered girls at uni despite boasting about his enormous body count, thanks to his all-boys private school.
The indie skater boy
Lurking around the Institute Bar on Jazz Night, spending as long in the smoking area as he does on his ‘luscious wavy locks’ in the mornings. He’s either drinking a pint outside and explaining his sensitive side to an innocent fresher (who will proceed to fall madly in love with him) or is sitting on the sofas in a tiny beanie and intermittently playing snooker with a permanent frown on his face. This is the only place where the indie boy can eye-fuck anyone he chooses and it will almost always work, so he is happy to settle in this indistinctly less mainstream bar and let his ego fly to new heights.
Discloser: he will definitely ruin your life.
The girl obsessed with musicals
Backstage at Bloomsbury Theatre with the drama soc she just joined, looking admiringly at all the props and saying how much she loves Legally Blonde while planning her world domination. Is definitely a lowkey psychopath, but when placed in a theatre she is a little better to deal with. At least here, she can try and pass her blatant ADHD as a ‘fiery passion for the arts’ with some success, and as she is usually surrounded by 20 people with the same chaotic energy, can happily convince herself that she doesn’t subconsciously want to rule mankind.
The Depop flares and rollies girl
Either at Planet Organic spending way too much on beeswax face cream or in the UCLH A&E room at 4am after taking it way too far on a night out (most likely at an event put on by Not Cool or Savage). There’s no in-between.
The international school kids
When they’re not milling around talking to the excessive number of friends around campus they’ve known for 2 weeks, the preppy international kids can be found in Print Room Café, usually performing a balancing act between their matcha latte, Gucci bag and stickered up Macbook. They are most comfortable when surrounded by a group of equally preppy people, and as a unit will sip cold-brew and discuss their politics or philosophy assignments painstakingly for 5 hours straight. When not performing this ritual, they actually do dinner parties in their studio kitchens after uni on a weekly basis.
The hot messes
The weird Stone Willy’s pizza place next to Gordon’s Café which puts so much cheese on everything that it should be illegal. However, this works well for the hot messes, who can happily consume their body weight and do not consider the possibility of diabetes, because, realistically, they probably won’t even make it through uni without some very serious accidents, a few ODs here and there, and a round of every illness going. I support you but honestly have lost all sense of how to help you.
The one who has their entire life plan sorted
In their unofficial official seat in the Student Centre, armed with a pack of pastel highlighters and all the reading material they’ll ever need for the next 5 years. Makes the rest of us look horrendously unprepared, and, quite frankly, we all want to be them. Dominates their area of the Student Centre with such grace and unintentional intimidation that it becomes clear to everyone that this is a building for success, not all-nighters after forgetting to do an assignment until the very last minute. They will never know why they feel so much comfort when inside the Student Centre, but we all do.
The bland science boy
After desperately trying and failing to become more interesting after secondary school, he has resorted to sitting outside the Christopher Ingold building in a shirt the exact same colour as the walls, smoking a cigarette and doing absolutely nothing. Will half-heartedly try to switch things up at different occasions in first year, and successfully manages to attend at least 2 SU nights with some randos that he has latched on to, but secretly is at his happiest in this exact spot, smoking a cigarette and doing absolutely nothing.
The hench boy
These guys disappeared for the entirety of sixth and came out the otherside looking hench as fuck, and oh boy do they know it. Outside one of the gyms around campus waving his protein shake in your face and complaining how busy his schedule is in between gym and lectures. Will never ever be seen at the actual UCL gym because it’s too mainstream, and prefers the weights at Pure Gym on Tottenham Court Road or something stupid. Is way too in love with himself to ever consider a relationship with anyone else but his pre-prepared chicken and rice meals, and will either give up the grind halfway through the first year to develop a real personality or religiously clock into this second home. To be fair to him, the dedication to the uni glow-up was impressive, so we’ll allow him to sit outside his gym and talk about it for all eternity.
The sporty girl
Somewhere in the SU rushing between hockey training and band practice while running 5 societies at once. When she’s not sitting on the sofas catching a single breath in between activities, she’s out on sports events, and literally has not slept a wink since Year 11, so feels most comfortable in those brief moments in the SU where she doesn’t want to cry from exhaustion. When she inevitably cracks under the pressure, she will abandon her sacred post at the SU and have a breakdown in her halls loos, because at least this way no one can see her weakness. She then returns, like the absolute hero she is, and repeats the same process all year.
The straight-up crackhead
Sneaking lines in at Phineas at 6 pm on a Tuesday because there’s nothing better to do. You can try and stop them, but it will always be slightly funnier to watch what happens, so you don’t. Prepare for 3 years of this exact behaviour.
As you begin to settle into campus, you will find your people and your place. So sit back and watch the university watering hole unfold because truly the scenes are comparable to that of a David Attenborough documentary.