Where to find yourself on campus
It’s April. Summer is on the horizon. And you’re barely going to scrape a 2:2 because you’ve spent the past the last seven months in alternating states of drunkenness and being hungover. It would be okay if you had the memories to hold onto, but even they’ve begun to rapidly dissolve from your shrinking brain.
You don’t even have the money to join your friends on their life-affirming summer inter-railing around Europe. Applications for those selfless volunteering programs where you can get your profile picture taken with African children closed weeks ago.
Don’t get down though. Self-realisation is closer than you think. You just have to be willing to take the Magic Bus and £27,000 of debt.
Nestled in the Old Quadrangle (that’s the posh building they conned you in to thinking you would be taught in instead of Stopford), Christie’s is a sanctuary from the hubbub of university life. Reconnect with nature as you dine on their organic ethically sourced sandwiches. Or find spiritual enlightenment beneath the portraits of former university bigwigs and in the company of lecturers munching on their pieces of cake.
Budget: If all you need is an energy coffee then think of it as a profound alternative to Starbucks. Anything more, you might want to bring your debit card.
Similar to: With its blend of nature and history, all at a reasonable cost is you’re just going to drink, Christie’s is the campus equivalent of interrailing around Eastern Europe.
Hidden on the edge of the city centre, the historic North Campus is a humble retreat from the hectic Oxford Road area. Rediscover your inner self within its tendered lawns and the clean lined edifices which border them. Intellectual discussions about computer sciences and engineering will form the ambient backdrop to your meditations, ensuring a comprehensive fulfilment of your spiritual needs.
Similar to: Simple, soothing and soon to be gone, a trip to North Campus resembles a chillier stay in the Maldives.
Lime Café and Gardens
If you’re grappling with the deepest questions of existence then a visit to this secretive café and its summer terrace in the Samuel Alexander building is guaranteed to provide you with countless insights into the meaning of life. Sit outside and close your eyes. The harmony of different languages should drift over to you from the nearby language centre, making you feel like you’re half way across the world.
Budget: Average Food on Campus prices (so you’re probably going to have to go into your overdraft to buy a banana).
Similar to: The peace, exoticism and inflated cost of this subterranean haven mean that it’s like that gap yah stop off in lovely lovely Laos, unpredictable rain showers included.
John Ryland’s Library
Okay, it’s sort of stretching the boundaries of “campus”, but if there’s any university building where you might encounter an Angel who reveals to you the meaning of life and still leave underwhelmed, it’s here. Legend has it that you don’t even need to pick up a pen to learn anything. Your presence in the place alone divinely ordains you with knowledge of the universe.
Budget: The city-centre bus fare, unless you want to take the pilgrimage the authentic way and walk.
Similar to: For all the effort it takes to get there, this is truly an unforgettable, once in a life time experience. It’s the feeling you get when you’re choosing the Instagram filter for the sunrise on that beach in Vietnam, or when you’ve lost 3G on your Amazon rainforest excursion.
University Place Staircase
Ever feel like there’s no escaping people on campus? Well whoever designed the affectionately named “Tin Can” understood your dilemma. This sheltered hideaway underneath the University Place stairs is the perfect spot to gather your inner self after a couple of heavy hours of critical theory. Cry, sleep or laugh yourself into a state of inner bliss, free from the prying stares of onlookers
Budget: You might want to keep a couple of pounds spare for some revitalizing snacks if you intend to stay there a while.
Similar to: It’s like that solitary journey of self-fulfilment around rural Europe or the British Isles that some slightly aloof ‘friend’ from home mentions they embarked on during summer. And you were wondering if they’d managed to fit in at university.