How and where to find yourself on campus
So you’ve missed out on the gap yah experience: your mates have hugged the tigers, volunteered in orphanages, partied with too much neon face paint and instragrammed loads of landmarks they won’t remember the name of.
Luckily, that spiritual journey of self-realization is still in reach around campus. If you wish to become a true introvert, treat the following beacons as your Lonely Planet compass, and follow my guide.
FLAT CAPS COFFEE
Hidden away in a side street, Flat Caps is a shabby-chic café/shop, selling a range of eastern merchandise and self-help books. Envious of your mates’ bag that was hand-woven by a 95 year-old Ugandan granny? Find one in Flat Caps! The odds of finding yourself here are definitely in your favour. Added bonus: the sourdough toasties are pretty fantastic.
BEST FOR: Working on your Apple Mac or catching-up with friends over cold-brew coffee and red-velvet cheesecake.
CROWD: Flat Caps tends to draw in students reading creative degrees. They’ll usually attempt to discuss Plato’s reputes, like love in The Symposium and contemplate on whether to let on to their Ancient History friends about this hidden gem.
ATMOSPHERE: Tranquil and peaceful.
Overlooking a beautiful view of the SU and Newcastle’s well-kept greenery, you will feel a sense of calm spending an afternoon in the main level café. Pair that visual with some affordable tapas and this months’ i-D magazine, and Voila! – You’ll waken your inner mantra.
BEST FOR: People-watching and nursing a hangover in unnecessary style.
CROWD: Activists and theatre buffs called Benedict are likely to be found sipping filter coffee here. Black. Though Benedict’s aren’t particularly humorous , the sense of intrigue they exude based on their sexy facade and knowledge on current affairs is sure to make up for it.
ATMOSPHERE: A European milieu indeed! (Tends to get crowded, so watch out for cute elderly couples hogging up tables).
QUILLIAM BROTHERS’ TEAHOUSE
This teahouse certainly knows how to set the scene without being saccharine. While they definitely won’t insert opium into your beverage, it’s still a killer place for soul searching. Forget about the social angsts of feeling safety in numbers, this place is great on your one-some so don’t be shy and balls it out.
BEST FOR: Escaping the intense languor of university halls and expectations.
CROWD: Intelligent eccentrics like Augustus, Bruschetta and Ying-Xia will come here to liaise on their group projects and recall former love affairs. It’s the classier version of Flat Caps, but with a lovely young staff that will ask you how uni’s going and put a smile on your face!
ATMOSPHERE: Warm, decorous and demure.
OLD LIBRARY BUILDING
This space evokes a sensual air the Robinson Library does not. With stain glass windows, complete with a modern red brick, The Old Library should be utilized by all who need some self-reflection, or even some comedy! It’s always a laugh watching panicked students rush to the printers in erratic efforts to get their deadlines in. Trust me – you will find yourself going as religiously as an Italian-American teenager in the Bronx goes to confession.
BEST FOR: Feeling like a worldly academic and possibly scoring a date. (Good looking internationals in there)
CROWD: Academics and hard workers who take the rules of the library very seriously. Silence…but now you can concentrate on your inner god/goddess. Winning!
ATMOSPHERE: Cultured and refined.
LEAZES COW FIELD
Castle Leazes, Spital Tongues, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE2, 4NY
Did you really think I would miss this one out? Throughout the years, Leazes residents have kindled a soft spot for these fields of gold, and will remain to do so till the cows come home. Since I’ve arrived at uni, this field has hosted some of my all time highs and lows: elation, heartache …and even self-loathing. Nevertheless, it lends a serenity, that can burn the stress even in the grimmest of days – Just ask anyone on a bench!
BEST FOR: Mid-day fiestas, gazing at average sunsets before hitting the Dining Hall and prolonging the doomful-ridden comedown after a great night.
CROWD: You’ve got your Southerners, Northerners, joggers, smokers, stoners, scalpers, athletes, boarding school circle, edgy 90’s babies, creative talents, Freemans crowd, underrated Eustace Percy, Havelock crew; the greatest people you will ever meet …and the worst. Beware of Tom Berry’s minions. (Put the wristbands down).
ATMOSPHERE: Totes rah! in the worst and best ways. A great vibe overall, but that’s completely weather and company dependant.
Disclaimer: In all likelihood, the aforementioned information was probably useless. Sorry! Instead, consider soul searching via the lessons classic gangster films preach: Give and get love unconditionally, always look out for your friends and accept people for what they are. Finally, attempt a lecture from time to time. It won’t kill you to learn something. I have no personal experience to prove the effects of these suggestions (yet!), but I harbour them.
After all, there are no happy endings in life …Except at the massage parlour.