Ellie Healy: Week 5

With the beauty of hindsight, Ellie wonders if Hallward was all a bit Mean Girls…

Throughout the tornado of stress that was this summer’s exam period, whenever I passed through the holy glass doors of Hallward, the bit in ‘Mean Girls’, when Janis explains cafeteria etiquette, always popped into my head.


Following the escapades of #TeamBigBoy last week, it is clear that Hallward is not just a place of study; Hallward is a place to do pretty much whatever the hell you want, and generally do a lot less work than you would have done at home on your own. Because it was such a crowded hangout during exams, finding a seat and/or computer was hard. Really hard.

The Cafe-sort of place is immediately on your right. The main advantage of coming here is obviously the cheap Starbucks to help you through the day. I pointed this out to a particular Rah once, who told me that, “I’m more of a Costa girl myself, it’s worth the walk to Portland and the extra money” … shut up. Coffee-freaks are so annoying.

You often found people in here sitting on those annoying, tall, swivelly stool things. You felt sorry for them, because this meant they couldn’t find a computer anywhere else. Trying to do work in here was never a wise idea, since you were surrounded by people munching, slurping and chatting shit about what went down in Coco Tang last night, and how they much prefer Caramel Macchiatos to Iced Lattes. Thrilling.

please stop talking

There was the odd geeky guy who chilled in there with his saucy Macbook pretending to do work, but who was actually just playing Minecraft on the sly.

For some reason, I started my search downstairs first, in the weird underground room place. There’s a really chilled vibe down there, and everybody always seems to be chatting merrily, with their feet up, like “Yeah mate, I’m studying and loving life, yah.”

You spot your first BNOC in here usually, who was potentially either one of your Karni reps from halls, or somebody you know your friend has slept with, or something similarly awkward. You do the painful ‘cool-wave-and-nod’ routine to each other.

If you couldn’t find a computer down here (which I don’t think I ever did), you started to panic a little. You search the group study rooms, which are usually filled with Asian nerds or geeky post grads, who stare at you when you walk in like they want to impale you.


On the walk up the stairs, you’d typically bump into someone on your course, who you chat to occasionally, but don’t know them well enough to talk about anything interesting or funny, like sex or poo. So you’d divulge in some boring discourse for approximately four minutes about how tough the coursework is (“Oh ma gerrrddd, I hate referencing soooo much”) and then make an excuse like “oh mate, I left my sandwich by my desk and I’m scared someone’s gonna eat it” before you dash off.

On the stairs you also found people that were leaving to go home, which was well depressing, and also irritating white females on the phone, who always looked fairly concerned, as if they’ve just been told that their dog needs an operation or something.

There is a dark blue depressed-looking sign that hangs above the computers on the Law and Social Sciences floor. It reads ‘Silent Section’, which could quite possibly be the most pointless means of persuasion ever.

Here, you would have had the classic fat kid, who sits in the corner on his/her own munching on their meal deal from the SU shop, two girls who are on the same course that sit next to each other and don’t shut up, and occasionally a Polish-looking post grad wearing funny clothes, who looks like she doesn’t even go here.


On that floor and the floor upstairs, while you frantically search for somewhere to sit, you stare longingly into those glass boxes that are reserved for organised people who book them weeks in advanced, and even though you know it’ll definitely, DEFINITELY be locked, you always try to pull the door open just in case.

After a while, I’d give up, and trudge back down the hill to George Green, where I’d do my work trying to fight off fits of paranoia, fretting that someone would find out I did humanities and publicly humiliate me.

I’m so glad exams are over. It’s so fetch.