Am I the only one who’s noticed how everyone at RHUL is from Essex?
I could go to Chicagos on Wednesday and the SU on Friday and see the exact same people
I remember sitting in my very first seminar, going through the motions of another “name, where you’re from, interesting fact about yourself” icebreaker.
No sooner had I finished saying “Amelia, Essex, I once put my dead pet mouse in the freezer and forgot about it for 8 months” than the room erupted.
“SHUT. UP. What part?” asked one voice.
“I’m from Romford, do you go to Sugar Hut on Fridays too?” said another.
“Isn’t Monday Mayhem just the best thing ever?” “Do you get your Indian from Chutney Joes?” “Do you remember that man from Chelmsford that used to wear his live cat as a scarf and walk around town?”
That bond of shared experience and recognition hasn’t stopped since.
If you’re reading this and you don’t happen to be from Essex, you probably don’t get what all the fuss is about. The idea of bonding with someone because you’re from the same county is probably alien to you.
What you don’t “get” is that Essex is different from other places: it’s a bitchy, self-absorbed, tacky as fuck bubble.
If we’re being pedantic, it’s my humble opinion that Essex is actually only this gross from the Romford/Dagenham area up until Colchester-ish. In this strip of vajazzled land, Chelmsford is the one saving grace, and I’m not just saying that because I live there, I promise.
So, why have so many kids from this weird and wonderful corner of the country ended up studying at RHUL? In my opinion, there are a few key factors:
It’s really close to home
As I’ve mentioned, Essex is a bubble. As a result, everyone from Essex can be a bit of a pussy because Essex is all they know. For us, a day trip to London is a big thing (unless you live next door to Shenfield station that is).
For this reason, the hour and a half distance between RoHo and Essex is about as far as we’re willing to go in the search of “independence” without losing the ability to get our parents to still do our washing.
It’s a uni for rich people
Essex people are rich people, and RoHo is a rich people uni. On paper, it’s a perfect match.
In reality, we all arrived here from Essex and were left astounded by the sea of Rick Owens shoes and MCM backpacks worn by all the cool Asians. We asked each other: Where are the Vivienne Westwood boat shoes? What’s happened to the Ralph Lauren polo shirts? Is my Gant sweater uncool now?
Everyone from Essex spent their first month at RHUL very confused and questioning everything we ever thought we knew. After a while though, we realised we were just experiencing a different type of wealth and style.
Pretty soon, we’d changed our whole look. The amount of white Essex boys I’ve noticed ditching the DKNY for APC over the course of the year is amazing. The weak will die out, and in this case, that means the navy blazer and jeans combo. Don’t get too excited though, we’re not there entirely yet. The SU still reeks of One Million.
It’s all the London we can handle
If you’re from Essex, all you really know about London is it’s a magical land made up of the Liverpool Street Wetherspoons, Mahiki, and (at a push) Ronnie Scott’s.
We know Hackney is cool but our mums told us it was “druggy” so instead we stick to the Shisha bar behind Selfridges for our edgy London Instagrams.
This fear of the majority of London is why we’re a perfect fit for a “university of London” that’s not even in London. This limited amount of the capital gives us comfort and allows us to go on a night out in the heart of London and wake up somewhere that doesn’t even have a McDonalds. Home sweet RoHo.
It’s as much of a bubble as Essex is
In the same way Essex often feels like it consists of the same 20 people bumping into you over and over again, RoHo’s campus makes it impossible to avoid anyone.
As with back home, everyone here knows someone that’s been incest-y with someone else in their friendship group. There’s a weird six degrees of separation to everyone at RHUL, to the point where that girl you got with the other night will probably be leaving your flatmate’s room holding her heels in a few weeks time.
Essex is no different. In fact, it’s worse. There, the weird connections pile on top of each other to the horrifying point where you realise there’s a genuine chance the odd taste in your mouth is a distant remnant from the genitals of someone you’re loosely related to.
While everyone from Essex bombarded me with in-jokes and local references in that first seminar (and continues to do so now), outsiders are normally only interested in one thing: “Is it like TOWIE and do you know anyone that’s had sex with Joey Essex?”
The answer to the above might be yes, but I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of ever admitting it. Instead, I’ll carry on defending my county and reppin’ that CM postcode until I die, because despite what they might believe, we don’t all wear fake tan, spider eyelashes and diamanté heels, or regularly have sex with Arge behind McDonalds.
I mean, it’s not like I’m from Canvey Island, for Christ’s sake.