The stages of walking up the back gate hill before your 9am

Feet, don’t fail me now


For those of us who live the Egham side of campus there is one major pitfall. The hill up to uni at 9am. Instead of birds chirping you hear rats scuffling, and most of all, the sound of students stifling their burning tears.

I can do this

You start off promisingly at Spring Rise. You’ve been back at uni for a while now, you’re more than capable of walking up this hill. You’ve tackled this hill so many times. So what if it’s early? If you can manage not falling asleep in your lecture, you can manage this hill.

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Backpack full of energy

Shit, I’m at the hill

Panic strikes. A few more steps and you’ll be on the hill. You try to embrace your inner Destiny’s Child attitude and stamina, you’re a survivor, you’re not going to give up. But you’re feeling more Daniel Beddingfield than Beyoncé – you just gotta get thru this.

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If only I can get thru this

Why is my bag so heavy?

You start to make excuses for already being out of breath. It must be the weight of your bag, or the uncomfiness of your shoes. Did you eat your daily banana this morning? Nope, and that’s why this hill is so bad. That bowl of crunchy nut was not nutritional, you should have had porridge or kale or something. Actually, you also definitely didn’t get your full ten hours of sleep last night. Of course you’re struggling!

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You have to hold your coat, it’s too warm

If I take 5 steps at a time it will be faster and easier

Why you always lying? You try this technique every single time you get to the first set of stairs, heaving your body up as many steps as your legs can stretch to at a time, trying to get a good pace. It’s working, you think, you’re so close, and you can take the burn for a few more stairs. You’re a survivor, remember? But as you reach the top and see the next set of stairs not even the two minutes you spent on the step machine at the gym last week is helping you now.

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No cute bend and snap here

I’ve passed a group of people, I can take it easy now

Your legs are aching from the last stairs. Back to one step at a time. Your feet are like lead as you climb the second set of stairs. Why did you choose a uni on a hill? Who even builds a uni on a hill?

You’re nearly there…well, nearly at the next set of steps anyway. You try that meditative breathing your mum tells you to do when you can’t sleep so you’re not panting when you reach campus.

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Why is it so much easier when you’re going to the SU?

I can’t go any further

The steps are over, now it’s time to choose which way you go – do you wanna go to the left or do you wanna turn right? Will you take the long, awkward steps up to Tuke, or will you dwindle up the long bendy hill and cut through the car park?

It’s too much. It’s time to call your mate and ask them to sign you in. Let them know you may not make the lecture, you’re tired and need a lie down. Maybe you’ll make the seminar after a cooling bubble tea. Your forehead is damp with failure and you’re breathing like Darth Vader. Your mum’s meditative breathing is total shit.

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I’m gonna take a nap right here

Don’t kid yourself about being able to make it next week. You’ve been trying to tackle this hill for months. 9am’s just don’t work for you with this hill. It’s probably time to move to Englefield Green.