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We asked Hallam and Uni Of students what it’s like dating someone from their rival uni

‘Til Hallam do us part

Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous stories of all time, not just because it's compulsory for the play to be drilled into kids during adolescence, but because of it's enduring tale of star-crossed lovers, whose love is denied by warring families and a divided society.

Flash forward to 2018, replace the medieval Italian setting of Verona with 21st century Sheffield, West Street Live included, and we have a similar situation. Two sets of couples, each of whom feature partners who go to different universities. But what is it like to choose to binge Netflix with someone who goes to a rival university? We asked Tab writers Dan Burns and Becki Hills what their experiences have been like when it comes to dating people at rival unis.

Becki, University of Sheffield, and Joe, Sheffield Hallam

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It was a fine summer’s day and he picked up the books I gracefully dropped on the ground…

Is how I would have preferred this story to start, but the reality was that we met at work but didn’t ‘get to know each other’ until a night out at Code a few months later. No it’s not particularly Romeo and Juliet, but what do you expect as a uni student?

When I first learnt that Joe was from Hallam, it didn’t particularly phase me.

Of course there were the fundamentally important worries about how we would navigate Varsity events, the ‘Roar or HallamNation’ debate, and the trek from Eccy Road to Crookesmoor. But aside from these very pressing initial problems, the uni rivalry was soon overcome.

As an Essex girl, I’m very used to people having an opinion on where I come from, so the response to becoming a traitor to Uni Of and dating a Hallam boy was easy to cope with.

My boyfriend is nicknamed ‘Token Hallam’ in all of our group chats and my mates regularly shout ‘classic Hallam’ whenever he does anything remotely silly, but he’s quickly gotten used to the roasting.

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Before meeting Joe, I’d never had anything to do with Hallam. My only thoughts concerning Hallam were making sure to not wear Uni Of stash when going to the train station, to avoid the judgemental glares, and coming up with insulting chants on the trams during Varsity.

Since crossing to the dark side, I’ve learnt that Uni Of really is better than Hallam but the students aren’t so scary after all.

I wish I could say Joe's now a Uni Of convert and that he spends his days singing the praises of the superior university and hanging around the IC desperately trying to fit in, but he treats Uni Of in the same way as I treat Hallam.

We roast each other constantly and he posts mocking pictures of me on Snapchat whenever I wear my Varsity top in his presence. He’s come to accept that Uni Of isn’t the posh and pretentious place he once thought it was, but ultimately he still bleeds maroon.

Dan, Sheffield Hallam, and Hannah, University of Sheffield

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I met Hannah on Tinder. I sent her a message saying "hey". I've just got a way with words.

The extent of my Tinder experience was limited and the most interesting conversation I'd had previously was with a girl who sent me every. single. lyric to 'No. 1 Party Anthem' by Arctic Monkeys. I quickly unmatched. Hannah and I started talking and we hit it off straight away.

I wasn't particularly phased by the fact that Hannah went to Uni of Sheffield and I went into our first date with sanguine eyes; I'd applied for Uni Of myself during my A-Levels but ended up going to Hallam. Not so much "Hallam 'til I die", more "Hallam 'til I redeem my terrible A-Level results".

When we first met she wasn't anything like the posh, Oxbridge wannabe stereotype that people often make red brick students out to be, and our first date went smoothly – although we went to a barbecue restaurant, which isn't ideal when trying to retain your dignity, if anything it's akin to falling down Corp's stairs right in front of your date. I ate a hot dog with a knife and fork, Hannah carved away at half a chicken with a steak knife. It's always good to see someone at their most primal within two hours of meeting them.

Since we've been together I've spent more time in and around Uni Of, I've started writing for The Tab after a recommendation from one of Hannah's friends who studies at Uni Of (who is now my Co-Editor at The Tab), and have an offer to study an MA at the university starting next year.

Hannah often says I'm not the typical Hallam student, which is true, as I don't study sports science or care about Varsity. She's become more defensive of Hallam and has made friends with other people from Hallam, although there is still the stereotypical Hallam student here and there.

I think at the end of the day, if you can put up with someone's annoying habits and still find the time to rewatch Brooklyn Nine-Nine over and over, it doesn't matter what uni they go to.