Everything you need to know about Soton that the prospectus didn’t tell you

Rats, rats and more rats

Right about now, freshers all over the country are settling into uni (or are at least trying to alongside Covid). We all remember those early days, spending hours unpacking your boxes and fiddling with those very important fairy lights.

Here at Soton Tab, we asked ourselves how we might be able to help our new Uni of Southampton freshers settle in.

No doubt you will have gotten to know the area surrounding your halls but you might not yet be familiar with all the weird and wonderful things Soton Uni has to offer (undoubtedly left out of the prospectus).

So, as follows, here’s all the things left out the prospectus that we think you should know.

1. The rat epidemic

Unfortunately, rats are everywhere in Soton. They literally have no boundaries and even campus isn’t safe, outside Hartley Library seems to be a favourite gathering spot.

If you happen to live on Portswood in second year, you’ll get used to having a few extra furry housemates throughout the year. Good luck guys.

2. How to navigate Hartley Library

No matter how many times you stare at the floor plan, you will struggle to find the book you want in Hartley. If you somehow mastered this first go, you truly are a genius.

Yes, we might be university students but that does not mean we have common sense. It will most likely take you all of first year and a good half of second year to get the hang of it. I recommend using and abusing the library holds system (the librarian will literally go and find it for you, big win).

3. You’ll never actually use your free bus pass

I get it, like me you were probably buzzing that your halls came with a free bus pass. Unlike your friends at home, you weren’t going to have to cough up for your bus travel.

I’m sorry to say it but the excitement stops there. The buses in Soton are actually pretty slow and inconvenient if you have a schedule. A rendezvous into town will see you out of action for at least three hours for a speedy round trip.

Even if they are free (just for you lucky freshers), using other means to travel often becomes the norm.

In addition, the buses don’t actually stop anywhere near your soon to be favourite venues. Whilst Jesters might have a new 10pm curfew, no doubt you will still go but the closest bus stop is Waitrose.  I suggest taking some journey juice and walking. The prospectus definitely didn’t tell you Jesters has been left off the bus route (big sad).

4. You’ll barely use the new buildings on campus

Usually, you hardly get to use the new buildings because they just don’t seem to use them. I’ve only been in the Centenary building once and it was for an hour exam, lovely. However, thanks to Miss Rona, you’ll probably see them even less. Any lectures you do have in person this year will most likely make use of the hideous, decades old structures on Highfield (the Maths block is a real treat).

5.  Trago is your hangover cure

When you’re feeling pretty disgusting and just want some comfort food, Trago is the place to go. Located conveniently in Portswood, the cooked breakfasts will be your saviour. Freshly squeezed orange juice, plenty of caffeinated beverages, you’ll be glad this place exists.

6. Portswood is chaos come 7pm

With the numerous pubs and bars in Portswood, it can get a little crazy come evening. Hoards of students roaming up and down, a little too bevved: It’s like a carnival. Moreover, you’ll probably encounter a few locals who dislike your presence in Soton or on the other end of the spectrum, shout at you from cars if you’re female. Just be prepared.

7.  You have to literally hike up Church Lane

If you do decide to go to Portswood and intend to walk back to Highfield, the quickest route involves our beloved Church Lane.  It requires strength at the best of times, let alone hungover or carrying any heavy shopping bags. I like to give myself a pep talk at the bottom to ensure my safe travel.

8. You’ll call lecturers by their first names

Whilst this one is slightly less Soton specific, I still remember the days when calling my lecturer by their first name felt so inconceivably wrong. However, your lecturers won’t bat an eyelid. The thought of calling them ‘Mr….’ actually feels so abnormal now.

9. Crushampton

This one I seriously couldn’t have survived without as a fresher. We nearly lost our beloved Crushampton but some very kind people made a vol.2, with the same chaotic vibes.

Crushampton is a page where students post anonymously on Facebook, looking for fit students they’ve seen on campus, or more likely answers to some weird af questions.

Related articles recommended by this writer:

‘I vommed on the Interchange map’: Soton students’ nastiest Freshers’ Week stories

‘Widespread ableism is exhausting’: What it’s like being a disabled student at Soton

What your Jesters drink of choice says about you