India Doyle: The Final Instalment

As self appointed valedictorian for the graduating class of 2013, I thought that I would write a really emotional, encouraging and potentially patronising final column in which I guide and […]

As self appointed valedictorian for the graduating class of 2013, I thought that I would write a really emotional, encouraging and potentially patronising final column in which I guide and enlighten fellow leavers and younger years alike.

However, having read over the canon of my work, I realise that over the past two years I have already said everything positive and wise that I have to say. I have nothing left to give.

Of course, as a dedicated columnist for such an outstanding publication (pun intended, 1st here I come) I have dug deep and settled on prophesising and postulating the future of St Andrews in the forthcoming years.

My thoughts are as follows:

The library will continue to diligently hunt down and execute all those who converse on the stairwell. In the third year of the 600th anniversary celebrations, the custodians of knowledge will also decide that enough is enough: coffee shall be banned from the library. Students spotted carrying paper cups beyond the golden gates will be tasered and removed from the vicinity. On the fourth year of the 600th anniversary celebrations, having heeded the complaints of unpleasant odours wafting from the hands and clothes of nicotine addicted fiends, smokers shall also be banned. All those who wish to set fire to sticks of paper will be forced to stand within a square foot of taste. Having witnessed on CCTV recurrent transgressions in the short loan section, wherein students renew books to use for their essay, the librarians shall, on the fifth year of the 600th anniversary celebrations, decree that all books shall be destroyed in order to ensure fair and equal education.

In response to the removal of books, on the 3rd December 2023 (the tenth year of the 600th anniversary celebrations) the students of the University of St Andrews, having removed their heads from the all-encompassing virtual reality of facebook, will proceed to stage the storming of the 1413. As a result, all students will be banned from the library. In light of this, the delighted library will announce, via the Wednesday Memos, an unprecedented increase in study space, with a special mention of the availability of power sockets on the top floor.

Having consulted the student body, the University shall reinstate the old timetable with a few amendments: 1) In order to ensure a subordinate and tired population, the university shall remove the reading week. 2) In order to allow professors to pursue their research, the university will also decide to put exams before Christmas. The second semester will however, fully revert to the old timetable, with the amendment that instead of exams in the middle of January, term proper shall begin.

In 2018, in protest against the decision to destroy the books, Louise Richardson will resign as Principal of the University. The librarians will form an emergency committee, electing Hamish as puppet Principal. Hamish’s first decree will be to issue a policy of silence in all areas, and to ban coffee altogether.

As a parting gift to the University, Jamie Ross will write a provocative column which will engender the War of the Red Trousers.

The War will span ten years, wherein students, unable to access the library, spend their time throwing bottles of champagne and cava at each other. The Daily Mail will set up camp on market street, gleefully reporting another ‘champagning incident’ with vigour. As a result of pressure from the University press office, the war will finally be resolved on the twentieth year of the 600th anniversary celebrations. The combatants will meet in bloodied trousers in a just opened Nandos, wherein a reporter from The Stand will note, with characteristic irony, that all the trousers are red.

On the centenary of the 600th anniversary celebrations, Tesco will finally figure out how to meet student demand. St Andrews will be made an official American colony.

More likely though, in a hundred years nothing will have changed at all. 

That’s the thing about St Andrews, there is a fantastic sense of continuity: the traditions we have ensure that despite the turnover of students, the sense of community remains the same. This university will always be a sanctuary in which we can develop and prepare for adult life; where we can form friendships, find lovers, discover subjects we never knew existed and learn how to balance hangovers with work. Life moves at a different pace here in the bubble, and it is time that we should cherish. The sand will always be sweeter here, the cold more bearable, the coffee richer, and the houses more expensive.

Oh St Andrews, my St Andrews, it’s not the end. It’s not even the beginning of the end. But for those of us graduating this June, it might just be the end of the beginning.