Things you learn from living in the badlands

It’s not that far out.

Badlands (noun) are defined as “a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. They are characterized by steep slopes, minimal vegetation, lack of a substantial regolith, and high drainage density. They can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. “

Alternatively, if you live in St Andrews, it means anywhere south of the Kinnesburn, where the extortionate cost of living becomes slightly less extortionate, and where there are not one but two affordable supermarkets nearby. And they wonder why people think St Andrews is weird. Nobody else in the world has this many people from places like London and New York who seem to think a twenty minute walk from the town centre represents the end of civilization.

However, though our location differences might be ludicrously exaggerated by our centrally-located fellow students, there are certainly some experiences you get from living in the badlands that you just don’t get anywhere else. So here, for your entertainment (and, if you’ve never strayed beyond the travelator) are some things you learn from living in the back of beyond.

1) The kids here are nice. When I lived in the North Haugh, my only contact with the local schoolkids was based around swearing under my breath at them when they flooded Tesco at lunchtime. Now that I’ve moved out to the badlands, however, I’ve actually had polite conversations with a few of them. There’s one girl who waves at me from her window every time I walk past her house to get into town. While in the town centre students and schoolkids might be nothing more than annoyances to each other, out in the badlands we’re neighbours, which changes things. (To be fair, if my house gets egged, I might come back and edit this.)

2)There are hundreds of students who live in the badlands. From what I’ve seen, no two of us have the same preffered route into town. I’m not sure why this is, or what it means, but I can tell you that my way is the best, and everybody else is wrong.

3)It’s much, much easier to not see the people you’re living with. I last saw my flatmate on Sunday. Every time I check my email, I half-expect to see that he’s dead. If you live in town, your travel radius is much smaller, and it’s much harder not to bump into the people you live with. However, if you’re living in the badlands, the longer walks and times spent out of the house means it’s possible to miss each other for days if your schedules don’t sync. At least, that’s the excuse I’m going to use, because the only other explanation is that I’m an awful flatmate. Hang on for a minute as a guiltily check he’s still alive.

4)Speaking of dead students, If one more person tries to get me to explain in detail where my house lives I’m going to be charged with murder soon. Look, I understand that you’re trying to show interest in me, but it’s hard to explain where I live to someone who spends most of their time north of the river. Just smile and nod when I say “It’s near Aldi.”

5)Come to that, equally annoying are the badlanders who spend their time competing with other badlanders to see who lives furthest away from town. “You live near Aldi? Well I live near MORRISONS.” Guys, we live in a town that could be fitted into a reasonably roomy barrel. Chill.

University of St Andrews