The highs and lows of being tiny at uni

She’s 4’8″


Life at uni brings many new challenges and experiences, regardless of what you study or where you are from. However, these are very different when you’re 4’8″.

Of course, being so vertically challenged has its perks, including an abundance of leg room, inevitably becoming the “cutest” member of all friendship groups and, most importantly, the art of passing through the crowd for the U1. However, there are a few setbacks.

Coming from a small, rural town, nightlife was never that stressful: with the option of one local club and a regular crowd, I was well within my comfort zone. I soon realised university life would be a little different and issues began to surface. Taking an elbow to the face while stranded in the middle of a heaving club is something I quickly had to adjust to. In a crowded space and among the intoxicated masses, little can protect a person of small stature from the beating they’re about to experience. The only defence is relying on taller friends to encircle you to safety.

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With the bodyguards

ID is an essential for most students, but absolute gold dust for PORG’s (People of Restricted Growth). After being ID’d at 19 for an age 12 film, I soon realised I would get nowhere without it. Although, the look on the bartender’s face as I ask for a pint of lager, barely managing to peek over the bar, is more than worth the hassle.

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It’s the same size as my head

Another integral part of smallness is the constant pressure to fit into peculiar and small spaces. After being tested in tent bags, Christmas stockings and cupboards, it soon became apparent this was the gift that kept on giving. I would be subjected to height tests forevermore, with German Soc even managing to create a tower of cups to match my petite biological makeup.

As my first term as a fresher drew to a close, I decided to pop along to the SU’s foam party with one of my flatmates. After the first round of the canon, I was having the time of my life, drinks were flowing, and tune after tune was blasting. The second lot of foam flew out, and despite the disintegration of all makeup and the overwhelming smell of fairy liquid, spirits remained high. This is when things took a turn for the worst.

I began to realise that as each round of foam was sprayed, it began to build up and increase in height. By round three, I knew I was in trouble. Determined to make the most of the night, we headed for the front of the crowd and eagerly awaited the onslaught of bubbles. After another shot from the cannon, and with foam up to my shoulders, I knew I was out of my depth. With the potentially fatal fourth round of foam fast approaching, my flatmate suggested giving me a piggyback. I thought all my problems had been solved, until a cannon full of foam landed into my face and I fell down to the floor.

As I hit the ground, my face was now submerged, over four feet of foam left me blinded, confused, panicked and, crucially, unable to breathe. My fight or flight instinct soon kicked in and I began to run in any direction I could, hoping to emerge from the soapy air. After a few attempts, I managed to escape. It was left to my flatmate to find me, and as he put it best, it was like “trying to find a teaspoon in a bowl of washing up”. In hindsight I can see the funny side, but never again will I underestimate the threat of harmless fun.

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Post foam burial

No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to overcome the dreaded nightclub comments. Despite being this height on a daily basis, many fellow clubbers feel a need to state the obvious. The lack of quality banter shocks me, with basic remarks like “how tall are you?”, “aren’t you small?”, “can you hear me down there?”, “what’s the weather like on your level?” all way too over-used. Although it’s often meant in good spirit, please all get some better questions: me and the other tiny people are far from grateful for your observant and frankly dull comments.