I went to SkoolDayz for the first time and I actually didn’t hate it

“I’m not really here, it’s research”

Through the peaks and troughs of the pandemic, the pressures that come with settling into university, learning to cook and pay bills, and of course, the academic side of life, sometimes there feels like there’s no time to do much else except work out how to live. Now in my second year, I felt as though something was missing, and came to quite a shocking realisation.

I have never been clubbing. 

Okay, that’s a slight lie; I did go to Kasbah during the pandemic, where everyone was seated and we were ultimately kicked out by 10pm, but I refuse to believe this was an acceptable, first time clubbing experience, and I have done everything since to wipe it from my memory. Eww. 

I encouraged my friends to take me along to SkoolDayz, circling beforehand to get the most out of my first, and very overdue, Saturday night on campus. My friend Sian just so happens to be social sec of Warwick Riding Soc, and was more than happy to take me under her wing (that, and I didn’t really give her a choice).

Although we were due to arrive at seven, Stagecoach had other plans, and so at half past, we finally began what would be my first circling experience.

7:30pm: Circling Begins

Taken only minutes before circling began – you can definitely see the fear in my eyes…

It was clear everyone had done this before at least once, and so I did what any first-timer would do – freak out. This soon faded though, and not knowing the rules actually made the evening way more fun.

8:30pm: Break

I don’t remember an awful lot, other than one tactical chunder from Sian (sorry) and a whole lot of leg stretching and fresh air. This was also where I caught sight of just how stained my school shirt was – pro tip, have a box of Vanish at home to get out purple stains.

During this break, I remember talking to Sian (post-vom) and telling her how I was really starting to get the hang of this whole circling thing. It seemed pretty easy, as long as I wasn’t picked on first. Maybe I’m just a bit of a circling natural?

So far, so good.

9pm: The Second Half

I take back everything I said about being a natural at circling.

I have no idea what happened over the break, but I couldn’t help but feel like everyone came back with zero energy, even myself. I was tripping up on the rules a lot more, often just finishing my drink because I couldn’t be bothered working out the rules. My confident façade started to slip, but that was okay – I started talking to some new people and turned the second half of circling into a social experience.

10pm: Circling Ends (Phew)

One of the rules of circling – no phone, unless you would like your social sec to ruin your relationship with one of your contacts. So whilst I didn’t have an opportunity to document my experience, please enjoy these photos, taken minutes before circling started, and minutes after it ended.

Before vs after – dare I say more?

It’s hard not to get sleepy when you’re constantly sipping (or chugging) your drinks, and so to hear the words “we’re done” was music to my ears.

If you’ve never been circling before and you’re wondering if you should go, take it from me – yes! But from one newly-crowned circling expert to another, I have a few tips. Firstly, don’t wear good shoes as chances are, you (or someone else) might be drinking out of it. Next, if you don’t understand the rules, don’t panic. Tbh, you’re not supposed to understand what’s going on, so be confident and the rest will follow. Just try to pay attention- it’s crucial! And finally, go with a group of friends who’ve circled before – they’ll help ease any awkwardness.

After getting purple down myself and way too many rounds of sexy Roman numerals, it was time to head into the Copper Rooms and see what the fuss was about, but not before our group lost Sian – the first fallen soldier of the night.

10:30pm: First Time In The Copper Rooms

Okay maybe I – at my big height of four foot eleven – am not the best person to be stuck in the middle of a crowd, but I am honestly surprised I didn’t go missing. 

Did you really go to SkoolDayz if you don’t get an obligatory bathroom selfie?

Eventually my energy made quite the comeback from the sluggish second-half of circling – maybe I’m a pessimist, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy myself quite as much as I did. I still had three hours to go, and so decided to put my Louis Theroux-esque research aside for one moment, and got on with the evening.

12am: I Nearly Bail

To give the night my fairest opinion, I stuck it out for as long as I could (I really did, okay?) and found the longer you stay, the better it gets – you just have to get over those awkward moments of not knowing how to dance, not knowing the lyrics, because soon enough, I found my feet. Of course there were a few times after midnight where the thought of a hot shower and being somewhere that didn’t smell of purple and sick was very pleasant, but I stuck it out a little longer, making my shower when I got home all the more worthwhile.

Throughout the night, I was pleasantly surprised by the songs, ranging from Arctic Monkeys to Paramore to Avril Lavigne and the Wombats. I definitely felt like SkoolDayz was a very inclusive event, and whilst I wouldn’t rate the music as “old-school”, it was pretty great.

Hiding the absolutely disgusting stains on my shirt.

1:30am: I Bail. Properly.

But Liza, I hear you say whilst reading this, did you not stay until close? Did you not go to Vialli’s afterwards?

No. No I did not.

I’m a simple creature, I enjoy my sleep, and there is no better feeling than going to bed. As much as I enjoyed my night, I needed sleep.

My Final Thoughts

There is no shame in admitting you haven’t been clubbing before (and if so, then shame me,) and honestly, it’s not for everyone. If you’re really on the fence about going, I would recommend starting with SkoolDayz instead of Pop, Neon or Kasbah, because the range of music is better, it’s on a Saturday (giving you time to have fun rather than worry about mid-week deadlines), and having the safety of being on campus in a familiar environment means it should be a more comfortable experience. It was for me, anyways.

As for circling, I’ve spoken to a few people who haven’t gone before and asked them why, and their response is often the same – they’re scared. Well, I was too, but looking back on my experience, I had no reason to be. My advice? Go for one taster session with a friend or two who know how circling works.

The plus side of SkoolDayz is if you live in Leamington or Coventry, buses run late, so you’ll get home safely, and won’t have to worry about paying extortionate amounts for an Uber at 2am. The downside? Tickets do tend to sell out quite quickly, so make sure you book a couple of days in advance at least.

Who knows – maybe you’ll see me in the Copper Rooms in the future…

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