Frenzied open days, painfully vague degree summaries and highly situational statistics can obviously only tell you so much about a university.
The really useful stuff is often revealed once you’ve already accepted your offer, done the IKEA trip and started living it up in your chosen city. Edinburgh in particular has a lot of useful discoveries in store as you travel along the chicaning, cobbled road that is university life. So, here is a collection of things you might want to know before you hit the books in the ‘Burgh.
Accomodation: When it comes to student accommodation, consider all the options. While some may claim so, Pollock Halls is not the centre of the universe, and many self-catered options are at least as comfortable as Pollock, while being closer to campus and the town centre. An extremely underrated first year residence is Warrender Park Crescent. At the edge of The Meadows, it is over a century old, an ex-school which acclaimed Scottish author Muriel Spark attended and which inspired much of her famous novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. This place is a treat as far as first year accommodation goes, but when the time comes to look at second year flats, starting early is key, perhaps around Christmas. It also requires a considerable amount of perseverance, and refreshing property websites keeps you up-to-date, particularly Zoopla and Right Move. Many Edinburgh student letting agents operate a Hunger Games-esque selection process, where whoever can run back to the letting agent with a deposit quickest gets the flat. If you end up with this kind of agent, make sure to have one person near the office so you can quickly message them to tell them that the flat is suitable, and they can run in and secure it.
Travel: If you have come some distance to attend Edinburgh, travel home could involve a plane or train. If you live anywhere on the east coast of the UK, the train is usually the best option. Given that Edinburgh Airport is about a half-hour journey from the city centre, combined with security, baggage restrictions and travel from your destination airport to your front door, the train often takes a similar amount of time and money. If you are savvy, you could spend the same on a first-class ticket with food and drinks thrown in as you would on plane tickets, food in the airport and onward travel connections – swish!
Let Edinburgh Entertain You: As a cultural and party hub, Edinburgh provides a massive choice of places to have fun. If you want possibly the cheapest night you can get (bar staying in your flat) Hive is the place to go. For a more relaxed evening, the Brass Monkey on Drummond Street has a great student drinks list, a pile of board games available, and a free-to-play pub quiz on Wednesday nights. To cure the resultant hangovers, BBL and Snax cafes are perfect. A cooked breakfast could cost you half of what you’d pay elsewhere in the city, so these places are real gems.
A great way to laugh away the hangover or just have a laugh generally is to go and see some free improvised comedy. Most Sundays at 1:30pm, The Stand Comedy Club in New Town hosts Stu and Garry’s Free Improv Show, which comprises around two hours of brilliantly-improvised sketches and games that draw on audience suggestions. Who knew holding a conversation where every sentence must begin with the next letter of the alphabet could be so hilarious, so many times?
And finally, take a seat: If you are ever at a loss with what to do with your day, climbing Arthur’s Seat should help you, with some friends or on your own. You can be up and down in around an hour, and it is a great way to clear your head and marvel at your university city from the best view in town.
Aren’t we just so lucky?
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