From the moment I stepped onto Loughborough campus on an open day in 2014, I knew it was the place for me. By the time I arrived the following September I had absolutely no idea what to expect from university life. Here are the main points about Loughborough that my friends and I have discovered this year, so keep reading for 20 things every Loughborough student should know!
1. Everyone assumes we are all Olympic athletes.
The go-to response when you tell anyone where you study is “oh you must be really sporty”. With such a high reputation for sports there is undeniably some world class athletes in training here. Whereas most of us find getting up for a 9am to be the most physical activity in a day. Also, the majority of campus wander around in Kukri branded sportswear and leggings most of the day. So you really don’t have to worry about your university wardrobe. Plus, anyone who’s anyone on campus wears the official Loughborough sporting hoodie because it means that you play for the university team so you must be “like, well good at sports”.
2. You have to learn the “Loughborough Lingo”.
We have our own language, ‘The Loughborough Lingo’. This includes the multiple ways to spell Loughborough: Luff, Luffbra, Lboro, or my favourite ‘Looga-ba-roogha’. You also soon get used to the acronyms and abbreviations that are used as part of the this such as AU (Athletic Union), BUCS (British Universities and College Sport) and BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) and BNOC (Big name on campus – not biggest knob on campus as my lecturer thought) …
3. Only the strong can survive exam season in the library.
If you’re not prepared to get up at 7am to secure a seat, then you’ve lost a day of studying in Pilkington Library. Seriously, it’s like the Hunger Games in there during exam season. My advice would be to find a place where you work best, unfortunately if that’s the library you’ll need to set an alarm. There are a variety of other study spaces across campus if you find, like me, you’d get too distracted by Netflix and food in your room.
4. There is a lot of variety to choose from in terms of accommodation.
Loughborough has sixteen different halls of residence, both on campus and off as well as additional accommodation affiliated with the university. These all feature a variety of different layouts such as catered or self-catered halls, shared bathrooms or ensuite and undergraduate or postgraduate. There are definitely strengths and weaknesses to each type, though if you opt for catered be prepared you will have some form of potato every meal, every day!
5. … AND YOUR HALL BECOMES YOUR FAMILY.
Whichever hall you’re in, you immediately become part of that family – and with that you inherit the hatred of certain other halls just by association with your hall. Each hall competes throughout the year in IMS Sport and for points gained by activities such as activities and who throws the best socials.
This rivalry is demonstrated clearest in the annual Sing Off. This is definitely the greatest night of Fresher’s week every year and it brings out the competitive nature of our students and shows how immediately loyal we can be to our halls!
6. Us women are completely outnumbered by male students.
The ratio of males to females at Loughborough is well known, it’s currently 62% male, 38% female. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the way you look at it. Personally I’m intimidated when my friends and I are outnumbered and surrounded in a nightclub!
The ratio is most evident in both gyms on campus: Holywell and Powerbase. Every girl knows there is a line in both of these gyms which you simply don’t cross as that’s where the ‘real men’ work out. Credit to them though, I picked up the smallest hand-held weight there the other day, and I’m convinced I’ve put my back out!
7. The Union is the heart of student life during the day…
Our Student Union has been voted the best in the UK for the third time running this year. The heart of student life, the union has three nightclubs, a pub, a café plaza in the day with a variety of small food stands, the main food store on campus, and even a Chinese takeaway at night! This is also where you’ll find the offices for the different sections of student life such as Action for volunteering, RAG for raising money for charity, Societies where you can join anything from pole dancing to the Disney society, and Media where you can run your own radio show and so much more!
8. …And also at night.
There are events every night on campus, but the biggest three are Stupid Tuesdays (Stuesday’s) which play throwback chest music; Hey Ewe on a Wednesday which is when every sports team and any sporting visitors come clubbing in themed nights like foam parties, paint parties, or even a gunge tank; and finally FND which is Friday night and the biggest party around campus. You soon find your favourite night out – there’s something for everyone.
9. You can always venture into town if the themed night isn’t your thing.
The good thing about Loughborough being a small market town is that the main feature of it is the university. This means that the nightclubs in Loughborough have a specific night every week which they attract the student when there’s nothing going on in the union. Each club has a different reputation e.g. Revs doubles as a restaurant in the day and serves its trademark flavoured vodka sticks whereas Saturday nights at Echoes are essential (provided you have cheap Primark shoes on you don’t mind getting trashed!)
10. Papa Si’s is the only place to eat after nights out.
The undisputed saviour of nights out. However awful your night has been, he’s always there in his van outside of the union to rescue you with cheesy chips or chicken nuggets. Some of the best conversations happen sitting around campus at 3am eating Papa Si’s. Though a word of advice, you have to be drunk to enjoy the food, I tried it sober one night when I had no food in the kitchen and it was disgusting.
11. Our transport system is more reliable than attendance at a 9 AM lecture.
We have two buses, one for stops around campus and one for town – it’s the only way to reach the train station but it’s the most unreliable service and inappropriately named “The Sprint Bus”. Don’t believe the app which tells you when the next bus is due. Plus one of the drivers told me they have a competition to see who can nearly hit as many students as possible. I’ve found myself running late to lectures on many occasions because of the bus not turning up (that’s what I tell myself anyway!)
12. The road past the Whitworth building is the windiest spot on campus.
If you’re ever short of a gust of wind on campus, walk down the road past the Whitworth building. This is the place where if you happen to be wearing a skirt you must be prepared for the possibility of facing maximum humiliation. For some reason, come rain come shine, there is always a gale force wind at this spot on campus. You have been warned!
13. We have a lot of places to eat on campus.
There are plenty of places on campus to grab a bite to eat between lectures. The library café serves hot and cold snacks between revision sessions and the café in EHB serves cooked breakfasts and hot lunches for students in between lectures. Alongside are small cafes in most of the main department buildings such as Martin Hall for English and Drama and Wolfson for Engineering. There are small shops around campus too such as The Purple Onion and The Union Shop which stick to all student essentials if you don’t fancy the mile walk into town to Tesco or Sainsbury’s.
14. Seeing the library cat is the highlight of a day at the library.
There’s something about university that attracts cats. Maybe it’s because students and cats have a common interest, to find food and to stay warm. One of the aforementioned BNOCs of Loughborough has to be Charlie, the Pilkington Library Cat.
15. We have a number of fresher traditions.
There are several legendary traditions at Loughborough that you will hear about during fresher’s week at Loughborough. These range from breaking onto the athletics track at night and running the naked 400m to posing with the ‘sock man’ statue in the centre of town and hanging inventive things off his outstretched leg. There are several infamous sports initiations if you join an AU team too – I’ve heard a few horror stories! However, the one that is most notorious is getting in the Hazelrigg and Rutland Fountain semi clothed at night in the centre of campus. It’s a rite of passage and a must at some point in your degree!
16. We have the most beautiful campus (when the weather is nice).
Loughborough has one of the largest and most beautiful campuses in the UK. Covering 438 acres there are hidden spots of beauty all around which remain untouched. When the weather is good, it’s possible to spend a whole day wandering around campus appreciating the beauty. Alternatively the nature makes for amazing Instagram shots which you can make your friends jealous that your university is prettier than theirs. 😉
17. It is a right of passage to attend DBE.
Another thing to tick off your first year list is DBE (Dub Borough Events). It’s a monthly event at a secret location and a night of drum and bass, house music and grime, and techno. Get your tickets fast as they sell out quicker than you can say ‘Looga-ba-roogha’
18. Everyone should discover the Town Centre.
Many people outside of us have simply heard of the town because of the university. Loughborough is a small market town in the Midlands which is just in between two large cities, Nottingham and Leicester. It strikes a balance between rural town and energetic night life but is close enough by train to these for those who fancy a wilder night out! Town Centre is filled with a shops, restaurants, the scenic Queens Park, a large number of pubs (perfect for every uni society pub crawl) and even a climbing centre and an indoor go karting arena. For a small town there’s no shortage of things to do.
19. … And explore off campus!
Sometimes with all that’s going on around campus you can forget that there is life outside of the ‘Loughborough Bubble’. Just a short walk from campus you will spot a vast contrast from hectic student life filled with countryside walks and canals. There is also a tradition of a walk up to Beacon Hill, a few miles off campus. You have to go at least once during your degree! However, try as you might, I doubt you’ll venture out too far in your first year!
20. ONCE YOU’RE IN, YOU’RE OURS FOR LIFE!
Many universities claim that they will always be a part of your life after you graduate. You’ll find yourself chanting ‘Loughborough walks on water’ for years to come and will find yourself defensively loyal when anyone mentions where you spent those years. Added to this is the pride when Loughborough wins yet another award and the joy that you feel that you are part of such an amazing experience which will stay with you forever!