Right, it’s time for a bit of self-indulgence. My decision to come to UEA had little to do with not getting through my interview at Cambridge (and of course, I never mention that…) because even had I received an offer, I would have been torn between accepting it or firming UEA. I’ve always had my heart set on the concrete jungle, and here’s why:
1. The opportunity to stay in Norwich
There was a young lad from Norwich, who stayed right there for college. He loved his city, and it’s not a pity, as he now acquires oodles of knowledge.
Having lived in Norwich since I was born, I was delighted when UEA scrapped their rule prohibiting locals from renting a room on campus. I saw it as being the best of both worlds; living in a city I knew, not far from home if I really needed it, but being away from my familiar setting just like any other student, and gaining all the experience of living with new housemates and doing most things for myself.
There are also a surprisingly large number of students from Norfolk and Suffolk I met who chose to do the same. You form an immediate bond with them as you discuss old friends and local schools. As I said, I wanted to get the best of both worlds, and that’s what I got.
Plus, of course, Norwich is a lovely city with beautiful history and everything you need, and is neither too large nor too small.
2. The concrete campus
Roses are red, violets are blue, concrete is grey, so UEA is too.
Doesn’t concrete look beautiful? No, of course it doesn’t! But at UEA, somehow, the brutalist concrete is really lovable once you get used to it. Designed by Denys Lasdun, who is also the architect of the National Theatre in London, much of the original university is now listed for protection as a site of historical interest. First year History students even get a lecture on brutalist architecture including UEA.
And walking around campus, it didn’t take me long to realise that I could feel at home amidst the concrete. Anyway, the blue lake and green parks at UEA perfectly offset the urban feel if you need to get away from the dreary grey occasionally.
3. The excellent student media
What rhymes with student media? I give up on the poetry…
Anyway, whatever channel of the media you’re interested in, you can get your hands dirty and gain some proper experience. Concrete is a real newspaper which is printed fortnightly in term time, and for a print journalist there’s nothing like seeing your work in newsprint. UEA:TV produces brilliant video features on YouTube. Livewire is the student radio station, broadcasting continuously for 15 hours from early in the morning to late at night every day during term, with opportunities to present or work behind the scenes.
Octarine is a creative writing and art magazine, the publishing society Egg Box will help you make your own zines and pamphlets and you can contribute to their themed ones, plus the Blog Society are there to support members who start and run their own websites or blogs, and publicise posts. The Broad UEA is the university’s online lifestyle magazine. There are also loads of national and international websites like Society19 who you can write for too, making plenty of choice for students interested in getting creative!
4. The ‘student experience’
The cheesiest, most clichéd thing I’ve ever written it may be, but it’s true. Studying at UEA is about so much more than just the course. There is support available for students in the shape of the Student Support Services, and Nightline is open from 8pm to 8am, where you can talk anonymously to a student volunteer no matter what’s on your mind.
It’s not just when you’re having a tough time that UEA comes into its own though. It’s nearly impossible to get bored. We have hundreds of societies, sports clubs and opportunities to get into student politics with the Students’ Union. Add to that the student media, green spaces on campus, the UEA Award, 24-hour library, Sportspark, LCR, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, public lectures and free career support, and there are so many things to do at UEA which all contributes to its superb reputation for student satisfaction.
CareerCentral, the jobs and internships advice service, was one of the aspects of UEA which really encouraged me to come here. Also, being local, I had had the chance to read Concrete and attend public lectures before I arrived so I knew some of the extra things I could be doing alongside my degree. I once dreamed of getting in the newspaper, now I write for every issue.
5. Last but by no means least: the rabbits
You see, at UEA we love our animals. Cloud Dog (R.I.P.) was a legend of campus, the ponies say hello to loads of students, but above all, UEA is known for its rabbits. The rabbits on campus are every bit as much a part of UEA as the concrete and the lake. And even as I approach the end of my first year, the novelty of seeing them bounding around has not yet worn off. Everyone knows they are an crucial part of UEA life, and they provide a welcome addition to campus.
Does Cambridge have a famous band of rabbits sharing uni with students? No? That’s what I thought…
Why did you choose to go to UEA? Share in the comments below!
Featured image source: pinterest.com
19-year-old Literature and History undergraduate at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.