Moving up north for uni can be an intimidating process. Not only are you far away from friends and family, but it’s cold, everyone’s using a load of slang you don’t know, and when you don’t understand something you’ll get the mick taken out of you for being a ‘typical southerner’, so here’s 10 relatable struggles that every southerner will feel when living up north, to make you feel a little bit less alone.
1. The Weather
When you first tell anyone that you’re moving up north, the first response you’ll get it is always a warning of how cold it is and how much it rains, and whilst you tell yourself you’ll be fine and ask ‘how bad can it be?’, you’ll soon come to realise, quite bad! Not only will you spend your first few months constantly shivering, but you’re new friends will continually take the mick out of you for your teeth chattering in what they consider to be ‘summer’. Give it a few months of wind and rain and you’ll be begging for the London humidity. This is one of the hardest parts about living up north.
2. Food (especially condiments)
Northern food is just as weird and wonderful as it sounds. At first you’ll be questioning why anyone would ever think of pease pudding or bovril as something you’d actually want to consume, and don’t even get started on the all the different names for food up north (bap? barm? butty?). However, you’ll eventually come to realise that a kebab after a night out or a good bowl of scouse is actually delicious, and that weird as it is, whoever thought of combining fish and chip shops and chineses was actually a genius. They’re also so much better at condiments; garlic mayo, red salt, – don’t even get started on gravy! Cheesy chips will soon become you’re takeaway staple and you won’t blink an eye at someone gulping down bovril with lunch.
3. The Importance of Gravy
So hailed in the north it Deserves a paragraph of its own, don’t you dare ever tell a northerner you don’t like gravy, or risk eternal shunning (or at least constant teasing) for the rest of your time there. The holy grail of condiments, you’ll soon learn that for northerners gravy really can and does go with everything. While you’ll learn to accept that yes, gravy on chips is delicious, you’ll never quite understand the strange love for it but you wouldn’t dare argue against it. This is very important when living up north.
4.Slang and accents
Moving up north you’ll come into contact with a whole host of different accents, each coming along with a load of new slang and colloquialisms to learn. You’ve got the Geordie’s from Newcastle, Scousers from Liverpool, Mancunians from Manchester, and a load of people from Yorkshire with varying dialects to get used to. At first you’ll think they all sound the same (don’t tell them that!), but you’ll slowly start to learn the differences between them. What’ll really get you is the slang; you’ll pick up on some straight away, for example scran meaning food, or ginnel meaning alley, but still years down the line when you think there’s no word you’ve left to learn they’ll come out with something that’ll still manage to take you by surprise (who knew that spelk meant splinter!?).
5. Not being used to how friendly people are
It’s a southern norm (especially in London) is to be, well, not the friendliest. It’s a social no-no to talk to strangers and even making eye-contact with someone on the tube will get you branded as a local weirdo. In the north, however, talking to strangers and just general friendliness is culturally commonplace, and its surprisingly hard to get used to. You’ll soon learn that you have to humour the annoying charity man in the street rather than just ignore him, and say good morning back to that old lady to avoid being labelled the rude student. It probably means you’ll become a better person, but sure will feel odd.
6. Explaining that you’re not posh (and accepting that you are)
From the moment you open your mouth and your southern accent comes out every one around you will brand you with the label ‘posh’. At first you’ll deny it and try and show you’re just as hard as everyone else, but as everyone wears you down and you start to realise that posh isn’t so much an insult, rather a part of your cultural belonging, there comes the inevitable time where you accept that maybe you do belong more with the cast of Made in Chelsea than you’d like to admit. This is just part of being a southerner living up north.
7. Realising you don’t know where anywhere up North is
When you got that B in your GCSE geography you thought you knew the UK pretty well, but the more you talk to your new northern friends the more you’ll realise that your knowledge of the UK is shoddy at best. Who knew that that Liverpool was in the west? Or Newcastle was really that far north? Give it a few days and you’ll come to the conclusion that your southern upbringing really was as sheltered as everyone said and that you’re going to need to scrub up on your UK map knowledge if you want to make any headway with your new northern pals.
8. Realising that they don’t know where anywhere down South is
On the other hand no one up north really knows about anywhere down south. Give it a few days and you’ll soon start to realise that if you don’t live near London there’s no point even trying to explain to a northerner where you live. You’ll give up on explaining the exact details of where you’re rural village is and all about that one famous person that grew up there and resign yourself to saying ‘yeah, near London’, just to save yourself the awkward conversation. Screaming the name of a niche home county to someone over the loud music in a club is just too much work.
9. Getting jealous of their northern pride
As a southerner living up north, one thing you really can’t relate to is a northerners sense of local pride. Seeing everyone bond over how much they love their city and their pride of being northern is something that you’ll end up becoming irrationally jealous of – it’s not exactly like there’s a bunch of home counties pride to join in on. You’ll end up adopting some of you’re new city’s pride and take in on as your pseudo-home, because no where’s as good as where you live!
10. Falling in love with it (and how much youre going to miss it)
The biggest struggle every southerner living up north comes to face is the reality of how much you will fall in love with it. The people, the food, even the weather are all unique to the north totally entrancing, and unfortunately something you won’t find back home. You’ll start to think, ‘maybe I’ll do a masters just to stay another year’, or ‘maybe i’ll purposefully fail uni so I can do it again’, but inevitably you’ll have to face the biggest struggle of saying that goodbye.