So I’ve finally arrived in Prague and I’m so happy to be here!
Everything is packed and ready for my move to the Czech Republic, this Wednesday. (Unfortunately I have to wake up at a really awful time on Wednesday morning in order to get to the airport for a 7am flight. Oh man, why?!)
So you’re moving to London to start university, you’ve made a great choice! London is the best city to go to university in in the UK. Why? Because we have everything bigger and better than the rest of the country. Ok, I’m being a little biased and big headed. But going to university in London is a lot different to going anywhere else in the country. Not necessarily in a bad way, but there’s something about London that makes it really weird to go to university in.
First of all, unlike any other large sized town or city, the university isn’t the only thing going for it. Mostly because we have about 40 different universities in one city. Hardly any of them are campus based. Meaning your whole uni life can be spread across the city. And unlike places like Sheffield or Warwick, people don’t just go to London for uni. People travel to London from all over the world for tourism, to work, to live, and they don’t immediately think: “university”. Time and time again I have heard Northern family members say: “Why didn’t you go to Manchester to study? Manchester is a student city.” What does that mean, “student city”? Because to me that means there’s nothing else to do except study.
That’s why in my first year I didn’t feel like London offered the real student experience, whatever that is. Whenever I spoke to my friends from school in the holidays who went to other places in the country to study, they always asked: “What is London like?” But I really wondered what it was like to not study there. (They have this thing called “carnage”. What the hell is that?) To me, their uni experience sounded like living in a tiny village. Everyone you met was a student and when you went to the shops, everyone was a student. The only people you met in clubs were other students and when you met a local, they hated you because you were a student. And during uni holidays, the place was like a ghost town. You were stuck having to live on rubbish food from chain restaurants like Nandos and drinking bad filter coffee from the student union because no one had heard of a ‘skinny latte’, let alone been into a Starbucks. Yeah ok, point made. But that’s what I first worried about when I was a fresher in London. I worried I wasn’t getting the “real deal”. Maybe I didn’t, but I think I got better.
Here’s some of my tips on how to make the most out of freshers in London, so you don’t feel too left out…..
University is a great time of your life, but with such a limited budget and time away from your degree to spare, it might also mean that you end up forgetting healthy eating and exercise.
In my first year of university I didn’t really care about either. I was just focused on grades/having a social life. (And I guess with a blog mostly about eating cake and burgers, I’m not exactly that bothered now!) I am of the mindset that as long as you are happy with your body and you feel healthy, then you are absolutely fine and don’t need to change a thing. However, it’s not just about the outside, but also about how you feel psychologically. Nowadays many students suffer from depression and other mental health disorders at some point in their academic career (about 1 in 4 UK adults are diagnosed with a mental health issue in any one year), and that number is increased when living with the day to day pressures of a big city like London. Thus, making a few adjustments to your lifestyle may make you feel a lot better. Here’s some of my tips on how to stay healthy/happy whilst at university:
Last week I went to Somerset House to see Pretty In Pink on a large screen outdoors. I’m a huge fan of John Hughes/Molly Ringwald partnerships, so as soon as I got wind of the Pretty In Pink showing as part of Film 4’s summer screening, I immediately snapped up a ticket.
Pretty In Pink is about as cool 80s as you can get. Yeah, ok, ‘cool 80s’ sounds like an oxymoron, but this film is every hipsters dream. Not only because the way the ‘cool’ students dress – with blazers, bowties, coloured waistcoats and raybans – but the soundtrack makes it like the (500) Days of Summer of its time. And don’t get me started on the scene where Jon Cryer pretends to be Otis Redding and starts miming and dancing to ‘Try a Little Tenderness’.
Hurwundeki, a cafe in Bethnal Green, instantly sparked my curiosity when wandering around the area. Surprisingly situated between car repair garages and discount furniture outlets, the cafe is like a hidden gem in an otherwise lifeless road.
Just like its mixed-matched location, the cafe also sells vintage clothing, is part hair salon, specialises in Korean food, and has an array of what looks like a children’s junkyard playground outside, complete with toy horses and a Cinderella inspired pumpkin coach.
What is a Hipster?
Hipster (noun) definition: Definitions are too mainstream. Hipsters can’t be defined because then they would fit into a category, and thus be too mainstream.
But if they cannot be defined, how are we supposed to spot one? Well, TLS is hoping to point you in the right direction if you want to fake it in London.
As one of the most upcoming stereotypes and categories of people in modern society (yes, they do in fact fit into a category), hipsters are beginning to be seen everywhere in popular culture. Just think about all those indie style bands in the charts at the moment. Look at their haircuts. Look at their clothes. Take One Direction for example (even though no one ever should), it clearly wasn’t their mother’s idea for them to have floppy messy hair and wear skinny jeans that reduce any hope of future grandkids. Instead their stylists are trying to recreate the cool “hipster” look that is central to London’s East End.
London is a city that has always been fashion forward and setting the trends for other cities. That’s why no one does hipster like East London.
Here’s my 5 easy ways to spot a true hipster in London:
It’s the perfect temperature in London for an ice cream. But wanting something a little bit different after a holiday of non-stop gelato eating in Rome, I wondered if London could offer up the goods.
I couldn’t have been more intrigued by Chin Chin Laboratorists slogan: “Europe’s First Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlour” and just had to give it a try.
Washed Out, aka 28 year old Ernest Greene, is an American synth-pop musician who plays music that has been defined in the genre of chillwave. Having just finished a four-month tour, Washed Out played his last show at the notorious gay nightclub, Heaven in Charing Cross. After playing an hour set comprising mostly of songs from his debut album Within and Without, as well as a surprising choice of cover song, Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, I chatted to a worn out Washed Out at 11:55pm about his tour, his new music and his university life.
Karaoke and hip hop are two things I didn’t expect to go together. But the hip hop karaoke night at the social every Thursday somehow makes it work. Don’t expect a whining version of Dancing Queen from people who have had far too many vodka cokes. Instead get ready to be amazed as stylish regulars rap their way through hip hop favourites like 50 Cent, Kanye West and Missy Elliot.