Colchester on the Cheap


Spending money is lame and for people that have it. Here’s how to get the most out of Colchester without having to splash the cash.

Castle Park

On a nice day, Castle Park is a fab afternoon out. A good few hours can be spent, wandering around amongst the flowers, laying on the grass, hitting up the swan pedalos and admiring the roman castle walls and grounds, the castle itself costs money but for a nice lazy sunny stroll, the park itself is free and beautiful. Coming up in September, there’s also going to be outdoor movie screenings of Pulp Fiction, The Goonies and Grease.


Walk Around the uni

While Castle Park is lovely, you really don’t have to look too far to find a lovely outdoors area to take a walk. Wivenhoe park is a beautiful area, we have the lake, the trees and the ducks to wander around, and on a nice day, the picnic tables and BBQ areas are perfect for a sunny afternoon.


First Site

Feeling refined? Always daaarling! First Site is a really great artistic space in Colchester, housing galleries and performance and workshop space. Best of all, entry is free and there is some really great art on show there, definitely worth a trip if you feel like being cultured for an afternoon. Coming up there’s the Lubaina Himid and Ed Gold exhibitions, and a number of film screenings, which, although they aren’t free are a bit cheaper than cinema prices.


The Minories Gallery

Another art gallery managed and run by Colchester School of Art, The Minories Gallery exhibits arts and culture artefacts, and the work and galleries of students of the school. It’s free and located right near Firstsite.


Colchester Natural History Museum

Don’t go thinking London-scale animatronic dinosaurs, but the natural history museum provides a nice little collection of stuff to keep you entertained without having to spend any cash. It’s really easy to miss, being nestled inside a church just opposite the castle. It’s cute and free, and there’s a range of things to interact with and get nerdy over.


HollyTrees Museum

Just near the castle, the Hollytrees museum gives a view of Colchester life from over the past 300 years, set in a beautiful Georgian house. Again, admission is free and it provides a bit of entertainment, you can even get dressed up as a servant if you fancy!


Of course, there’s loads of other stuff in Colchester that you can get up to if you spend a bit of cash, but if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like the triumph of a free day’s entertainment.

The Pains of Degree Snobs

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Ok, this is a bit of a ranty blog post, so buckle up, it’s time Chloe lays down the law on why, if you’re a degree snob, you suck.

I have always been of the persuasion that every degree is different and important in its variation from any other. I really don’t believe there is any study that you can do that is better or worse than any other, just different. There’s a really nice quote from our former chancellor Shami Chakrabarti about being ‘anyone’s equal, no one’s superior.’ To me, the beauty of being at university is learning about how many fields of interest there are, meeting people from other disciplines, and appreciating others for having different specialties from your own. But what do I know? I’m just a Film and Literature student.

A bit of background, last weekend, I was at a BBQ with a group of mechanical engineering students from another uni, and being a newcomer to the group, my degree and career path came up in conversation. Now, that’s fine, I do Film studies and Literature and love talking about my degree, everyone likes watching movies, so it’s not like people won’t understand the appeal of studying them right? However I always feel the need to self deprecate about the fact that I study film and I’m kind of bored of doing it, and it all comes from the exact reaction I received on this particular occasion, and so many others like it. If I were paid every time I had this conversation, I’d make Bill Gates look like a peasant.  When I tell people what I do, it normally goes a lot like this:

Them: So what do you study?

Me: I do lit and film at Essex, it’s great

Them: *Disapproving look* Riiight and what are you going to do with that afterwards?

Me internally: giphy fvf

Me in real life: Yeah haha I know right, what an airy fairy degree!

After this I usually politely school them on how many options I have and the very decided career path I want to take, it normally shuts their disapproval right down. What frustrated me on this occasion was the fact I was surrounded by a group of BEng students, all looking down on my BA. The feeling that people think their degree is more legit than mine boils my blood. For the reason that yes, there are some degrees that have very practical and obvious applications beyond academic study, but it in no way makes studying them any better than studying an arts, humanities or any other “less worthy” degree.

I’m an easily riled person, maybe because I’m a redhead, maybe because I’m really bored of this particular conversation, and perhaps I should just brush these encounters off, but what annoys me is how illegitimate these conversations make me feel. I’m pretty sure anyone who’s doing anything like art history, liberal arts, performing arts, sport science, criminology, sociology, or anything else that doesn’t require being a calculator monkey, will have experienced this at least once too. Being made to feel stupid or less legit, because of the thing you feel most passionate about, it feels trash. It’s like when someone slates your favourite band or TV show and you want to headbutt a wall, because of how wrong their opinion is (I am fully aware that opinions are opinions but I’m sorry, if you think my film studies and literature degree is useless, you’re just plain wrong.)

The way I see it, is without these fields, arts, humanities, sport etc. what would the world do beyond work? It feels hypocritical to sit in your Star Wars T-shirt, criticizing people that study and work in cinema. How else is that thing you love going to exist without the people who devote themselves to making it?!

So, moral of the story of my long angry rant is… don’t be a wally. Regardless of what you think about someone’s degree or passion, consider that  it’s A) fascinating to them even if it isn’t to you and B) probably very useful for what they want in the future. Even if it isn’t, there is no shame in studying something you love, and you should never ever be made to feel that there is.

giphy (7).gif …Chloe out.

The Beauty of a Campus Uni


Come to Essex, you need never leave *evil cackle*.

Recently I had a friend come visit me here at Essex from another university, being from a city uni, I thought I would take him on a mini tour of our campus (totally not for showing off purposes)  he was surprised and slightly envious of  all of the things we have here, and up until then I hadn’t really stopped to think about just how lucky we are to have a campus filled with so much stuff.

Now, I’m not blind, brutalist architecture is most definitely not for everybody, and the harshness of some of the 1960’s buildings is undeniable, the grey concrete, the crazy crazy room numbering, but after learning a lot from these blog posts by Jordan Welsh about some of the architectural history, I started to see the beauty and functionality in our weird concrete labyrinth.

Aesthetically though, the pretty parts totally outweigh the concrete. As we were wandering, we went around the lakes and up to the top of the hill by the Ivor Crewe, places I may not go on a regular university day, but on a sunny day especially, our campus really does look beautiful.

On top of the aesthetic of our uni, we are so lucky to have so many amenities all in one place. As miserable as it would be to actually come to the uni and then never ever leave campus, it would almost be possible. Campus living is like having its own little mini university village. Food and groceries from the stores, a cinema, a theatre, an art gallery, a bus that serves pie , a post office and all the stationary you’d need from Everything Essex. It really is all there on your doorstep. (Although I definitely wouldn’t recommend never leaving campus, you may go a little crazy.)

Being all in one place really has its benefits when it comes to socialising too. As I learned from the blog posts I mentioned earlier, the campus is designed so that everything gravitates around the core of the squares, meaning bumping into people is always a possibility. Which is really great for impromptu drinks and catch ups, not-so great when you’re on the way home sweaty and red-faced from the gym.

We are super lucky with how much we have on campus, and sometimes it takes a poor unfortunate soul from a city uni to remind us just how much we have here.

A Film Icon at Essex


Much has been written on the spirit of revolution at Essex, and if you’re a current student, or someone joining us who has done their research, you’re probably aware of the history of rebellion and revolution that has gone on around our Colchester campus, that really earns us the tagline, ‘Rebels With A Cause’. What is lesser known is a pretty cool claim to fame in filmic history…

If like me, you’re a bit of a cinema snob, the likelihood is that you’ve probably heard of Jean Luc Godard. The extremely cool filmmaker worked predominantly in the 50’s and 60’s creating movies that trail blazed the French new wave movement such as Breathless and Masculin Féminin. His movies were rebellious, counter-cinematic and subversive of the conventions of mainstream film.

In 1968 Essex had its famous revolutionary festival, where students held protests, overtook the chancellor’s office, and drove a Fiat 500 into a fountain. Alongside all of this, we were also host to Godard during this time, for his shooting of British Sounds, a revolutionary television documentary which was banned from London Weekend TV for its controversial topics. It features Essex students creating protest banners during the festival along with other footage such as workers speaking about poor employment conditions.

While obviously as a university we don’t hold any particular political views, we do pride ourselves on being challenging and rebellious, it is for this reason that Godard’s historic presence here kind of makes sense and to me as a film student, the thought of such a cinematic god being historically present on our campus is one of my fave geeky facts about Essex.


The Wonders of the Uni Flat


This is it! The key is in your hand, your mum is loaded down with bags and stacker boxes, and if you’re anything like I was, you feel like your heart is about to come out of your chest. It’s move in day. So, I’m here to settle some of those worries, with 8 reasons why living in campus accommodation can be an amazing way to spend your first year.

1. RA’s Are Wonderful!

Living in Uni accommodation, you will have a fellow student living in your building who is your RA (residence assistant). This means if you’re feeling unhappy and need someone to talk to, have any concerns, or if your housemate is refusing to wash up a bowl that is starting to grow its own species, they are there to help. In my first year I lived in Quays and our RA was amazing. She organised countless things to help us to get social; from a treasure hunt, to a trip to the cinema, to a gingerbread house decorating competition – which we totally won,  and were awarded Domino’s! Here’s our winning masterpiece:


2.Not feeling the shame from your parents when you come in drunk and want to feast at 3am


Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there before and we’re all likely to be there again. But when you come crawling home at 3 in the morning with pizza topping stuck to your cheek and you’re just craving some cheesy chips, it’s nice to be able to do it without eye rolls and tuts from your parents. Peace at last!

3.We’re all in the same boat *groan*

It is so annoyingly cliche, and when people try to reassure you about your uni fears by telling you that ‘all students are in the same boat’, you want to scream. Mainly because before you start uni, that boat for many, feels more like the ‘The Orca’ in Jaws, with a big old anxiety shark going at it hard. But there is something in the cliche! The best way to embrace the fear of isolation at uni is to realise that literally everyone is the new kid! So don’t feel like you’re a weirdo by being pally with your new flatmates, they’ll be just as relieved as you are to be talking and getting to know people. So it ends up Less:

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And More:

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4.Find Your People

Of course I can’t guarantee you’re going to always be skipping in circles holding hands with your fellow uni flatmates, but if like me you are lucky enough to end up with great people in your flat, uni accommodation can feel like an endless sleepover. A lot of time was spent in our pyjamas, watching Undateables and laughing at cringey guys on each other’s Tinders. (There was also a hair dying incident but let’s not talk about that.)

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5. The Kitchen Time Sinkhole

Sometimes you just need a good chin wag. In our flat there was some kind of time anomaly, you’d go in there to make yourself a quick dinner at 5pm, get talking nonsense with your flatmates and all of a sudden it’s midnight and you’re all sat around in a circle talking about whether you think ghosts are real…

Uni kitchens are such a social hub, and in them, the world has been put to rights in many ways shapes and forms, for instance, ranking the best outfits on Menswear Dog’s Facebook page, or deciding whether ostriches would make good mounts to ride into battle.

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6. OMG Uni is so close

Admittedly, for anyone living in the Quays at Essex, uni is still a fairly far walk away, BUT then you’ve got Subway and Domino’s right next door, so it softens the blow of that bridge. For the other accommodations, campus is on your doorstep! Living in the South Courts or Towers, you can roll out of bed and into a lecture in minutes! However you might not understand how great this is until you move off of campus and have the horrible realisation that having to walk places is a thing. 


Legit me on the way to 9AMs now I live off campus

7. Independence/Security Balance

What is really nice about university accommodation is that for a lot of people this is their first taste of adulting and independence. That can be really daunting, but living in a uni flat, having an RA, an accommodation office, and for most of the accommodations, cleaners that do the hallway and kitchen, you don’t feel like you’re in at the deep end; there is support there, and it also feels super safe being surrounded by so many other people.

8. Inside Jokes That No One Else Finds Funny

Probably mainly caused out of coursework stress and delirium, the stupidest things become hilarious, including sneaking terrible crayon drawings of Shia Labeouf under someone’s door, or leaving lonely hearts adverts on the tortillas that need eating up, or changing your flatmates name to Dave and refusing to call her by anything else.


You’re bound to feel nervous until you get here, but I hope this has at least helped turn some of the nerves into excitement! You’ll love it when you get here!

University for Introverts

enhanced-26078-1439315868-1Congrats! You’re a clever sausage and bagged yourself a place at University! Three years of partying lay ahead of you! Supposedly…

But what about the people that aren’t quite as confident in throwing  themselves into the party lifestyle? Being an introvert at university can be really nerve wracking. For me, before I came to Essex I was extremely shy, and the fact that I had no choice but to make friends worried me to the point of considering not going to university. But hey! Here I am, in my second year, with a small but wonderful group of friends and a whole lot more confidence, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Don’t panic or feel rushed!

When you arrive at uni, you may feel like it’s a rush to grab the nearest person and make them your new BFF. As great as that can be, for the introvert it may not be that easy. But there really is no need to panic, or feel like you have to force yourself into friendships. Good friendships happen organically, they can’t necessarily be forced. While you may make friends in the first couple of weeks and that’s great, the probability is they may not end up your best mate for your entire time at uni. I met one of my best friends at uni in a seminar in first term, but it wasn’t until after Christmas that we did anything beyond see each other in class; the point is, these things take time. So don’t feel like a failure if you haven’t made a soul connection by the second week of freshers!


The likelihood is that you’ll be told copious times when you arrive, how important joining a society is. While it definitely isn’t essential and you shouldn’t feel like you’re failing as a student if you don’t, if you’re nervous about meeting new people and establishing yourself socially, societies can be an invaluable way of meeting people.

You don’t necessarily need to look too far!

Don’t underestimate the importance of your housemates! At the beginning of university especially, going on little expeditions with the people you live with can be a great way of learning more about each other while learning more about the new place that you’re living in. The best thing is, open your bedroom door, and they’re right there! You don’t even have to leave the house and that’s always a bonus.

Embrace your own company

In the least lonely and sad possible way, uni can be a great time to learn more about yourself and truly enjoy your own company. While I am in no way suggesting that you should lock yourself in your room for three years straight, don’t underestimate the value of having time to yourself. You are at uni to improve yourself. There is no shame in doing stuff on your own and throughout your life learning to be happy with your own company can be really valuable; there is one person who you will spend your entire life with and that’s yourself.  You don’t have to rely on other people’s company for entertainment! While of course, you need buddies to keep you afloat, and meeting new people is one of the best parts of uni, you don’t need to beat yourself up if you don’t fancy surrounding yourself with people 24/7. Besides, sometimes you can’t beat a good blanket and Netflix binge watch sesh!


The moral of the story is: go out partying, stay in by yourself – whatever you want to do at uni, as long as you’re happy, we’re happy!

Pro and Cons of Commuting


Are you thinking of coming to Essex and wondering if commuting is for you? Or are you already an Essex student who doesn’t have a clue about living arrangements next year and deciding whether to commute? Well fear not because I am here to give you my pros and cons for commuting!

I commute everyday from Ipswich. I lived in towers in my first year, in Greenstead during my second, and for my final year I made the decision to commute. The biggest reason why I moved back home was for the home comforts because to quote Dorthy “there is no place like home”.

Pros of commuting

1. Home comforts: From being at uni, I have learnt I am a very homely person. When I was at uni I missed having the home comforts. I like coming home from work to my mums roast dinner, takeaway nights with my friends and only being round the corner from my boyfriend.


2. Less responsibility: While living in a house in Greenstead we had a lot of responsibility. Sorting and managing bills, cleaning and general maintenance. We had many things go wrong which were really stressful to sort out. For example our toilet started leaking through the ceiling, our oven door broke and the handle fell off the bathroom door. I found it really stressful so for my final year I wanted it to be stress free. I am very lucky at home if something goes wrong my dad will sort it out! Good old dad.


3. Saving money: From doing a term of commuting I have saved money! Although my student loan has been reduced I have a lot less to pay out. While living in a house you have to pay out rent, water, gas, electric, wifi, tv license & food. While living at home I give my parents a bit towards everything and then pay for petrol to get to uni. I can also work more so I’m earning more money too.

4. Better work environment: I always really struggled to work in my room when living on campus. Someone was always playing loud music or constant doors banging. So if I wanted to get any work done I’d have to drag all my work to the library. Living at home means I can get my work done while drinking a cuppa and getting up to get any snacks I want!

Cons of commuting

1. Travelling: This is a big con. On a good day, it takes me 35 minutes to drive to uni. On a bad day it could take an hour. I get stuck in a traffic jam at least once a week! Once they closed a bridge near Ipswich and the whole of Ipswich went into meltdown and I got stuck for 3 hours on a dual carriageway 5 minutes from my house. How you’re getting to uni everyday is something you’ll need to consider and how much time it will take!


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2. Missing the university experience: I am glad I didn’t commute all 3 years because I made some great friends while living in towers. The one thing I miss is not being able to go out with them like I used to when I lived near campus! I will always cherish the memories I have made at uni!


3. No experience of independence: I think if you commute for all 3 years you will miss out on learning some important life skills. Learning how to look after yourself. Learning how to manage your money, learning how to cook proper meals and how to clean. I have come a long way from starting uni with only the knowledge of how to cook pasta, to becoming a spag bol master!

Commuting is personal choice. Some people will choose a uni close to home so they can commute while others will move to the other side of the country just to get away! It’s important to do what is best for you!

Results Results Results

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Not to freak you out but:

First Year: Tuesday 11 July 2017

Second and Final Years: Wednesday 5 July 2017

It’s the final countdown! If you’re an undergrad, you probably have a strange feeling in your stomach right now, it’s probably nerves, or fear, or dread, or a nice cocktail of the three. For second and third years, exam results are a mere 2 days away! First years, you’ve got a few more days yet, whether that’s a blessing or curse I don’t know!

There is no right or wrong way to deal with getting exam results, although I’m sure you’ve smashed it! But if you are uncertain about receiving your results, here are some things that have proven useful to me and my friends over the years.

A Good Setting

You don’t have to take this to the extreme, but if you’re super nervous about your exam results, it can prove useful to make sure you’re in a nice familiar spot, and your choice of company can make a massive difference with how you handle your results, it depends on the kind of person you are. You might want to celebrate or cry among friends or family or you may be like me and want to hide in a locked room out of sight to open your results. I had a friend during A-levels who had taken this to the extreme and scouted out a specific bench at the botanic gardens beforehand and retreated there like a monk to open his results email. You perhaps don’t need to be that dramatic but find a good setting, grab yourself a cuppa, breath and open the damn email, you got this.

Be considerate

When you receive your results, it’s super tempting to message all of your friends asking how they did, especially if you did really well and want to tell the world, which I can’t blame you for wanting to do! It’s a tricky one, because they probably feel exactly the same, and want to ask you too, so if you think it’s OK to ask, then maybe take a bit of time considering your approach, so you don’t seem like you’re just asking them so you can brag about your own.

Next Steps

The likelihood is you’ve probably done great on your exams, so happy days, time to get krunk. However there is a possibility that you aren’t as happy with your results and you may have to consider a retake, you can find information about that here or you may be able to appeal your results but you’ll need to read carefully up on it first.

Most of all…GOOD LUCK!!

Secrets of the University of Essex part 2

Another term and another year ends. If you’re joining us next year you may have done your research about our campus, or perhaps you’ve been here a while as a student, alumni, or staff member,  but how much do you really know about the secrets of Colchester campus?

So strap yourselves in for the second part on the lesser known facts about the university.

Read Part 1 of Secrets of University of Essex

Or click here for Secrets of Colchester


Lets start with the Hex

The Hex was part of the original university design, where it served as the university restaurant. However, it was not designed by the main Architect Kenneth Capon, but by his assistant instead.

Which probably made Capon mad…

As the Hex was featured on a British postage stamp to mark the most iconic modern British university buildings.6de4482fdf81f82d10b6d0203d6a9c34

Essex: Rock and Roll

The Hex has hosted Pink Floyd on numerous occasions. Other campus performers included AC/DC, Blur and The Smiths. While Sub-Zero (when it was known as the ‘Dance Hall’) has previously hosted The Kinks and Iggy Pop.

Fingers crossed for the day that bands return to perform at Essex!


The concrete used at the university was the most expensive that was available in the 1960’s.

Concrete details

Also, if you look in the Library (and also in the Student Centre where the design has been replicated) you’ll notice that the concrete inside has an effect that makes it look like wood.

DSC_0244Award Winning Buildings

Recent additions to the university campus have also been lovingly designed. In fact the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, Student Centre, Library extension and Business School are all award winning buildings.

Colchester vs Chelmsford

When deciding where the new university should be built, several sites came into consideration. The main contenders were our own Wivenhoe Park or Hylands Park in Chelmsford. Arguably the V Fest would probably have never taken place if we occupied Hylands Park.


The squares under construction in the early 1960’s

Funding the new university

In order to get the construction underway for the new university, it was asked if donations could be put towards developing the 200 acre site. Among the donors were Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

Royal Recognition

The Queen herself has visited the university on two occasions. Additionally,  in 2014 she appointed Professor David Sanders to be the UK’s first Regius Professor of Political Science – the youngest university to receive such an accolade. We’ve only just hit 50 after all!

Essex ghosts

We may have recently hit 50,  but there are a few stories of ghosts on campus. In the 1990’s a young boy claimed to have seen a ghostly man cycling on a penny farthing down Boundary Road. There are also reports that the Nightline flat is haunted by a running man as well!


The confidential student run organisation now exists in over 40 universities in the UK but the whole thing started in 1970 at the University of Essex. Give them a visit between 10pm and 8am at the bottom of Keynes Tower and congratulate them for being the first of their kind!

Mapping history

When going through the maze of corridors take a second to note some of the maps of the university dotted around. In some cases these have not been updated, so show some of the original floor plans for the university. For example the space above The Extra Store used to house the physics department.

And that is just a few more of the things you may not know about the university of Essex. Do get in touch if you know anything else – who knows, there may be a part 3!

Bizarre Happenings That You May Hear About At Essex

 For the most part, our beloved University of Essex can be considered pretty ready for any weird and wonderful goings on,  there still have been some… let’s say, “incidents” that have reportedly happened over the years – mostly due to the students being … creative. Here are some examples, some rumoured, some true, of the shenanigans that have taken place on our Colchester campus.

*Disclaimer, just to repeat some of these are just rumours so don’t get too worried, no ducks were harmed in the writing of this blog post.*

*Rumour* Ducking Around

Here at Essex we love the ducks, whether they’re roaming the greenery around the lakes, or on Square 3 or 4 quacking at you for food scraps, listening in to your conversation while you chat with your friends. Alongside Pebbles, we couldn’t ask for better animal ambassadors. They’re super cute seeing them waddling around and for the most part live in a happy coexistence with campus life, so it’s best to just leave them be and let them get on with their important ducky business.


There was a rumour going around that…oh God. I can’t even write it. There was a rumour going around that one student caught a duck and then cooked it in their kitchen. Now, the validity of this story is doubtful, and our ducks are pretty feisty, so I’m unsure as to how easy a feat this would be, and besides,  look at those innocent little faces!


*True!* Square 4 Fountain disaster

As inscribed on the plaque which can be found on the fountain base (now filled with shrubbery) reportedly, one of the students liked the fountain that was located on Square 4 SO MUCH, that he drove his Fiat 500 into it.

So now there’s this garden thing in the fountain and we have trees there that have lights on them. It’s still pretty…just in a non-fountain way. And what is best is this actually happened! As part of the revolutionary movements that famously took place in Essex in the swinging sixties, one student did in fact park his car in the fountain and if you click here you can read a little bit more about it and the revolutionary festival that took place.



*Rumour* “Find Your Way” faux-pas

So, to give everyone a bit of context, Find Your Way is an official app of the University of Essex, that lets you input your starting point and destination and finds the best route for you. It’s like a little google maps for the Uni. It’s very handy, especially in the first few weeks when you just see the class number 5A.300 and you’re just like “What?.” To be honest, although it’s my second year here, I still use it on a weekly basis.

But getting back to what happened! Reportedly, a student was coming from the Constable Building, which is next Wivenhoe House, and they wanted to know how to get to a certain classroom. They put it in the app and it showed a straight like from their point, THROUGH THE LAKES, to the classroom. Fun stuff. Reportedly it was just a glitch and it was fixed immediately. The story remained a funny one and people still talk about it from time to time.

*True* There was one student however, who did manage to go straight through the lake (in a manner of speaking) during welcome week 2016. One student managed to bring and inflate a rubber dingy to the lake by the Silberrad centre, successfully rafting  towards the fountain before being politely asked to vacate by security!


So I hope these stories made you laugh (or at least chuckle), because even though we seem perfect (and we actually are), we are not (that’s a lie). If you guys have any funny moments to share, leave them down below in the comment section and share them with us. I mean, what is life without a little fun 🙂