It’s that time of year again. Term is slowly and painfully coming to an end, and whilst we are all inundated with deadlines and revision, for a significant number of students there is an added pressure. Graduation is also looming. Soon, many of us will have to hang up our title as a “UEA student” and be released into the big, wide world. For all that we are leaving behind, there are certain things that our time at UEA has given us that will be hard to shake off. So, here are a few uniquely UEA traits that any graduate will take with them when they finally depart from the beloved concrete campus.
1) Concrete Life
It’s an affinity that you can’t help but have. You’ve spent years surrounded by it, and a significant amount of your university memories have been structured upon the grey walls, pavements and steps of our campus. It’s even the name of the publication that you’re reading right now. There is no escaping it: concrete is an inherent part of UEA life. You may have complained about its dreariness, or heard others comment that on occasion, campus looks a bit like a prison. But your many years spent amongst it have taught you how to find beauty in its greyness and simplicity. You know how it seems to shine when the sunlight hits it on a warm day, how it perfectly contrasts against the greenery of the campus’s grounds. In the future, you’ll find yourself wistfully staring at building sites or at bricks in Homebase, remembering your days of living la vie des concrete.
2) Appreciating Acronyms
We’ve all had that moment. Someone asks you where you go to university, and when you answer with “UEA”, they look at you baffled. Eventually, you realise that there are people who don’t automatically recognise the acronym. We’ve all become so used to explaining our degree through short hand phrases: UEA, LDC, HIS, BIO, DEV, and of course, LCR. It’s almost like a secret language that only our fellow UEA students can understand. Your ears will be attuned to the acronyms, and you will be unable to avoid invading a conversation whenever they are mentioned.
3) The Legend of the LCR
No list about UEA can be compiled without a mention to the notorious institution of debauchery that is the Lower Common Room. Trying to explain it to a non-UEAer makes it sounds terrible: everyone you know crammed into a venue that is by day a coffee shop and union, but by night a club with the stickiest floors and the cheesiest music imaginable. You’ll find yourself missing your regular Saturday night haunt and its cut-price drinks and easily persuaded DJ’s when you’re out at a fancy, city club which charges £5 for drinks and plays strictly underground jazz funk.
4) Aversion to Essex University
It’s a rivalry as strong as the Capulets vs. the Montagues, spawned from years of sporting triumphs and failures and played out on sporting fields across the East of England on Derby Day. The ‘friendly’ competition between the universities is such an old tradition at UEA, that you don’t even really realise how much you cared about it. That is until you meet someone from Essex Uni out in the real world, and you feel your smile waver just a little bit. You’ll somehow find a way to mention UEA’s past sporting triumphs, all the while wearing a smugly polite grin.
5) Bunny lovin’
The first time you saw one, you didn’t quite believe it. Was that really just a rabbit you saw sprinting across the green, or did you have one too many snakebites at the Union bar? But as we all know, the UEA bunnies are very much real, and basically our university’s unofficial mascot. Maybe you’ve attempted to catch one, but been outsmarted by a breed of rabbit who are by now long used to the antics of drunk students. All you know is that you’ll never be able to see a bunny again without recalling the many times they popped up on the greenery around campus; it was basically like living in Watership Down. These are just a few of many things that graduates will take with them when they leave the hallowed, concrete walls of UEA. To any departing students, Concrete wishes you all the best of luck (and hope that come graduation, you’ll avoid sobbing into your university branded hoodie, softly singing to yourself “Oh UEA…”)