10 fun things to look forward to in final term as an Exeter University student

We are so back

The end is nigh. Term two may have thrashed you with mental abuse, coursework is due after Easter, and exams are just around the bend, but do not fret. The light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to show. You can start to smell the salty sea air, the smokey barbecue, the phantom bird poo on your head… That’s right! We’re entering the final instalment of the academic year, when everyone remembers why they picked a uni by the beach. Start dusting off those white linens and Tom’s Trunks (if you haven’t already been wearing them in a desperate attempt at avoiding seasonal depression, which I definitely have not been doing), and get ready for summer. Here are the 10 things to get you through that last academic trench. 

1. The beach

Exmouth, prepare to be used and abused. This is THE summer hotspot where you’ll find every Exeter student and their nan. This is not a joke, you can walk ten feet and come across five different groups of people you know either playing spikeball, in the ice cream queue, or in the sea. Crack out the disposable barbecues (not too many though guys, let’s keep it environmentally friendly), the bikinis and trunks, and the tinnies.

Exmouth and Dawlish Warren are the basic bitches of Exeter beaches, so if you crave that #underground vibe, venture to places like Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton. Though not necessarily a beach, if you want to channel true Exetah, head to Spitchwick. Personally, my favourite summer location for a dip and a sunbathe is Dartmouth, which has gorgeous views, little nooks and beaches perfect for a swim, and lovely little shops in the main town. If you’re willing to go a bit further, it’s a must-visit destination.

2. Pub gardens

“Anyone fancy a pint?” Music to my ears. This experience is truly elevated when you’re sitting in a pub garden at 7 o’ clock and the sun hasn’t even set yet. I’m no expert, but I would truly prescribe a pub garden trip for mental well-being purposes amidst exams. If the vision of heading down the hill to the Impy after a long day in the library isn’t enough to keep you going, I don’t know what is.

Speaking of Impy, let’s run through some of the best pub garden locations for summer term: Taking top spot will have to be Impy for sheer size and proximity to campus, but there are a few other gems across Exeter that are worth a visit. Topsham Brewery by the quay has a lovely view of the quay, and Portal Pizza run a pizza van just outside it (highly recommend). If you’re up for a bit of a summer hot girl walk, Double Locks is definitely a staple pub garden location. If you’re REALLY keen for a walk, Turf Locks has a lovely view and gorgeous garden. Wherever you end up, you’ll have faith in knowing that all your troubles will melt away at the first sip of that thirst-quenching pint (just remember to watch your chips for seagulls at the Impy).

3. Tanning

This is where your grind starts, ladies. Whip out those bikinis, lay down your towel in the garden, and start your tanning. Girls will lay in the garden for hours on end, occasionally flipping in a way that’s a bit too reminiscent of a burger. I have never seen dedication quite like it. Once you start though, you can’t stop. It might seem like a chore at points, but if you close your eyes and imagine hard enough, it’s almost as if you’re on a beach in Mallorca (and not on the gravel in the garden of your student house). Thoroughly recommend a reading a Taylor Jenkins Reid book while you tan, and would also advise stocking up on sun cream now while supplies in Boots last. 

4. Outdoor activities

On the other end of the spectrum, we have everything from swimming to running to tennis to look forward to. You’ll no longer have to squish a trip to the gym in between your lectures, because you’ll have none! Take a trip to Cornwall House for some outdoor swimming, or the Mardon or Lopez courts for some tennis. The layers of clothing and running gloves will be swapped out for sunnies, and even if it’s just a walk somewhere, you’ll even feel more inclined to do so in the sunshine. 

5. BBQs

What’s that? You’ve opened your window, and the enticing mix of smoke and frying meat has pervaded your nose. “Should we have a barbecue?” you suggest to your housemates, and once that barbecue is lit, the rest along the road will follow in sequence. The perfect social event and wind-down at the end of a day of studying, the barbecue is an occasion which unites all Britons. A flexible and communal event, everyone will pitch in for the barbecue, whether it be a six pack, a packet of sausages, or a side salad. Now that the sun sets at an actually reasonable time and not mid-afternoon, the barbecue can last long into the evening. Not to rub it in to the first years that are still in halls, but atmosphere of a barbecue in a house garden as the sun sets is elite. (You’ll get your chance next year.) 

6. Not having to worry about heating

This one I know will hit home for many people. Just imagine… coming home from campus and not having to put an extra layer on… getting into bed and not feeling like you need to curl up into a freezing ice cube… pure bliss. Goodbye dressing gown, you have done your duty. Just the prospect that I’ll be able to sleep with my window open in summer has kept me going throughout this term. 

7. Closing that laptop for good

Until next year, Microsoft Word. Or for final years: See you never! Never thought I’d be that third year making third year my whole personality, but here we are. The amount of readings that I’ve downloaded this past term has been frankly, disgusting. Count down the days until you can slam that laptop shut, for it will be the most cathartic experience of your summer. Goodbye blurry vision from staring at your screen all day, goodbye trying to find a spot in the library that isn’t full of yappers and broken plug sockets, and goodbye ELE 2. It hasn’t been a pleasure. 

8. EGB

Sensitive subject for those who don’t have tickets, I know. Just skip over this section if this applies to you. For those lucky enough to be put into queue with less than a 20 minute wait, this is definitely a highlight of summer. Like every Exeter event, this one is ridiculously overpriced with an emphasis on cash only payment. Forget graduation, this is the penultimate event of the academic year, where everyone grabs their last group pics with each other. A few tips: Don’t go on the rides if you feel inclined to throwing up, bring a hip flask, and spend as much time in the tents as possible, because once you’re outside you will dramatically sober up.

9. Holibobs

By now you’ve probably booked a little getaway for the summer term, whether it’s a car journey down to Cornwall or a flight to Barcelona. Keep that thought in your mind as you battle those academic trenches, as you grapple with those peaks and troughs. It will all be worth it, trust me. Whether you’re looking forward to sharing a tent with so many people it could be considered a safety hazard, or Aperols that are so overpriced that a round could probably pay for your monthly bills, the summer will be just that much more enjoyable knowing you’ve got a trip with your besties booked. Just make sure that the trip should have made it out of the group chat…

10. The end of uni (not)

You’ve had your last seminar, your last lecture, and soon you’ll be handing in your final piece of work of the year. It’ll be a relief to do so, and have a nice long break (until September). Congratulations on having made it this far, you’ve survived! First years, good luck next year when you actually have to do work. Second years, I hope you’re ready for the avalanche that’s about to hit you, and third years, enjoy the last of it.

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