Here are nine of the most frustrating university moments that only Liverpool students can relate to

The infamous Sydney Jones vs Harold Cohen debate lives on for another year

The end of the academic year is looming over us, and it’s safe to say that 2024 hasn’t been much different in terms of experiencing the most frustratingly niche moments that non-students just don’t get. Liverpool students have such a hard life, going for early morning strolls around Sefton Park, productive study dates at 92° Coffee, and evenings down at the Docks with their housemates. However, as much as we all love to romanticise the Liverpool student lifestyle, I’m about to seriously burst that blissful bubble with some of these totally relatable scenarios.

Always missing the herd of 86s

Let me paint the picture for you. You had a slight academic revolution at 2am the night before, and promised yourself that you WILL start going to those 9ams this semester. It is the following Monday morning, and you are walking down the picturesque Smithdown Road. You have left plenty of time to get to your 9am. You’re even the first one at the bus stop. Oh, wait, no. What do you see flying past you at the speed of light? About five 86 buses. Perfect.

The biggest lie you were ever told as a newbie in Smithdown was that the 86 buses were reliable, frequent, easy-to-catch and by far, the best way to get onto campus. However, nobody warned you that they all come at once, mirroring some kind of picturesque herd of safari animals. You will be at the bus stop waiting fifteen minutes, refreshing Google Maps that said one was due five minutes ago. I think I’ve acclimatised to the concept of walking into a lecture at 9:15 and just knowing that ALL eyes are going to be on me.

Seat-Searching in Sydney Jones

I’ve heard that finding a seat in the Sydney Jones library during deadline season is actually the No.1 cause of death of University of Liverpool students every year. Picture this; you have plucked yourself out of your warm bed (you deserve a medal, by the way, because the capped heating in student housing is no joke) to stumble down to the library. Seminar reading. Essay prep. 24-Hour Exam. Whatever the reason is, you are scanning that Student ID. You head towards Grove Wing, thinking that you’ve pushed past the hardest part of the library experience. Wrong. No seats. Not a single one. You can even try that peculiar social study place on the bottom floor. It’s 11 am, and every study space, computer, and rogue bench in a corridor somewhere, is occupied. So you head straight out and await the herd of 86s because, obviously, Harold Cohen is never an option.

Going to Harold Cohen instead of Sydney Jones

This one speaks for itself. If Harold Cohen has one hater, it’s me. If Harold Cohen has no haters, I am dead.

Students vs Bus Seats: Battle Royale

You have to be realistic with yourself. If you are heading back to Smithdown from any time around 3-4ish on a weekday, you must prepare yourself for both a physical and a mental battle. It’s simply just ingrained into British culture that we will queue for just about anything – especially the bus. Either way, you won’t be getting a seat, even if you’re capable of squashing through to get onto the bus in the first place. You’ll feel that spike in anxiety and adrenaline when you see the 75, 86 0r 699 approaching as you wait patiently at Sugnall Street bus stop. You can already see lots of bobbing little heads, but will there be space for you and the other thirty students waiting to get home on this freezing, rainy afternoon? Not quite, but you all head on anyway, praying the aisles will begin to clear as you get closer to home. Advice from a third year: walking is quicker and cheaper.

Attempting to do your weekly shop after 10am

Smithdown Aldi comes out on top for the worst place to do a weekly food shop in Liverpool, any day of the week. After a long day of lectures, or even just scouting the library for a seat, we all know deep down that we need to head over with our bags for life to scout out the yellow stickers at 7pm. But you’d be lucky to come out alive if you’re stepping into a supermarket any time after 10am. I commend anyone that is capable of finding any sort of food in there at the end of the day, let alone fighting a minimum of 100 people in sports-mode crocs to grab the last jar of pesto from the shelf. Waiting for a self-service checkout to become free takes a day in itself. I have already interacted with enough people today, and there is no chance I will willingly surrender myself to a checkout with a real person serving me. It’s only in this scenario that you consider calling your parents to see if they’d let you borrow their HelloFresh boxes for a while. It’s hell out there – it’s horror.

The mysterious building work outside Sydney Jones

Brilliant! You have FINALLY found a seat in the SJ – if you are lucky, you might have even secured a desk with a functioning charging port, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Placing your overpriced coffee by your side, here we go. Things are beginning to happen. You are in the silent study area because you cannot trust yourself to not just gossip to your housemate the entire time. Headphones are on, and the study playlist is in full swing. And then – drilling. You don’t even know where it is coming from. It is the most obnoxiously loud noise you have ever heard. Not even the sound of Taylor Swift can tackle this one. So, history repeats itself, and you head straight out and await the herd of 86s because, obviously, Harold Cohen is never an option.

Queuing for The Raz

Sticking to the theme of queuing, This is one of those once-upon-a-time stories all Liverpool students will tell their future grandchildren. Once upon a time, there was a nightclub called The Raz. On a Monday night, as midnight approached, The Raz called out for the students of Liverpool to come running. And oh, they came. They queued. And they queued. And they queued. They all complained. Yet, when Monday fell each week, they returned. You’d probably be thinking that this club must be the most impressive and groundbreakingly exciting club you’ll ever witness in your life – but apart from the iconic Raz Bombs and the slightly unsettling green pints of WKD, I must admit The Raz is nothing special. At the end of the day, it is just a dingy cave-basement-pub-hybrid. The only pleasantry that comes out of a Monday night at The Raz is obtaining a Raz cap. Also, who carries cash around with them these days? The pain of remembering it is cash-only policy continues to haunt me to this day. You know what, freshers? You can keep The Raz.

The Red Brick Building’s never-ending scaffolding

Let’s face it. The only reason anyone came to the University of Liverpool was for that dark-academia study-tok aesthetic. The idea of walking around a beautiful campus, holding an obscure book I have read ten pages of in the last six months, pretending I’m the main character in Normal People, seems like the ideal uni experience to me. All I’m saying is the scaffolding surrounding the Red Brick Building is far from iconic, and has plagued the three years that I’ve spent walking around the campus trying to look mysterious. Do better Liverpool!

Saying farewell to the MyTicket

The intense breakup between the My Ticket and the third-year Liverpool student is not something to joke about. I have gone through each of the Five Stages of Grief apart from acceptance. I just cannot let it go. The world is your oyster for the low old price of £2.20. To and from uni? No problem! Fancy a trip to Liverpool One? Hop right on! And then the dreaded question comes, and it goes something a little like the bus driver looking so disappointed in you for not remembering your fake 2005 birthday when they ask you if you’re REALLY as young as you claim to be.

From then on, you will have significant trust issues. Your mental maths has never served you particularly well, so you must face the embarrassment of being caught in a lie. Your relationship crumbles and you will soon be introduced to a date with their friend, the single ticket. I promise you, it’s not you, it’s them.

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