And so we arrive at Part 4 of my comprehensive guide to all you need to know about Southampton (check out the first 3 parts here)- bear with me, we’re nearly done, and it’s all important!
P – Portswood
The home of Jesters and Sobar, Portswood is the delightful part of Southampton just down the road from Highfield Campus. It’s where a lot of students live in second year and above, as it’s a fairly short walk to both Highfield and Avenue, and also has shops nearby, including the huge Sainsbury’s we all know and love. It also has student bars and clubs which attract a large portion of students from Southampton, whatever type of night out they enjoy.
You might find yourself spending a lot of time there as the years go on, and I’ll be totally honest with you, it’s not the most glamorous place in the world, but it’s like the Highfield area’s unruly but well-meaning cousin.
Q – Questions
Bit tenuous (you try thinking of something university-related beginning with Q!), but we’re getting very close to you all moving in now, and if you’re anything like I was last year, you’ll have millions of questions buzzing round your head, and you may not be confident enough to ask people – there are plenty of ways of having your questions answered, and I’m pretty sure with most of your questions, there will be loads of other people wondering the same thing.
One way to get questions answered quickly, which most of you have probably already discovered, is the various Southampton Freshers’ pages on Facebook – they’re full of other first-year students who can help you out as they’re going through similar things, and there are also older students who can answer your questions about university life, so don’t be too embarrassed to try asking.
If you’re not comfortable posting things for so many people to see, have a look for your subject Facebook pages – most subjects will have a Freshers’ page just for people on that course, or if not then just a general subject page for students from all years – as that’s great way to not only post questions for a smaller amount of people if you’re more comfortable with that, but also you should be able to find the academic and society presidents of your subject, who should be more than happy to answer all the ridiculous questions you can think of (within reason), so don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like!
You can also get hold of people in the university for questions about things like enrolment, so have a look for faculty and Student Services numbers on the university website if you’d like their help.
R – Rivalries
It’s actually quite a noticeable part of halls life in the first year: rivalries. Two of the biggest halls in Southampton are Glen Eyre and Wessex Lane, but within them fierce rivalries rage – between Glen and Chamberlain, and Monte and Connaught. In the eyes of the university, they’re respectively part of the same thing, but having their own JCRs means they’ve become separate and reputations have formed, and you sort of have to take part in it anyway, because it’s the done thing – within reason of course.
“I’D RATHER BE FROM SOLENT THAN GLEN EYRE”
This particular chant exemplifies both these hall rivalries, plus the most infamous of rivalries in Soutampton, between SU students, and Solent students. For those of you that don’t know, Solent is the university that’s morein the centre of Southampton town, and let’s just be clear, there’s nothing actually wrong with it. It’s pretty modern, and has some really cool degrees on offer, and I actually know several people there – yet there’s a huge divide between the universities that I think will just always be there. Don’t worry, if your best friend is at Solent, nobody’s (hopefully) asking you to stone their house, but be warned that this rivalry can get pretty vocal at times. Enter, Jesters graffiti:
S – Societies
This is quite a big one in terms of coming to university – at Southampton, we have over 250 societies available, including over 90 sports teams so it’s on the next level from the clubs you had in school. As I’ve mentioned, the Bunfight on Wednesday in Freshers’ Week showcases all the official societies we have at Southampton, and it gives you the chance to speak to them, find out about what they do, and sign up – it’s a great chance to continue things you were passionate about at school, like Rugby or writing (*hint hint*), and also to discover new things you’d never have considered or possibly even heard of before, like Korfball or Quidditch.
Societies are a great aspect of university life for several reasons – aside from looking good on your CV if you get involved, it’s also a nice distraction from university work if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with deadlines, and it’s a great way to make other friends and have a variety of people you can spend time with.
Lots of second years I know have said they wished they’d joined more societies – remember, for most courses, your first year doesn’t count, and that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still work, but it means you can afford to do things you’re interested in on top of your course – so I’d recommend trying out some different societies, and if you find some you like, try and have at least one you can stick with for the year, as it’s a good asset to have.
T – Tasters
Following on from that, most societies tend to offer taster sessions in the first few weeks of term – these are sessions which usually don’t require you to pay their membership, and tend to be full of other people like you trying them out, and you can just go along and see if you like them without any committment.
The trouble is, a lot of the taster sessions end up clashing with each other, so if you’re someone who’s keen to try lots of things like I was, maybe just write down all the sessions and times, figure out which ones are your priority, and try to find a way to go to as many as possible – I’d really recommend it, as even if you don’t end up sticking to some of them, they’re usually a lot of fun anyway!
Come back to the Wessex Scene tomorrow to have a look at the final part of my Guide to you Freshers’ – nearly there!