Move in day...

So the big day is almost here, for most of you this year it'll be Saturday 7th September although if it's a little later don't worry, you won't miss too much.

You will remember this day. For most of you it's the first time you'll live alone. It may be the first day
of a year that changes everything for you. The picture on the right was me on my move in day, and below it is me at the end (don't worry, you don't have to grow a beard!). A hell of a lot changed in that year. It may also be the first time you've lived anywhere but the house you grew up in (for me it certainly was). And for some of you, you may be about to be left in an entirely different country from the one you grew up in where all the people speak with stranger Shrek accents (okay we don't all sound like that but you get the idea). It may also be the first day of a year that changes everything. The picture on the right was me on my move in day, and below it is me at the end - and …

Academic Families and Raisin | No, I don't mean the fruit...

When a normal person thinks of the word raisin. They probably think of the dried fruit on the right here...

When a St Andrews Student thinks of it, it's more like this...

What you see here is called Raisin Monday. It's a St Andrews tradition dating back at least decades, probably centuries. It's really the culmination of the academic family tradition and this is what this entire blog post is dedicated to.

If you haven't already been made aware by the numerous returning students in the Freshers groupchats, St Andrews is home to countless academic families (or perhaps just one depending on how you look at it - more on that later). Academic families are a tradition in St Andrews where older students - typically 3rd years - "adopt" first year students as their academic children. This is generally intended as a way for older students to informally mentor the first years and make them feel more welcome in the St Andrews community.

Academic families are entirely opti…

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Students | Music in St Andrews

With hundreds of studies showing a connection between high achieving students and musical ability, it's no wonder a large chunk of the St Andrews student body are in some way involved in music. From community orchestras, to student societies, to musical theatre productions, you don't have to look very hard in St Andrews to find someone with some musical ability. Music is found all over town but the main center of it has been the Younger Hall (Right). It will be soon be closing for refurbishment when the new Laidlaw Music Centre opens near St Regulus Hall.

Music Society

The main outlet for student music is the Music Society. Like any other society they are student run.
This leads to a diverse range of musical styles, ensembles and performances. The society runs six ensembles for its members. Some are auditioned, some aren't, and they play a range of styles and offer different sizes of ensemble.

When I reached out to her for comment, Kiara Mills - the society president - had…

St Andrews Traditions - Will You Fall Victim to the Curse of Patrick Hamilton??

So St Andrews is over 600 years old. The third oldest university in the English speaking world and like everything that's 600 years old, it has a history. And from history, it's not uncommon to find traditions. St Andrews has a lot. Some are a bit weird but they make St Andrews the unique experience it is.

The Red Gowns

Perhaps the most visible of St Andrews traditions is the Red Undergraduate Gown. These have been worn by students in St Andrews for years. They used to be compulsory but are now an optional garment often only worn for special occasions such as church, pier walks, hall photos, or the Gaudie.

The way in which someone wears their Red Gown will tell you what year of their studies they are in. First years (so freshers pay attention to this one!) wear it fully on, with it up over both shoulders. Second years (such as myself) wear it slightly off both shoulders. Third years will wear it fully off one shoulder (left for arts, right for sciences). Fourth year students wi…

I'm trying to pack. What should I bring? And what should I leave behind?

So it's almost time to come to St Andrews. For a lot of you it'll be the first time you've lived away from home (for me it was too) but this doesn't mean you have to try and bring everything from home to University. This is by no means going to be an exhaustive list of things to bring but more of the things that you might forget to bring before you pack and also some things to leave behind.

BRING - Any Official Documentation

This is important. It doesn't matter if you're from the UK or abroad. Make sure you bring things like a Passport (and BRP Card if that applies) and Driver's Licence. You will need ID to buy alcohol at any pub or shop in St Andrews and it always helps to have a backup. A Passport will also be needed if you want a job. You'll also need official proof of your National Insurance Number if you plan to get a job in St Andrews.

BRING - Information Regarding Prescriptions You Need

This is important. Before you leave home, go to your doctor and…

St Andrews Study Spaces

I know if you look at my previous blog posts, you could be forgiven for thinking there's no work to do in St Andrews. Unfortunately there is that social drag in St Andrews called getting a degree and not everyone will be comfortable with studying in their rooms (personally I kinda like it but I'm used to the productivity of having my two large monitors). Now you can of course study in your room and it's where I did a lot of my work in preparations for my exams in both semesters of the last year but I understand that a lot of people don't like it. That's not to say it's a bad place to study. Your room will be familiar, comfortable and probably quite quiet (but if you want you can play music out loud without people complaining. A big selling point for me!). But if you don't like to study in your room, fortunately there's plenty of places to study in St Andrews.

First up is the study spaces closest to your room. Most halls will have places to study on sit…

What Societies Should I Join? - A guide to societies

When you arrive in St Andrews, it will become obvious fairly quickly that the town itself isn't the most vibrant place in the world for things to do (unless you're into golf in which case you're sorted). Because of this unavoidable truth, you will find that your social life will revolve around the societies and clubs run by the students, for the students. The only problem is that there are literally hundreds of clubs and societies in St Andrews and a lot of people will have no clue where to start.

Most people will say just go to the freshers fayre and the sports fayre and see what you like. Now this is pretty good advice but these events are busy and crowded and it can be a bit of a nightmare to figure out what seems good since everyone is trying to convince you to join their societies. I'll give a few tips on how to tackle the freshers fayre at the end of this post but here's my list of societies and clubs to have a look at and maybe join.

1 - Your Subject Society