It’s week two of classes and all I can say is Rollins has a lot to learn. Lancaster Uni is a very modern school, only founded in 1960. They have one person booths in the library, a charger with an outlet and USB port on each study space, an entire room for silent reading and a tree in the middle of the library. The tree’s name is Norman. There’s also a laptop check out station and coffee vending machine. They use Papercuts here as well but on the online portal, you can print in black and white and color, and have the option to do one-sided. There are over 200 clubs and alternative health services. You can get massages, acupuncture, and reflexology all on campus. We have three supermarkets on campus including an Asian market. On Wednesdays, there’s also a farmer’s market in the center of campus including a thrift store and fresh food. There are also four different Amazon lockers on campus, which makes it very easy to order things. Lastly, there are ducks everywhere. It’s so cute just walking to class and seeing them.
I just moved into my new dorm three weeks ago. Here in the UK mostly the only freshman lives on campus, so I’m in an all-freshman dorm. My flatmates and I are incredibly close. We spend most of our nights in the kitchen playing cards and I’ve even taught them a British card game called Spoons. We also have two other foreign students in our flat, one from Germany and one from Spain. It has been incredibly interesting learning from them. Spaniards are very different from South Americans. Although he has a Spanish accent, he’s nothing like any Hispanic I’ve ever met.
As I’ve spent more time around my flatmates I’ve noticed a lot more differences between Americans and the English. The British are super nice. They are almost too nice. They are also super passive, not wanting to do certain things out of fear of being rude. My Spanish flatmate said when he arrived on campus people were shocked when he came up to them asking for help. When I arrive to class everyone will stand outside the room. I normally just walk in the classroom then everyone follows me. If someone is standing in the middle of the hallway blocking others, no one will ask them to move. No one in seminars will talk first, they wait for others to do it. I also learned other countries outside the US aren’t big on ice coffee. The UK is just starting to get it. I can adjust to the smaller cups but I do miss having my large coffee. Large cups here are about the size of an American medium cup. Pancakes in the UK are very thin and similar to a crepe. Last night I taught my flatmates to make American pancakes.
In the UK you take fewer classes than in America. There are three terms per year, and you take three classes a term. The term is about 10 weeks. Each class meets once a week for a lecture, and once every fortnight (two weeks) for a seminar. So far I have about once class a day. For me, I’m incredibly bored all the time. I go to class around 9 or 10ish then come back and watch Netflix all day. We only have readings for lectures that don’t meet very often and I often feel I’m not challenged enough.
One thing I did notice right away is there is a massive drinking culture here. The first years arrive a week before classes. They have events all week, some mandatory and some not. The week is designed to help you get used to the college and closer to your flat. Every single night there was a drinking event. One night we did a bar crawl of the city center, one night a bar crawl of the campus. We were always partying. We also always had a fresher rep with us. Our fresher rep is someone who is not a freshman that helps guide the first years throughout time. They are always there to check up on you and make sure you’re okay. They also meet up with the flat every week to make sure everyone is okay. No one is forced to drink, but a large part of Fresher’s week is partying. This can definitely be hard for people who choose not to/don’t enjoy drinking or are not over 18 (the drinking age).
As of right now, Lancaster Uni has its own club run by the student Union called Sugar. You can only get into Sugar with your Lancaster student ID or with someone with an ID. One of the main perks of having its own club is you don’t have to worry about being harassed by older people or abuse from strangers. Another perk was it allowed students with disabilities to still enjoy clubbing. During fresher’s week, I noticed students with severe disabilities at the clubs, which is something I’ve never seen before. I think it’s amazing that the club allows all students to have fun and feel safe. The school also runs buses from the University to the club and vice-versa by the hour. This ensures everyone gets home safe (not that anyone there has a car and could’ve driven home drunk). Unfortunately, the student union made the horrendous choice to sell Sugar to make room for more student accommodation. I will still get to enjoy it before I leave, but after this term, it will be closed. I definitely think that was a poor choice. Sugar allows everyone to the party and feel safe. The number one reason I don’t enjoy clubbing in America is that I am always being harassed. You never know if a random stranger will spike your drink or try to abuse you. Without sugar students with disabilities might feel left out of the party scene. Sugar gives everyone a sense of security and it is really a shame they are closing it.
How to play Spoons:
Line up spoons in the middle of the table one less than the number of people playing. Give each person four cards. The goal of the game is to get four of one type of card. The first person holds the deck of cards. They pick one up and decide if they’d like to keep it. If they don’t want it they pass it to the next person. If they do want it they keep it and pass one of their other cards to the next person. The next person takes the card they were passed and does the same. Once one person gets four of a kind they grab a spoon. Once one person starts grabbing a spoon no matter what everyone has they grab a spoon. The person left without a spoon is out.