(Original post by ch0llima)
You all know from a few pages back that I, myself, spent two years at St Andrews before leaving for personal and academic reasons. It's interesting to see that this thread is still limping along after such an extensive period and the bitching bandwagon rolls steadily onwards with the OP getting summarily pwnt at every turn. I personally feel that most of your criticism of the OP is fair, and she hasn't fully embraced or understood St Andrews or its student life and biased, insidious and jaded ranting never helped anyone.
However, there's one glaring point which I feel needs to be addressed and that some of you have been very unfair to the OP about
: the Careers Service. The OP may be wrong or biased about many things, but that most definitely wasn't one of them - it was
a total joke and I absolutely agree with her.
At the University of Dundee (where I moved to), you sign up with the Careers Service and something called "The Placement Basement" and I was getting literally about 3-4 e-mails a week from them with job adverts, not to mention I regularly got e-mails from our School Secretary forwarded on from outside employers which basically said "We've got this role going, could you pass this onto your students in case some of them might be interested please?". In peak periods (e.g. close to graduation), this ballooned to a total of about 8-9 e-mails a week just about jobs and placements with near immediate availability.
In contrast, St Andrews Careers Service was a bit of a joke, especially considering how much they crow about their graduates' prospects and employability due to the prestige of the university itself. The staff were dismissive and flippant, the place was poorly organised with inconvenient opening hours and access to information was desperately poor with the information itself being somewhat out of date. Try as you might, you can't argue with her about that unless they've given it an epic overhaul since 2007, which I highly doubt - although I do try to avoid wanton dogma where possible and I'm open to be told I'm wrong, providing valid proof is presented
That's fine, because you don't really need
shopping centres or nightclubs and they should be considered a nice bonus. I have easy access to both of those in Dundee and rarely use either; in terms of nights out, I prefer local pubs/bars and the two student unions because they're reasonably priced and not half as scummy as the "proper" clubs, which have prices amounting to theft.
I don't agree about the snobbery part, to be honest. One of my course mates was from a dirt poor background and had grant money and scholarships coming out of his ears, but he still mixed with us no problem. For the record, I'm from an upper-middle class private school background and I don't look down on people like that at all. As for the idiots in halls, if they're causing you hassle by blocking corridors etc. chances are they're causing others hassle as well so they're bound to take some flak for it at some point, and they're probably lucky that you're being so reasonable about it. Again, ignore and move on. Their fault for being immature meat heads and you're the bigger and better person for not rising to it - failing that, accidentally trip on them and injure them in the process.
There is definitely a lot of posing and snobbery going on, but I'll happily wager that it's because it comes part and parcel with the age group, the clientele and the sort of student experience St Andrews offers. Like it or lump it, there's no way around it and I learned very quickly to ignore it and wasn't ever terribly bothered. You get posing at every
university, with my advice being to file them under T for "tosser" and moving on.
When you're studying and living somewhere, it's a good bit more difficult to paint an objective picture of it and bias/personal opinion definitely comes into play. Looking at St Andrews from the outside and no longer living and studying there, I have to say that it's different
in many ways to everywhere else and I don't consider that a major issue; in fact, that in itself could be commendable if it weren't for the fact that there are a small number of obviously negative points:
- I can relate to the arrogant cliqueyness, and it is quite sad that such a small number of people in such a small town will bunch into tiny groups and refuse to integrate with each other, this being true in halls as well. I was surprised when my school friend visiting from Edinburgh (both of us are from there, and he studied there too) actually came out and said this as if it was screamingly obvious - looking back, it actually was! I've not seen that sort of thing anywhere since. That said, why should you care unless it's actually bothering you? If it is, then chances are you've got issues - learn to let these things go
- It is a very small town with little opportunities post-graduation, not like bigger cities e.g. Edinburgh and Manchester where there are, mostly, jobs-a-plenty and you don't necessarily need to relocate in order to grab them - you would only live in St Andrews permanently if you got a role within the university and in my experience many of the lecturers and university staff lived outside of the town in the likes of Crail and Strathkinness anyway, so the point is moot. Chances are you'll be there for just four calendar years with time spent at home and away from the university for the holidays, so the lack of opportunities really shouldn't affect you too much at all. Therefore, you're forgiven for not considering this a disadvantage - in fact, put the correct spin on it and it actually becomes a good thing
- What does St Andrews have beyond The Scores and the three main streets? Not much to be honest, although it has 80% of what every normal person would need - for everything else, there's Dundee or even catch a connection to Edinburgh/Glasgow and, failing that, St Andrews is marked on the map and online deliveries can reach you The local parts of St Andrews down towards Scooniehill Road etc. leave a lot to be desired and too many of the locals are hardly university material and outright despise the students. However what it does have it does with absolute aplomb and the students love it for a reason, but it is definitely the sort of place where you need to make your own entertainment instead of going to crappy Dundee clubs or the dreaded Casino (on the corner of Hawkhill and the Marketgait in Dundee, for those who know the area). I had a grand old time just drinking in halls, or going to The Gin House, The Central, Aikman's/The Cellar (when they were still there), The Whey Pat (loved it), Greyfriars or even the union. The union, despite its flaws, serves its purpose well and it doesn't need to be on the same league as others because it's targeting a different market. There were a number of nice house parties as well.
- The KK and Lumsden Clubs - vile, ghastly, cliquey cults which the University deliberately and obviously distance themselves from and quite rightly so. Even when I was still enjoying St Andrews before things went wrong, I looked on those groups with disdain and I remember a group of 10 of us in halls trying desperately to talk a friend out of applying. Luckily, we succeeded
St Andrews is very much a "love it or hate it" environment and it is definitely not
for everyone. 99.9% of people I knew there absolutely loved every waking minute and I enjoyed it for the time I was there, with this unwavering until things started to unravel. I was genuinely gutted and apprehensive about leaving (although the exact mechanics behind this are highly complex and highly personal), but the grass was most definitely greener on the other side and I picked myself up and moved on. Turned out to be a fantastic decision and my life improved leaps and bounds afterwards.
Looking back on it now and compared with my original response to this thread last year at some stage, I have to come to this conclusion: as much as I enjoyed my time in St Andrews, it definitely has its flaws and isn't for everyone. In fact, it has some quite alarming negative points. However, find me a place that doesn't
and plenty of people love St Andrews in its current form and it is definitely different to, but not necessarily better than, other places.
Good luck to all of you in whatever you choose in life and whatever you end up doing