I've just finished first year at Royal Holloway and I kid you not, it was the best time of my life. I've been back home for less than three days and I'm already itching to go back in September.
Yes, the social life isn't exactly varied, but if there were 6 or 7 clubs to choose from every night then nobody would agree where to go, you'd go out and be unlikely to see many people you know, and you'd probably spend even more money because you'd shift from club to club on the hunt for people you know. Ok, so the SU is essentially a barn with a bar, but so what? It's all well and good having some exquisite drinking place, but where's the fun if you're there with one or two people sat on the sidelines?
Yes, it's expensive. But has Royal Holloway EVER pretended not to be? First thing you see is the sodding massive Founder's Building.. You don't have to be an architect to work out that it's gonna need some serious money to keep that up, and since a fair amount of people are influenced by Founders, they can't really say yes we want it but we don't want to have to pay for it. Royal Holloway is completely honest about its pricey-ness when you apply and before you take up your offer, so you won't get the problem that other Uni's have where there's loads of hidden costs that youre not prepared for. So as long as you go into it with your eyes open then you wont have a problem. Also, if money does become a problem, they're always recruiting staff onsite, such as in bars or the cafes as well as student ambassadors, and as far as I'm aware they pay pretty well.
Egham is fairly dull yes, but there's so many places nearby - Staines, Windsor, London, Reading etc etc etc. Plus theres loads of organised trips to clubs (Oceana in Kingston, plus plenty of London ones) where you have a guaranteed ride back so theres no slumming it in Waterloo station at sillyo'clock in the morning waiting for the first train. Personally, I reckon its better that way, it'd be far worse if Egham was thrilling but you had to scout halfway round the county/country to find anything else when you were bored of its offerings. And to be perfectly honest, if you can't be happy without going out drinking all the time then you're probably not doing something right. You can ALWAYS find something to do: Legoland, Thorpe Park, Windsor Castle, countless things in London and I think Chessington's fairly close, but don't quote me on that one.
I can only speak personally on teaching, but the staff on the Management course were bloody good. The only criticism I would have for them would be that they could do with giving us more hours, but then again, when you live with a Geologist doing 25+ hours a week, anything seems lacking in comparison. You do have to be prepared to learn a lot yourself, but again, that's something they make quite plain in prospectuses and open days. And in all honesty, we're all at least 18, surely its about time we learnt to sort our own lives out? But if it all gets too much, theres plenty of people to turn to.
I can't remember what else people were moaning about but basically, yes Royal Holloway has it's downsides, but doesn't everywhere? It is what you make of it, yes if you hide in your room, nobody will come find you and make friends for you etc etc. but if you're not prepared to make the effort, then nobody will with you. And I can't imagine that'd be any different anywhere else. Speaking as a fairly unenthusiastic person in general, I'd say hauling ass 100 or so miles to Egham was probably the best idea I ever had, and at least 99% of the people I know there feel pretty similar.