I am sat in my best friend’s living room sobbing. It’s late August 2012 and Sussex University said they could not accept me through clearing because my UCAS points were too low. “Try Brighton” my friend says as she attempts to cajole me for the next half hour, through considerably dramatic sobs and declarations that I will end up working in McDonald’s forever. Finally I caved and huffily rang up, completely expecting rejection. I spent the 4 months of summer since finishing my A levels insisting I didn’t want to go to university but I was crushed to find that Sussex wouldn’t take me and suddenly my future seemed bleak; “I can’t keep working at the Pav Tav forever” I wailed. Miraculously I was accepted, leaving about 2 weeks to sort my life out, including student finance, but that is another story.
Overall, my beginnings with the University of Brighton seemed far from the norm and I definitely would not recommend spending the whole summer in denial and applying just 3 days before clearing closed. It was a stressful time indeed! So by time September arrived I was excited to get on and start my degree. I dreamt of the quirky and effortlessly cool people I would meet at Brighton. Images of brightly coloured dreadlocks, vegan shoes and people that overly enjoy incense filled my mind. So imagine my surprise when I received an email informing me that my lectures will begin promptly at 9am in HASTINGS?! Suddenly my dreams were shattered and replaced with memories of family trips to the drizzly, cold seafront at Hastings and the average sea life centre there.
Almost 3 years on I’m very glad to say that my perceptions of Hastings have changed. After the initial shock of being sent 28 miles in the opposite direction than expected; I found that there were some pleasant aspects to studying in Hastings. For example, the campus itself is only about 10 years old, the baby of the 5 campuses of the university; the second building of the campus was in the final stages of construction when I started. By September 2013 there were numerous teched out rooms available for study, as well as a large basement area with sports equipment and modern looking furniture, a perfect place to socialise on a rainy afternoon.
Unlike the Falmer campus, the Havelock and Priory Square buildings are slap bang in the centre of the town, meaning that when you get those student cravings for KFC, Subway or the temptation to indulge in student loan funded frothy coffee at Costa, it’s all within walking distance. The Priory Meadow shopping centre is also right on the campus’s doorstep and has led a number of my friends well into their overdrafts as new outfits for nights out are always just too tempting. These nights out often always occur in either the Brass Monkey, located directly opposite the Havelock Road building, or West Exit nightclub which is next door to Yates and opposite Wetherspoons. Basically if you have the luxury of studying in Hastings then your drunk stumbling radius need not be further than about 5 minutes. It’s wonderful!
Despite my initial misgivings about studying in Hastings, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else now. We are a small campus and because of this we are like family, everyone knows each other and if ever you have an issue the students union on site will be there, any time.
Overall Hastings students are content, even if like me the majority were greatly surprised to be sent to there, everyone I spoke to said that they didn’t know the campus existed. So the real question why is such a successful, inclusive, modern campus kept as such a secret? A question I hope to find the answer to in my final months at the uni.
By Rosie Rutter