Upholding the Student Life

Despite the fact I’m on my industrial placement year and, therefore, should be just going about a standard 9-to-5 (or close to that as I’m on flexi time, which is excellent by the way) at DuPont Teijin Films (DTF). I’m still juggling my placement with an undergraduate student lifestyle, as there are so many students (around 30) working in the Wilton Centre, there is still a real student feel to the place.

drag queens and I

The lovely hostesses and me at Hardwick Hall

At lunch we all sit on a really long table in the canteen, which is shared between multiple companies (much to the staff’s dismay as we keep adding more tables to the end of it) and all have a good old gab as I’m so used to doing at lunchtime in the Purdie common room in the School of Chemistry at the Univeristy of St Andrews. This table is the “student table” every year and everyone knows it, which made it really easy to find and socialise with the students from surrounding companies as we knew exactly where to find them. After the initial awkward “Hello, I’m Claire from DTF…” it was really easy, a student only mailing list was set up and we began organising nights out and socials for what I have deemed the “Wilton Warriors” – unfortunately, and not surprisingly if I’m honest, the name isn’t catching on.

Unlike at the University of St Andrews, where your choice for a night out basically consists of the Lizard, the Students’ Union or the Vic, there are a lot of options here. If you’re going out on a Friday then Yarm (a nearby town) is the place to be: a pub crawl ultimately ending up in the Black Bull which has the UK’s largest beer garden. On a Saturday night Middlesbrough is a good call, where there are multiple (yes, multiple!) clubs to choose from, which seem pretty decent to me. However, if you are on a budget, then there is always Aruba in Redcar. Think Hive (Edinburgh), but stickier. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of Aruba, but some of the students are pushing for it for Halloween so I’ll let you know. I do know that Jäger Bombs are 99p in Aruba and that there is a rumour that if you ask for your penny change then you get thrown out… It’s almost tempted to try it.

There are plenty of events going on too; a few weeks ago myself and a friend from work went to a ladies day at Hardwick Hall. It was formal-ish dress and had a sit down meal and a few bands playing – including Brian McFadden! Drinks were served by men in their pants and the show was hosted by two drag queens. It made for an excellent day with some good photo opportunities.

Outwith weekend antics, we also go to a pub quiz on a Tuesday in my local, it’s a good quiz and we do reasonably well. One week we came third and won £3.50 and a beer to share between 8 of us – living the dream. They also do a letter draw on a Tuesday after the quiz, which is where you “buy” a number of letters and then they pick letters out of a hat until somebody has three in a row. The prize money in the letter draw is pretty good; two of the students here each won £60 a couple of days ago. Not bad for a wee pub quiz.

jewish memorial

At the Halocaust Memorial, Berlin.

It was my 21st birthday in September, and for that my boyfriend took me on a trip to Berlin, so we both took a week off work (he is on his placement year too) and off we went. Berlin was excellent. There is SO much to do and see, our flight over was at 5am from Stansted Airport so we got into Berlin around 8am local time then spent the day being tourists – by the end of the night we were absolutely shattered. I suppose that’s one of the perks of being of placement, annual leave without having to worry about missing lectures and labs along with having the cash to go and see these places.

Oh yeah, and I also do my distance learning, which I suppose is part of student life here. I mostly do uni work in the evenings and weekends, but I am allowed to do some at work during the day if I have a spare half hour or so. I don’t tend to have any free time at work (they like to keep me busy) but hey, the thought is nice!

Until next time,

Claire Brodie

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