Countryside Unis : The Pros and Cons

Michelle Greensted

Illustration: Laura Bridges
Illustration: Laura Bridges

Thinking back to a year ago when I first started as a fresher, ‘the university experience’ was  a phrase that got thrown around a lot. It’s a helpfully ambiguous term that covers anything from your shot-to-hell sleeping pattern to the half an onion that’s the only form of food left in your fridge. However, if you were to ask what someone meant by it, I imagine you would be met with a vague gesture towards general surroundings and an equally vague statement like ‘This! The whole university thing!’

The fact is, this ‘whole university thing’ is actually a vastly different experience depending on your choice of location, course, friends, accommodation etcetera. As a student at Penryn campus, I have no doubt my university life is not remotely the same as that of someone at a city university.

To start with, the buzz of city life is the polar opposite of peaceful countryside. People are forever hurrying places so for someone who likes to feel connected, it’s perfect. However, if you enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle, countryside universities are idyllic little bubbles where you can sometimes forget the rest of the world exists. While you won’t have access to as many big events, it can be nice to just throw a frisbee around with your friends or have a spontaneous barbecue without stressing about following a schedule.

This brings us onto the scenery. With museums, theatre and architecture in the city there are plenty of sights to enjoy. But if you prefer walks or cycle rides through the woods; the Cornwall countryside is the one for you. Oh, and did I forget to mention the walking-distance beach?

However, when it comes to nightlife, I can’t argue that city wins this one as you’ll get more variety in locations and music. As for nightlife here, every student at Penryn can tell you about Club I, our favourite carpeted nightclub. We learn to love it, as a shared experience to laugh (or groan) about the next day. Not to mention drinks will be cheaper, which, on a student budget, is a huge positive. In fact, everything in the countryside will probably be cheaper – I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories about London accommodation.

At the end of the day, ‘the university experience’ is what you make of it. Wherever the location, there will be amazing people and new opportunities, so best of luck to you as you muddle through the confusing yet enjoyable few years. And remember, if you live by the beach and fancy a day in the city, or vice versa, it’s only a train ride away.