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The Best of Exe

Online Comment Editor, Hannah Weiss, ticks off the top ten experiences that define life at Exeter.

Image: Flickr

So exams are over, your student loan has run dry and the Forum’s eerily empty. It’s the end of another year at Exeter, and whether you’re a Fresher who can’t wait to head home so your mum can wash all your socks, or a soon-to-be grad enjoying your last few weeks of freedom before you begin adulting for real, Exeposé has collated a list of the top ten experiences that define life at Exeter.

1. A is a great place to start, and your experience at Exeter is woefully incomplete without the avocado. Whether it’s on toast or making up your attempt to hit five a day, this fruit is an Exetah stereotype for a reason – you can’t go three years here without eating at least one.

2. Speaking of food – and what better topic is there, really? – foodies will never be bored in Exe. All students need to hole up in Firehouse, tipsy at midnight, to experience what may be the UK’s best and biggest pizza. Then there are the burgers in the Grove, which might surpass the real deal in an American diner. And for those sick to death of the infinite queue outside Costa, you’ll find The Glorious Art House tucked away at the bottom of Fore Street, which boasts some truly divine hot chocolate.

3. With all that good food on offer its hardly surprising Exeter students are known for being fitness buffs. I guarantee that during your time here you will either proudly don your stash to hit the gym daily, or take the cheaper option and simply walk up the Everest of Exeter that is Forum Hill. Just making it to the gym is enough for most of us to take a break and head all the way back down to the Grove for a well-deserved milkshake.

All students need to hole up in Firehouse, tipsy at midnight, to experience what may be the UK’s best and biggest pizza

4. Summer term is a time of freedom and occasional blue skies. It’s also the ideal opportunity to take a trip to the beach. Exmouth is home to golden sand dunes, warmish seas and battered fish and chips that are worth risking a heart attack. You can go windsurfing, kayaking, even ride a donkey or hunt for fossils at the Jurassic Coast. Forget flying to Costa Brava when there’s donuts and crazy golf right on your doorstep.

5. The season for sunbathing is also the season for music and Exeter plays host to a variety of festivals that will satisfy every student. Indie-loving hipsters will find fellow fans at Poltimore, while EDM heads will be at home at Hijacked. Making its debut this year, Exefest offers a more mainstream vibe while Respect is the place to go for great food and bands you won’t have heard of but are sure to enjoy.

Exmouth: Image from Flickr

6. Turn back the clock a few months to midwinter, and the perennial Christmas Market, which sees a few dozen log cabins pop up around the Cathedral, bedecked with twinkle lights and tinsel; selling everything from fudge and pancakes to fake snow and handmade jewellery. It’s the best place in Exe to get your Christmas shopping done before enjoying a cider in the alpine pub.

7. If you’re a Fresher, you will likely still regret the money you foolishly handed over to eager members of the Nerf society in September. But your Exeter experience is lacking if you haven’t joined at least one band of students who share your random obsession. After all, finding yourself is what uni’s all about. Take your pick from options including Street Magic, Retro Games (Mario and Pokémon for noobs), and Breakdancing. That one’s my favourite and a shameless plug. But I genuinely spent last weekend spinning on my head next to a tractor as a back-up dancer for a west country rapper (they actually do exist) and it’s a great story I’ll get to tell my bemused grandkids someday.

8. Then there are the societies every Exeter student is either born to join or will be induced to sign up for by enthusiastic housemates. Just keep your eyes peeled for the bubble-gum pink balloons of Body Soc. Snowsports is the natural home of every Courchevel-raised, black-run pro to don a #bleedgreen hoodie. Actually, anything athletic goes at Exe. You’ll find the more bookish types taking selfies in Gandy Street with the Harry Potter society. And then there’s Exeposé obvs, which boasts over 100 members plus a Dominoes subscription.

Your Exeter experience is lacking if you haven’t joined at least one band of students who share your random obsession. After all, finding yourself is what uni’s all about

9. We can all agree that Exeter’s nightlife is a wheezing, tinpot, tortoise-slow excuse for a car compared to the sleek, shiny Mercedes of bigger, better cities like Bristol or London, that remain forever a £50 train ride out of reach. But that won’t stop you from religiously heading to Cheesys every Tuesday like clockwork, or dancing blissfully in a shower of glitter at Magic Hatstand. Maybe it’s the mind-blowingly brilliant Timepiece burgers that convince us to head out for Salsa Night, or the lure of free entry that keeps people going to Ros (no better than when it was Mos). In essence, Exeter’s clubs are a bit pathetic. But we love them anyway. Just don’t go within spitting distance of EX4.

10. As for the actual studying, it’s hard to find the time with so much else to try. Which is probably why every student will eventually find themselves pulling an all-nighter; holed up in the library until only a sleepy security guard remains at the SID Desk and Costa is long closed despite your need for caffeine fuel. Its grim, but on the bright side, sunrise from the top of Forum Hill is stunning.

Every student who comes to Exeter will make it their own, yet it’s a weakness for curly fries and an abhorrence of Cardiac Hill that bring us together. How many of our top ten have you ticked off yet?

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