If you’re new to Brunel this year, there are a few pieces of information that are essential to your survival. Think of them as the Ten Commandments of Brunel, because at some point in your three (or four, or five) years here you’re going to end up experiencing one of these ten points. Listen and learn!
- LOCO’S AND ACADEMY DON’T TAKE CARD.
If you offer your debit card to a bartender in Loco’s or Academy you will be met with a thinly veiled look of exasperation. Freshers get let off because they’re new, but it’s even more frustrating when a second or third year gets huffy because Loco’s won’t take your card. “But they accepted card last year!” No. They never accepted card, ever. Can you imagine the carnage on a Global when the queue is five-deep and there are only two card readers, each taking a minute or more to process a transaction? Total nightmare. On a separate note, your bartender will be a LOT nicer to you if you do not a) wave money at them, b) shout their name or c) push in.
- TAKE A PICTURE WITH ISAMBARD
Whether you want to or not, at some point in your time at Brunel you will have to take a picture with good ol’ Kingdom, the statue of our University’s namesake on the concourse. Isambard has seen things on that concourse that would make your armpit hair fall out so he deserves the proper respect and reverence, which equates to getting a selfie with him on the way back from Loco’s on a Tuesday night. The sculpture is by Antony Stones and was unveiled in 2006 by Brunel’s great-great-granddaughter.
- THERE ARE OTHER SUPERMARKETS IN UXBRIDGE
While Costcutter is great if you’re in dire need of a toothbrush, sellotape or share-size packet of cheesy Doritos between lectures, it is not a good place to do your weekly shop. Despite the name, Costcutter doesn’t actually really cut costs, as found in a Le Nurb investigation last year (Cost-splutter! Amirite?). Alternatives include Tesco, Sainsbury’s and if you’re REALLY on a budget, Lidl. A lot of these larger chains do home delivery too, so you can save money AND you don’t even have to turn off Netflix.
- GET AN NUS CARD
So you’ve seen the perfect dress/jacket/jumpsuit/shoes at your favourite retailer in The Chimes. It’s 40 quid but hey – you’ve got your Brunel ID card. You get student discount, right? Wrong. Unfortunately Brunel ID cards don’t have expiry dates on them, and a lot of the places in Uxbridge won’t accept them due to this fact. With so many Brunel students in the area, it’s impossible to tell who’s a current student and who’s alumni. Do yourself a favour and invest in an NUS card, it’s only a tenner and some of the money goes back into the student union, which means more money for clubs, societies and nightlife! You can buy an NUS card from the Student Activities Reception on the concourse.
- NOBODY LIKES A SIMMIE
You may or may not have heard about Brunel’s ongoing and fearsome rivalry with St. Mary’s University – who only recently got rid of the word “College” from their name (LOL). Every year Brunel sports teams go head to head with Simmie sports teams in the West London Varsity, held every March. The event has been held annually for the past six years and last year for the first time St. Mary’s beat Brunel and claimed the trophy. As you can imagine, Brunel Sport is not best pleased about this and this year Varsity is being hosted at Brunel. It is of DIRE importance that Brunel reclaims the trophy AND humiliates St. Mary’s horribly in the process. If you’ve got a boyfriend/girlfriend/sibling/friend currently attending St. Mary’s, be prepared to disown them. Bru-what?!
- DOMINO’S DOES FREE PIZZA (SOMETIMES)
You may have been walking round through Fresher’s Week wondering why everyone is holding empty, flat-packed Domino’s pizza boxes. Word to the wise – GRAB AS MANY OF THOSE PIZZA BOXES AS YOU CAN NOW. Those boxes aren’t just regular Domino’s boxes. Those, my friend, are boxes that entitle you to a FREE PIZZA if you take them to the Uxbridge Domino’s. It doesn’t matter how much of a berk you look carrying around empty pizza boxes. Free pizza is worth looking like you’ve been raiding bins. The promotion only happens once a year though, so enjoy living off Mighty Meaty with a barbecue base for a month and then surviving on tea and noodles for the rest of the year until the next Fresher’s rolls around.
- THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH SUBWAY
This is another food-related point, but guess what, I’m a student. I like food. So sue me. When the Union of Brunel Students built the Subway outlet on the concourse a couple of years ago, everyone was pretty excited. On the opening day the queue stretched down the concourse and they’d run out of bread by lunchtime. People got so excited that they began eating Subway for breakfast lunch and dinner. This one time I ate so much Subway that I actually started sweating marinara juice (I made that up). You may not think it’s possible, but there IS such a thing as too much Subway. Especially when it is thirty seconds’ walk from your home, your place of study and sometimes your workplace as well. When you feel like someone’s standing on your stomach and trying to stomp it out of your body by way of your nether regions – that’s when you know you’ve had too much Subway.
- BRUNEL WI-FI IS A BIT PANTS
If you’ve moved into halls already you will probably know this. For some reason Brunel Wi-Fi is like your little sister having a tantrum and refusing to come out from under the table. Imagine the table is the internet and the rest of the room is your computer. This is an accurate representation of how much Brunel Wi-fi hates you. In the first few weeks of term be prepared to stand in a VERY long queue for computer support. In other news, if you want to play MMOs or most online games using the Brunel Wi-fi you need to get special permissions granted by someone in computer support (although playing games through Steam seems to work fine). On the plus side, though, as a Brunel student you’re automatically entitled to free anti-virus, which you can get once you’ve registered your device on the network.
- THE LIBRARY IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
The library lives in the Bannerman Centre next to Costa, and it will save your life at least twelve times throughout your university career. It’s open 24/7 – even on Sundays – so if you wake up at 2am Monday morning remembering that essay you got set two weeks ago is due in six hours, no worries! The library will welcome you with open arms, coffee, vending machine snacks and artificial lighting so bright that it’s guaranteed to keep you awake AND looking like a homeless person. Super-duper! In all seriousness, though, the Brunel Library is a fantastic facility for books, online journals, printing and academic support. So go and introduce yourself early. You two are going to be bezzie mates by the end of third year.
10. GET INVOLVED WITH THE UNION