Two years in Manchester has taught me a lot. Being a student is like being in training for adulthood, where amazing friendships, heartbreak and whole nights lost to cheap vodka are all part of the deal. Manchester has an incredible allure, and the fact that it has over three hundred bars and clubs definitely helped in persuading me that it was where I wanted to be!
Both the city and the student population are huge. When I first arrived, hardly a day would go by when I didn’t find myself, quite frankly, a bit lost. Even now, after nearly two years, I still find myself asking for directions, wandering aimlessly round a random part of town.
The city centre is a blast, but student life in Manchester revolves around one place in particular – Fallowfield. Fallowfield is a town on the outskirts of the city, and is the heart of all student goings-on. Living there is like a constant party (with a student discount, of course), and it almost never sleeps. I say almost, because when exam period hits, the student haunts become eerily quiet.
The thing about Manchester students is that they work as hard as they play. And they play HARD. You learn this in Fresher’s week. Mine was something of a blur of cheap wine, fancy dress, forgetting names and being herded into bars and clubs with my newly acquired best friend (we never spoke again). The pace was incredible. My daily routine was: wake up, feel a bit ill, journey into town to find my bunny ears/police hat/eye patch, rock back up to the flat and pour myself a drink or five. I did this for nine days straight before I started to feel pretty exhausted, and inevitably came down with the dreaded Fresher’s flu. Was it worth it? Definitely!
The nightlife in Manchester really IS all it’s cracked up to be. I like to describe it as a ‘cheap London’. After a while, you do learn to be a bit picky. With so many places to go, theoretically, stumbling into the first club you see would be a fantastic plan….In Manchester city centre, not so much. The thing with having so many different clubs is that they differ so much. The sticky, darkened walls of the indie clubs I love might be another’s worst nightmare. The amount of choice is initially pretty overwhelming, but everyone soon learns where they like, where they wouldn’t be seen dead…and where they’ve been kicked out of.
Another bonus point for Manchester is the buses. It’s one of the busiest bus routes in Europe, and they run all night too – very handy for saving that taxi money and splashing out on a post-night out kebab!
The night buses are a classic example of the sort of community that Manchester students form. With a bag of chips shared and (another) new best friend later, the party continues in Fallowfield. Random flat parties and a cheeky snog outside a takeaway are all standard behaviour for a true Mank night.
For me, student life in Manchester is a perfect mix of personal and impersonal. In the vastness of the city, it’s comforting to know that students are never far away, and are always there to catch me when I fall – both literally and metaphorically!
Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni