I can’t sit still (no, really, they should totally test me for this).
Since returning from my travels, it’s been difficult to pinpoint a moment where I’ve actually stopped – enrolling at University within three weeks of arriving back in England, moving to yet another new city, and overhauling my life once again in the search of a new adventure (which I initially thought, might be pretty difficult to match since crossing the International Date Line) – it’s all been pretty “go”.
Even this summer, a four-month period where I feel I ought to be swanning off to whichever paradisiac whereabouts takes my fancy (and oh, how the wanderlust is kicking in), I’m busy. Juggling 40-hour work weeks with a 30-hour commute and somehow still finding time to write the odd review (and did I mention keeping a weekend job on the side?) is perhaps not everyone’s idea of fun, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to reaping at least some rewards…
When Unite Students contacted me a few months ago with the London Student Experience idea, I have to admit, I was slightly sceptical (I’m really not someone who takes things for granted, and with the promises of an all-expenses-paid stay at one of their Uni accommodations, Stratford ONE, I genuinely thought they’d contacted the wrong person). However, as the brief became less, well, brief, scepticism began to morph into excitement as a plan for collaborating with Unite Students and 11 “fellow creatives” unfolded in the coming weeks, possessing only two rules:
- You do not talk about #ustudents24
- You do not talk about #ustudents24
Of course, I’m joking; the reality was quite the opposite (in fact, I’d be quite offended if the aforementioned hashtag didn’t end up trending, but more on Twitter later). In a nutshell, we had just three days to utilise our individual strengths to plan, experience and create a London city guide with a twist – it had to be accessible for students. Now, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE London. So the thought of being let loose in one of my favourite cities and having additional platforms upon which to document it was always going to be a total dream (in fact, it reminded me a lot of my SydneyXSuburb days, except this time with fantastic company). However, despite what this link has to say about the city, I’ve never exactly considered London as, en masse, among the most student-friendly in the world. Of course, therein, right in front of me, lay the ‘catch’. But ooh, I always did like a challenge.
Fast forward to August 3rd . Laptop in hand, and rucksack packed (lightly, I hasten to add, thanks to all the practise from travelling), I made it to Unite Students’ Stratford ONE accommodation. After a 5.30am start, and a long day at work, I should have been knackered (and oh, did my inner student immediately note upon arrival that the Stratford ONE beds were almost irresistible for napping). However, with the immediate warm welcome I received from the others feeling a little like I’d entered a bloggers’ Big Brother house (right down to the goody bags and surreal instant bonding over a cup of tea), exhaustion was easily forgotten.
After welcome drinks at Stratford One’s Sky Room (#datviewdoe), a night of burgers, beer, bowling and made-up hashtags at All-Stars in Stratford’s Westfield ensued, ending with a quintessentially British cup of tea in our ‘borrowed’ flat and joint excited apprehension for the experience to follow…
Day two ensued with a morning brief – hangover coffees to accompany our pens and paper – and an entire afternoon to plan our group itineraries. To see what we ended up getting up to on our 24-hour challenge and self-categorised tour of London the following day, read ahead >>>
Disclaimer: While Unite Students kindly invited us to take part in the London Student Experience with all expenses paid, all writing is my own, written according to my personal experiences and opinions.
Because lying isn’t cool, man.