Loughborough’s real ‘bubble debate’

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There is much made, primarily by the University itself, of its 438 acre single-site campus. The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2016, however, allured to the student bubble as a potentially weakening asset – many students feeling somewhat ‘claustrophobic’.

Cast your mind back to your search for the right university. Presumably, you were in one of two categories; the easy sell or the hard sell. I was an easy sell. With all the will in the world to study hard and achieve life-changing A-Level grades, yet no end-product of note, my approach to education at this point would best be represented by a dog on vinyl flooring. Bitter that I had already ruled myself out of a career as an astronaut – yet too afraid to leave the education system and join the human race, when Loughborough University told me that their bubble was a good thing I simply took their word for it. Sound familiar?

You hard-sells, I can only imagine, were more organised. By this point you (probably) were comparing universities using a self-made price-comparison website-like system, and deciding slowly which institution would be lucky enough to have you roaming its corridors and borrowing someone else’s milk. A rare breed, you were able to weigh up the pros and cons before you invested in the bubble, and are more qualified to write this piece than I am.

Now that we are all here, though, on which side on the scales would the bubble effect actually fall? Everybody has their own tastes and would write a different prospectus for future students, but if you find yourself driving home every weekend, then your personal experience of Loughborough’s environment may be worth evaluating. Of course, the advantages are there for all to see: we don’t have to catch a bus to get from lecture to seminar, societies alongside less formal social events are easy to put together, and squeezing 17,000 young people in to a shared study space provides us with a powerful, collective student voice which we exercise when acts of atrocity, such as last year’s logo-gate, need to be corrected. It must be said that, with the active involvement on offer in the union, those who are burdened with feelings of isolation could potentially occupy their minds in a million other ways.

Even if you are not among those needing space, it is easy to see how many would feel this way – especially first year students. The university experience sees most students in and out of halls accommodation, enabling those who desire more to simply live in the town centre. It isn’t much of a stretch to see the benefits to town life, but it also isn’t much a walk either. Many bubble members make regular strolls from the confinements of Towers, to Tesco – home of 20p custard donuts.

Your university experience is exactly that, your own, and nobody can ‘do it all’. Acknowledging the weaknesses in Loughborough’s campus, though, should serve to stack the odds in your favour and help you get what you want from your time here.

Tom Sables

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