My name is Chris Stevenson and I am at Leeds University studying English and History. I am a Brummie in essence, although I live just inside the border of Worcester. I enjoy nothing more than having a drink with my mates and reading a good book. Well I do have to say that being an English student… I am also a reporter for the Leeds Student newspaper.
For my first article I could talk about work and how the essays are piling up, but I know you won’t want to hear about that, so I am going to talk about a piece of student culture that helped me to feel right at home…
Having started university in September there was one tradition that was quickly thrust upon me and one that really helped me to settle in and make friends without too much effort, this tradition was the Otley Run.
For the uninitiated an Otley Run is basically a rather long pub crawl starting in Headingly and moving down (appropriately enough!) the Otley Road and in to Leeds city centre; usually involving fancy dress. The official pub count for the run is somewhere between 18 and 20, although the highest count I have participated in is 14. This may sound the most irresponsible activity ever, but they do last six or seven hours, so that people can recover!
However it is not the drinking that attracts me to these events, it is the social aspect. Moving away from home for the first time was a very difficult thing to do, especially as you think making friends will be particularly hard. However an Otley Run was our residence event; and it prompted everyone to dress up in the most ridiculous costume they could find (yours truly was a teenage mutant ninja turtle), go out, and have a laugh getting to know each other. It really helped me to settle in.
I am now approaching my third Otley Run and I can’t wait, this time the theme is comic relief and so we are hoping to raise some money for charity, by dressing up all in red and getting sponsored, which will be great.
But even if this is my last one (which it most certainly won’t be!), whenever I see a group of student in fancy dress making their way down the Otley Road, it will always remind me of an activity that helped make Leeds feel like home by helping me to make load of new friends.
Just remember, drink responsibly and preferably not at all…