Student Guide: One Student’s Experience of the city

As someone who studied in Liverpool and has stayed in the city, The Guide columist Doug Tonney decided to share his wealth of student experience with us.

It was many years ago I made the trip across the Pennines for the first time to embark on my student journey on Merseyside. As a young man with little experience outside of my Yorkshire village, I was understandably nervous and excited at the prospect of city life. As my first year would be lived in accommodation a stone’s throw from the incredible Anglican Cathedral I was now well and truly in the city.

Your first concern moving away from home is your new flatmates. Mum and Dad are relatively easy to live with. They may pester you about filling in forms and tidying your room but you also get parental love and regular meals. I doubt my new flatmates would provide any of these services (it would be creepy if they did).

I was lucky with my flatmates, Liverpool John Moores did well to put me up with one fellow Media and Cultural Studies student and a couple of people off a business studies course. All still friends of mine to this day.

Although we all came from relatively different backgrounds, we shared a love of football, music and drinking. If you are fond of any of these things, rest assured, you will find like-minded individuals during your university life. My first year went by in a haze of nights out at the student union, wasted mornings in front of Football Manager and afternoons trying to understand Marxism.

I found Liverpool to be a welcoming city, although I didn’t spend a lot of time outside of the student bubble. Unlike today, the choice of night out wasn’t incredibly vast but the size of the city centre meant I soon became familiar with the streets I liked (Bold Street, Seel Street to name two hives of student activity) and those I tried to avoid (Lime Street, Dale Street). In fact the ‘business end’ of town, centred around Dale Street and Castle Street was a mystery to me up until the point I left university and took on a string of unsatisfying jobs in that vicinity.

We were constantly told that the more you put into university the more you get out of it and that is, without doubt true. I started a crap sub-Libertines band, studied enough to scrape a 2:1 and made some friends who I hope will stay that way for life. My involvement in the city’s cultural scene today has taught me that there is so much more to the city. There are plenty of websites, fanzines and clubs to get involved with no matter what your interests are.

Reading magazines like Bido Lito!, websites like Get Into This and even The Echo will open your eyes to the depth of goings-on happening in Liverpool right now. I often say to people it has got better every year I’ve lived here and I truly believe that. If you are new to the city, welcome you’ve come at a great time – don’t spend it all with Football Manager.

Doug Tonney

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