Why living in Cov is better than in Leam
One of the best ways to disrupt a well-meaning Warwick uni conversation is to say confidently and happily that you live somewhere other than Leamington Spa.
Let’s set the scene. It’s year two, you’ve just got back from the summer holidays, and over the long lingering summer months everyone has forgotten everything about their uni friends. A cheery acquaintance chances the question:
“Where are you living this year again?”
You smirk inwardly at the havoc you are about to create.
The acquaintance’s smile falters slightly.
“Is that in…?”
You finish the sentence for them.
I have often encountered an unfounded prejudice from students who live in Leam towards students who live anywhere else. Leam is like the cool kid at school, labelled cool because they look good. To students, Leam is associated with clubbing, shopping, and going out for nice meals. If you don’t live in Leam, it’s seen as a rejection of these conventions, and some people think this means if you don’t live in Leam you’re weird.
Most people, however, understand that it’s often to cut costs that you might choose not to live in Leam, and end up envying you because you’re not constrained by the unreliable bus services. This is the main issue with living in Leam, aside from the rent prices being higher than in Coventry. Buses are often late or too full and rumble straight past the awaiting students at the bus stop. Bus fares are pricey for the area too, as is the bus pass. Being late for lectures as a result of the bus is a common occurrence.
Of course, you can drive, but then you have to deal with rush-hour traffic and parking on campus, which tends to be busy and costs. Anyway, think of the environment, people.
There is one other reaction to the dreaded where-do-you-live question:
“Oh you live in Earlsdon too? Amazing!”
There is nothing better than meeting a fellow non-Leamer. We have absolutely nothing personal against Leamington Spa. The main street, the Parade, has some gorgeous architecture and Jephson Gardens are lovely. I have many charming memories of the boat hire and rowing along the river in summertime (yes Oxbridge, other universities have boats too).
Put simply, living in Coventry can be cheaper, less stressful and it’s easy to travel places. Cheaper because rent is less expensive than in Leam, and you don’t need to pay for a bus pass if you’re within walking or cycling distance. Less stressful because you don’t need to worry about bus times; you are the master of your time. If you do walk/cycle you get more exercise obviously, which is especially good when sitting down all day in lectures at uni. Coventry Rail Station has links to places all over the UK – I can get a direct train from Coventry to Edinburgh – or you may be near one of the local stops such as Canley or Tile Hill.
Living in Leam can be great too of course, but it’s good to remember it’s not your only option even if it seems like all of your pals will be there next year. If you’re living with fab flatmates, it doesn’t really matter if you’re not in the vicinity of hundreds of restaurants or shops, you’ll still have fun. What’s inside the house is often more important than what’s outside.
That said, I am extremely fond of the Earlsdon high street. More on that next blog 😉