Varley vs. Woodhouse

Posted on: 25/11/2009

By Dani Birks

First off, sorry! A few weeks behind with the article, essays and general laziness are not a very good mixture. So, we’ve been here a while now, Christmas is coming – is anybody else ridiculously excited by the combination of carols and tinsel?

 Exam pressure is setting in, we’ve made friends and we’re no longer going to the wrong classes *blush*. But there is a divide at Symonds: a deep rivalry that the principal and the police know nothing about… This gulf, rift, barrier…Okay, slight exaggeration. There is a gap though, I’m talking about: Varley vs. Woodhouse.

The ‘Varley kids’ are written off as “freaks”, whilst the ‘Woodhouse lot’ are apparently “far too preppy”. I won’t say which I am for fear of reprisals.

Here’s a quick run-through the benefits and the weaknesses of each:

Varley: Advantages – Ohmygosh! The cookies. Little chewy bites of heaven in a plastic bag, plus a name that the more immature of us *cough my beloved best friend cough* giggle at. – It’s a lot quieter, there’s more space for studying and you stand a chance at getting computer access. – It’s more central to campus, which, let’s face it is ideal in this weather. Who wants to risk rain, puddles and umbrellas-blowing-inside-out (isn’t that the MOST annoying thing in the world?) when you can just walk straight from class?

Disadvantages – The seating is uncomfortable. They’re metal with holes in – can anyone explain the point of that? – It shuts unpredictably (and annoyingly often when you’re in search of a quick caffeine hit!) and earlier than Woodhouse. – There’s less variety. Whether we’re talking food, people or atmosphere. But it’s smaller, so I guess that’s to be expected.

Woodhouse: Advantages – It’s bigger. There’s more space and it’s a lot roomier than Varley. – The canteen! Not only does it make the whole place a lot warmer than Varley, it’s also convenient when you discover you’ve forgotten your lunch and/or have a sudden craving for soup. – There’s more people to talk to. Maybe you shouldn’t go up and talk to randomers, one of my bad habits, but you are pretty much guaranteed to see someone you know when you need urgent homework advice or general company.

Disadvantages – It’s overcrowded, not necessarily during free periods but certainly at lunch and break times. In a college with this many people, it’s bound to happen. Knowing this, however, does not make it less embarrassing when you stand on the people sat behind you whilst getting up. – Which brings us to point 2, the seating is really awkward. You have perform a weird acrobatic movement involving sliding over people, in order to get out of the 4 seat tables. Whilst I doubt this bothers my guy mates, it is a little bit embarrassing. – There’s less colour. It’s all a bit bland in comparison with Varley’s vibrant, art deco-style murals. Varley’s brighter and you can actually hear the music, ideal when you need a mid-day rave to cheer you up after a boring lesson.

So, both have their positives: Varley’s better for studying and Paul Woodhouse is the place to socialise. A negative both share is uncomfortable seating – any tutor reps want to sort that out? Although I have got to say: walking into Paul Woodhouse, unlike in Varley, you don’t usually see people with ham on their faces… Which do you think is better? Comments please…


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