Belong at YSJU: Make York Your Own!

In the first of a new series to help new students settle into York, Senior Lecturer in Literature Julie Raby shares some of her favourite spots on campus and around York! 

Welcome to our beautiful campus and our lovely City. You’ll hear that welcome many times this week in meetings, as you pass someone in the corridors, and when you meet your tutors. 

You’ll be introduced to timetables and reading lists, Moodle sites, your academic tutor and the SU Social Calendar. There will be some advice about wellbeing at University and advice about study abroad and student reps. You are very welcome here at York St John University. 

May I invite you to be curious, and more so, to be curious beyond the classroom. I’ll let you into some secrets that I hope will enrich your experience here at York St John. 

There’s a buzz around welcome week. Stop and listen to the chatter. Listen to the musicians practicing.  Listen to the singing society singing. Listen to the poets inspiring as they read from their published collections. You’ll hear the sound of the Minster Bells striking the time.  

There are sounds that are unique to York St John and there is silence. Yes, there is a silent space on the third floor of the learning resource centreand here are many quiet places to sit and reflect in the University grounds. There’s the Peace Garden near the Chapel and there are seats where you can sit at the front of the campus and look across our beautiful gardens and see the Minster. 

We are small campus but there is lots to explore. There are Long corridors and secret short cuts. There are lots of blue doors that don’t lead anywhere, and a windy passage adorned with photos of alumni and previous vice chancellors. ‘It’s a maze”, you’ll say, but we are small campus, you’ll find a way to your destination. 

When you are in York, you might visit the tourist spots. When you are in York, look up.  Look up and you might see the peregrines nesting on the Minster.  There really is a spaceship decorating the Minster’s south transept ceiling. Spot curious cats that climb walls of the building and perch on roofs with the birds and watch you pass them by. Where is the Bile Beans sign? You’ll have to look up to get the full experience. In Spring, look up and see the daffodils on the bar walls. Look up and see who lived in our City in bygone days. There’s Anne Lister. Lawrence Sterne. W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Monagu, and Richard III. Oh and the Cruse sisters and they have a blue plaque on campus. 

When you hear fireworks in November and stand warming by a bonfire you’ll know that you study in the City where Guy Fawkes was born.  

Look down and observe the ever-changing campus gardens. Look down and be greeted onto campus by a goose. In Spring the geese will bring their babies to see you, and in the City, they will stop the traffic as they pass by. Look down and discover cobbled streets. Look down and you’ll see the brightly coloured signs directing you around campus. 

Julie's Goose

You’ll touch a keyboard and swipe your student card. You might play sport. What other experiences are about touch? When you read your book is that experience tactile as well as cerebral? Discover your favourite places to read in the city and on campus. 

 We all know that September is the gateway into Autumn.  Autumn at York St John is truly magical.  The leaves change colour and the spiders sprinkle silver webs across the campus. Will you go and see the beautiful Victoria climber changing red in the Quad over the weeks to come?  

Flowers in the quad.

When you smell the air and there is a smell the cocoa, you will know that Winter is on its way, and in the Minster your fellow students will be graduating. It will soon be Christmas, and the silver sprinkle returns in the form of the winter frost. 

You are welcome. Yes, we are rather biased here at York St John.  You’ll see why we think our campus and City are very special. 

Get in touch and tell us your favourite spots around York! Either email Adam or Saffron, or tweets us at @YSJLit – pictures very welcome!