Tuesday, September 01, 2009

7 Things: University of St. Andrews

Inspired by the fun string of comments over a ALOTT%MA here, I present 7 Things people (some tour guides, some not) told me about St. Andrews while I was there.
1. The tour guide told us that if you walked across Patrick Hamilton's initials you would fail your exams, unless you immediately looked up and located the face etched into the clock tower. (Patrick Hamilton was burned for heresy and the spot is commemorated with his initials in the cobblestones.
2. Wearing your gown during holidays might lead to tourists asking for your picture. (I never tested this, but heard stories of students who charged for such pictures and made a nice sideline. Or so they said.)
3. The library is sinking because they forgot to account for the weight of the books. (I have heard this story about other libraries too so I have no idea if there was a rash of architectural mistakes, or if this is some sort of urban legend.)
4. The tree in the quad was planted by Mary Queen of Scots. (The tree did look old, and was propped up in a few places with wires.)
5. Almost all dorms had two names. The official one and a so-called nickname. (The nickname was usually the name of whatever hotel the dorm used to be. And it was mostly true until they built New Haugh - which I thin is too lame to have a nickname, although I did stay there once and it was nice.)
6. Andrew Melville Hall was designed to look like two ships colliding. (Or passing. Either way, it had lettered "blocks" and due to the U shape it was a pin to get from one side to another and basically seemed, well, prison like.)
7. When the announcement came that women were to be admitted to the university, the graduating class marched down to the pier and tossed their mortarboards into the sea. After that, men were no longer allowed to wear mortarboards. (Later the women stopped wearing them too. Although PhDs still got the tams.