Before picking out accommodation in Glasgow I knew two things topped my list of priorities:
My course, dentistry (legendary for 9-5 days) and training, in my case for athletics.
When I first received my offer I decided wherever I stayed it would have to be close to the University and Dental School and near to transport links in order take me to one of Glasgow’s athletics tracks, which do tend to be off the beaten track.
I must have been an absolute menace to residential services! If I was in Glasgow for a race I always tried to visit the various halls of residence to have a look at the rooms and establish just how fast I’d have to be for ’20 minutes walking distance’ to ring true. However, they were very helpful and the local knowledge was useful for sussing out where the most convenient place to live would be.
Deciding on Cairncross House was an obvious choice. 20 minutes brisk walk to Boyd Orr for labs or to the Dental School for lectures, right next to a bus route to tracks at Scotstoun or Crownpoint and close to cycling and walking routes along the Clyde that look spectacular when lit up in the dark (as I run at 6am some mornings I need something really special to wake me up.)
On the days I’m not training in Kelvingrove Park (which I can see from my room if I stick my head out the window) or at the track, I have to try and squeeze something in wherever I can. As well as being a member of various University running groups, I swim on a Monday morning and the close proximity to the Stevenson building pool grants me a vital extra 10 minutes in bed!
Living in Cairncross meant that from the moment I arrived I could use the Stevenson building facilities, great for finding my trainer-clad feet in a new place. Although, as a distance runner, I don't lift anything heavy and I'm a long way from being able to touch my toes so I immediately included several classes in my training routine. Circuit classes include ‘teamwork’ sections, a great informal icebreaker during Freshers' week, and during Yoga, staff were always very supportive of me, even if for the first few sessions I had to be helped into downward dog! We never do the same set of exercises twice which means that it’s impossible to get bored and it is a great place to meet up with flatmates or teammates after a day of studies.