0 In University & Grad School

Ballin’ it up in St Andrews

Happy Wednesday y’all! I thought this title was funny and yet clear all at the same time! It’s about the ball culture that surrounds the University of St Andrews.

ball st andrews

I mentioned the balls in many of my posts about the St Andrews’ student life – so I hope you’ve been keeping up 😉 As I have said many times before, St Andrews is a tiny town, tiny when you think that most of the population are students. It is also a very historic town – the preservation trust makes sure the town keeps its good looks and many of the locals try to make sure the town keeps its quietness. Obviously, it’s difficult when half the population is between the age of 18-25. The town doesn’t have many nightclubs – actually it only has one – and so (I think) it tries to make up for it with balls.

While most of them will be shut down kind of early in ‘city’ terms, they are still amazing opportunities to dress up and dance the night away with your friends. There is also usually an incentive to make people feel better about spending a ton of money on a single ball ticket, which is that the profit goes to charity. Philanthropist much?

The university-wide balls are usually hosted on the university lawn in big marquees put up specially for the occasions. Some very noisy ball during the semester will be hosted a few miles out of town at the Kinkell Byre, an old refurbished barn (perfect for a welly themed ball, right?). Smaller events might be hosted at local hotels, and those are always very nice because it feels more intimate!

They feel a bit like weddings (but without the celebrated couple and the old people). It’s a celebration of everyone in this occasion! There is food (from burgers to ice cream), there are bands and DJs, and sometimes even rides! Yes, I know, it always gets a bit extravagant!

quad for ball

they decorate the quad for the special events

ball photoshoot

there are always photographers, obviously!

opening ball

with my friends at the opening ball – photo of Lorena L.

ceilidh ball

ceilidh anyone?

st andrews day ball

totally not pulling off a long see-through dress at the St Andrews’ Day Ball…what was i thinking?

ride at ball

trying to take a photo of my friends on one of the rides

welly ball

welly ball really is a thing! and the most comfortable thing at that!

ball - cupcake table

cupcake anyone?

summer ball

wine and candy floss at the summer ball

600th ball

cocktail party before the last ball I attended in St Andrews – the 600th anniversary ball! …and about 20 minutes before I started crying because it was also our last night in town…

I don’t know if it’s because I never attended a ball before, but I jumped at the chance to go to those in St Andrews. I almost attended the spring ball during my last year of undergrad, but I got my wisdom teeth removed the week before, silly me! Also, in my undergrad, it just didn’t feel very glamorous – perhaps that’s the charm of St Andrews. The architecture, the history, the dark and stormy sea, it’s all helps create the mood!

The thing about St Andrews was that we never took ourselves too seriously – we were there for a year and so we tried to experiment as much of the St Andrews life as we could, which included balls (…gosh I can never say that without giggling like a child). I recycled old dresses (and perhaps bought a few new ones), tried to apply make up like a normal person (I failed, clearly), put on my high heels and headed out a few times to laugh, dance and people watch with my friends!

Did your uni have balls (I just can’t…)? What was your favourite occasion?xx

Treasure Tromp

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