What have cathedrals, clock towers or cobbles got to do with passing exams? Britain is well known for its quirky superstitions and with most of its universities being hundreds of years old, it’s natural they have some ones of their own!
We’ve rounded up our top five UK university superstitions:
1. University of Durham
It is considered bad luck for students to climb the Durham Cathedral tower before graduating. This university-wide belief has been around for years and as a result hundreds of students are seen climbing the tower in the week after graduation.
2. University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews freshers learn to avoid stepping on the “PH” stone outside the entrance to St Salvator’s College as it is considered bad luck and potential exam failure. The PH initials mark the spot where Patrick Hamilton was burnt at the stake in 1582 for his Protestant beliefs. Much like Durham Cathedral tower, once exams are over students are free to jump on Hamilton’s initials in celebration!
3. University of Birmingham
Another one for students who want to avoid failing their exams! There is a superstition at the University of Birmingham that if students walk beneath the clock tower of Old Joe when the bells are chiming then they’ll get bad luck and fail their exams.
Bonus fact: Old Joe is the world’s tallest freestanding clock tower at 100m and has its own twitter account.
4. Royal Holloway, University of London
Royal Holloway is home to the 1864 painting Man Proposes, God Disposes by Edwin Landseer, which depicts two polar bears among the wreckage of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition. There is an urban myth that if you sit in front of the painting during an exam you will fail. This has led to the painting being covered by the Union Jack when exams are taking place.
5. University of Stirling
Back up to Scotland, but this one isn’t about failing exams and is more of a myth than a superstition! The University of Stirling has its own loch which is thought to contain a mythical creature similar to the Loch Ness Monster. Whether this monster exists, it definitely acts as a deterrent to students wanting to swim in the loch!
If you know any other UK university superstitions, let us know in the comments below!