By far my biggest fear about leaving home and going to live at University was the people Iíd be surrounding myself with. While Iím only a half hour drive and a one hour tube ride away from home, I knew Iíd be cutting a lot of ties with friends and family, something which is scarier to me, someone whoís lived in the same house my entire life, than it may be to you. I have a friend whoís long regailed me with his tales of University life, and how he was the only English speaking student in a dorm full of Chinese kids (and not fun ones that can do karate either). Naturally, being the eternal pessimist I am, I was bricking it about leaving home, making all new friends and leaving certain aspects of my life behind.
Thankfully, most, if not all of my fears were unfounded. I live on a circular floor with 20 rooms, quartered into 4 flats of 5 students. Apart from a freshly vacated room C (young Iranian girl called Hanye was having family problems and moved out in about 2 weeks) I reckon Iíve got some wicked roommates:
First we have Caroline next to me in room D. Sheís very tiny, very petite, dresses like a mini Gwen Stefani and is possibly one of the most adorable people Iíve ever met in my entire life; you canít help but like the kind of person who had never used a toaster before she came to Uni. Anyway, she studies Media Studies and she rocks.
A few doors down is Emily, the resident booze hound. When she hasnít got a bottle of vodka in her hand, sheís one of the most hands-down funny girls Iíve ever met, a little bundle of unstable energy with a devilish smile whoís always up for a good time, and indeed, a stiff drink. Emily is a film student. I like Emily.
Next door is Gavin, another film student. Heís pretty damn funny actually, and not in the knock knock funny sense either (within about an hour of the four of us meeting each other, we were calling each other c##ts like weíd known each other for years). Heís the kind of bloke whose door is always open if you wanna pile in and watch a film / catch the OC or play a few violent games of Pro Evo. Pretty sound all round really (even if his hair does look a bit gay).
Elsewhere thereís Ash and Jess (two friends from Kent), Nick (friend of Gavinís from Norwich), Sam McFly and Sam Timberlake (not their actual names) plus the girl half of the floor thatís populated by art students, drunkards and South Africans (okay, thereís only one South African), all of whom are thoroughly pleasant people.
All of this, of course, means nothing to you, and neither was it meant to Ė I could wax lyrical for ages about how cool so and so is, or how funny it was when thingamy made that face, but my point is that almost every single person Iíve met so far is friendly, well-spoken and generally up for a laugh. Itís the biggest relief to know that Iíll spend the next three or so years conversing and living with people I can genuinely call friends. Phew.
University life is pretty god damn fantastic for many reasons, but the biggest is definitely the atmosphere on campus. Everyone, and I mean everyone is of the same mindset, in that theyíre treading new ground, want to meet new people and want to have a good time in the process Ė this makes socialising so bloody easy, because everyone wants the same thing, to get on with one another and have a good time. Compare it to the atmosphere in pubs and clubs in Harlow and thereís a world of difference Ė try introducing yourself to someone youíve never met before and youíll usually be met with one of two responses, either a stony-faced silence followed by sniggering, or a swift chiv in the kidneys, followed by an intimate looting.
However, Iíve discovered a part of me I donít particularly like at all. Because Iíve spent the last month in close proximity with my group of friends (we eat together, shop together and drink together) Iíve realised that I donít actually like my own company that much. Thatís not to say Iím going to dye my hair black, put a crucifix on my bedroom wall and start listening to Staind, more that I donít really like being on my own when thereís group stuff happening elsewhere. Fairly natural you might think, but Iíve found myself sometimes just wandering into the kitchen to see if anyoneís there, or just lying on my bed waiting for someone to get up first in the morning. Itís a tad pathetic, very needy and rather stupid, and itís a trait Iím not overly enamoured with.
Something else that doesnít sit too comfortably with me is my escalating paranoia. Iíve never been the most paranoid person in the world Ė frankly, most of the time I donít give an ass whether people are talking about me Ė but in this new environment, self-doubt is kinda slowly creeping in. For example, Iíll have a wicked day with a group of friends, laughing, joking and being merry, but one unanswered question, unintentional dismissal or joke left hanging in the air and Iíll go to bed p****d off. Itís definitely something thatís amplified incalculably by the booze (Iíve drunk more in the last month than I have in my entire life; my wallet is not pleased) but sometimes all it takes to put me in a mood is five minutes where no one talks to me. Again, pathetic, needy and very stupid, but itís something I put down to the beer rather than my personality, and it hasnít happened very often. On the whole, I go to bed with a massive smile on my face (or candle wax in my hair, but thatís a whole other story).
If it sounds like Iím miserable, Iím not Ė Iím loving Uni life at the moment, really I am. Itís just that when you spend so much of your day with people, even five minutes of solitude can feel like a kick in the ribs. To be honest, apart from these minor personal niggles, I canít fault the atmosphere at all Ė everyoneís friendly, intelligent and in the same boat as me.
This is where things get a little off. Yísee, when I enrolled to a course called Journalism & Print Media, I kinda expected the course to be vaguely related to both the themes of Journalism and the media of print (call me an idiot). However, of the three compulsory modules Iím taking this semester, only one actually interests me and holds my attention for longer than half an hour. Why I am forced to study Radio Journalism as a compulsory subject? Radio sucks, I hate it, and I donít care about it. Why is the other module just Media Studies under a different title? Why should I care about what Marshall McLuhan thinks about how the media is an extention of our central nervous system? Itís an hour lecture of philosophical techno-babble, followed by a German-fronted seminar packed with obnoxious media types and people pretending they know what theyíre talking about (when itís plain for anyone to see that theyíre just empty, husk-like meeja twerps).
Still, only a few months of this and the work is so embarrassingly easy I could do the entire semesterís project in my lunch break (instead, however, I have to do it over a month or so, in a group of people whoíd probably rather be reading Sleazenation and shopping in Camden). Optional modules are still to come in January, including Film Studies (awesome stuff, apparently watching movies and bitching about them is education these days!) and How To Build A Website (or, as I plan to call it, Something I Already Know How To Do). Just got to get through the crappy first few months to get to the relevant stuff.
Student Life: Cliches and Stuff
Itís painful to admit, but most of the lazy-ass student clichťs told to you by rubbish comedians are true. Itís certainly not new information that young people do stupid stuff when constantly drunk of their asses, but itís embarrassing how quickly Iíve fallen into the role of the stereotypical student. Yes, there was a traffic cone in my bedroom, no, I donít know how it got there, and no, I most certainly did not put it to my lips and yell Ďstop telling me what to doí before scurrying away over a hill. And Iím pretty sure that shopping trolley in our hallway had nothing to do with me (although Iím assured I helped take it upstairs, so who knows?). Our kitchen is an absolute disgrace, it rivals that of Withnail and I for cleanliness and our daily diets usually consist of two of the following three ingredients: toast/beans/pasta. Weekly shopping trips are occasions to be savoured, with trolleys more often than not packed with as much alcohol and food, and yes, the reduced isle is most definitely the first port of call (I recommend the chicken tikka bites, they are so choice). Although it started as a joke, vast portions of everyday conversations are now converted into question form? Like this? Because thatís how students are supposed to talk? Damn you Tim Vine and your crappy observations!
But so what? Does it make me any less of a person? I know a few people who were worried I would come back from Uni a complete t****r, and I can see their disappointed faces shaking at me right now. So what, does doing a midnight raid on a schoolís playground make me a b*****d? Is it wrong that we went on the death slide in pitch black, giggling like school girls? Is climbing the mind-rapingly dangerous climbing frame a criminal offence? Actually, stealing a bus stop sign probably is, but thatís another matter. My point? Iím enjoying myself, leave me alone. If I want to behave like a bell end, then I will, because quite frankly, I AM A BELL END. Iím in my natural environment, and if you want to pour scorn and take your seat as Judge Mental then feel free, because I couldnít care any less if I tried.
Quick capsule London nightlife review: itís expensive. Our union bar is pretty dull and uninspiring, but itís £1.50 for a pint of Carling, the music isnít quite as terrible as youíd imagine and thereís lots of pretty young ladies who are up for being made objects out of. Off campus, London is very big, very easy to get lost in and very pricey but Iím sure thereís a few undiscovered gems of clubs to find out there somewhere. So friends, just because I live in London doesnít mean I know all the cool places to hang out Ė Iím just as much in the dark as you are.
Perhaps the only student clichť I donít live up to at the moment is that all students are stingy, reluctant to open their wallets and pay for items less than a pound by cheque (oh yeah, and I actually wash as well). Why? Because Iíve spent so much money over the last month, even my bank canít keep up with me. Beer costs money, food costs money, rent costs money, clothes (and washing clothes) costs money Ė itís just a constant drain on my finances, funnily enough. Iím not so naÔve that I thought itíd all be free, but I certainly didnít expect to still be spending like a twentysomething consumer this far into my student life. Mental note to self: stop buying vaguely recognisable people drinks in the bar, they never get you one back.
Anyway, all of this is the first month Ė give me another 30 days and I could be married, I could be committed or I could be dead. I honestly donít know what Iím going to be doing tomorrow (and canít remember what I did yesterday) and thatís such a brilliant feeling to have, especially after almost five years in an occasionally stimulating but ultimately dead-end job (sorry guys, you know itís true). Thereís still jobs to find, assignments to be started, work to be done on the student paper (hello brand new videogames section and free review copies) and women to be awkwardly chatted up. Iíll leave it there for now, but for those of you who care, Iíd like to make the genuine claim that going to University is definitely the best thing Iíve ever done, and if thereís even a scintilla of doubt in your mind whether you should do it yourself, then bite your lip, be a man and take the step Ė you wonít regret it, I can promise you.
All the people I've met have their head firmly lodged up their ass. I'm the nicest guy you'll ever meet, hell I'm as nice as pie, but these people are ignorant ***ts. I've decided that instead of meeting a new person, thinking they're ok, then realising that they're actually a jerk-off, I'll just assume that they're a jerk-off to start with.
Urgh, I hate them all. I'm the smartest out of all of them. And the funniest. And the best looking.
The girls love me at Uni. hahahaa
I refuse to do the cleaning.
To be honest it aint been
> that hard, work wise.
I hate you
Ive had the experience of living with a flat full of guys, and Im now living with three fine ladies, who are noticably MORE lazier than I expected. The main advantage is they cook, and food means everything to me. The downside is period talk and that stuff (nice!)
> I can't believe it's taken you lot ~this~ long to actually work out
> that I'm a girl!
All those years and I thought you was a man.
How wrong was I.