To continue the theme of university housing, it’s one hurdle jumped once you’ve secured digs, but oh ho! Just wait for when you actually have to live there. Specifically, just wait till you see who it is you have to live with.
Over the course of my charmed student existence, I’ve had some interestingly nightmarish experiences in halls. I don’t count the usual quibbles, such as housemates who have never acquainted themselves with washing up liquid and sponge, the occasional (or not so occasional) noisy party, hearing noises through thin walls you’d really rather not, etc. No, I’m quite sure I’ve been blessed with some pretty unique housemates.
There was that lovely but harassed Japanese girl who had a rather public mini breakdown because we were apparently too noisy during Fresher’s week, chatting in the kitchen into the early hours of the morning. She, however, was nothing compared to the horror that was her replacement: a vile, asinine creature who filled the house constantly with marijuana smoke, loud trance music, drug dealers and buyers. Hated by everyone but those who got free drugs from him (and even they probably could only stand his company when high), this thing had zero self-awareness, consideration or concept of reality, convinced he was the hottest thing since sliced bread, and spouting accompanying myths of his imagined amazingness. He and his drug-addled companions would steal our things and sabotage our property, before finally being booted out. It became alarming at one point; they were offensive and would have been intimidating if they weren’t such cowards with it.
This is an extreme example, the nadir of housemates; nay, humanity. There were other more minor incidents, nonetheless disturbing in their own way. Such as the time I discovered the floors were so thin that the guy living below me had heard every word of a highly private, whispered, conversation held in my room. Or the girl who left her unfinished muesli on the kitchen table for so many days that it became a congealed mass of mould. Or that filthy stain on the toilet seat which nobody would own up to, and which lingered, intact and hardening, for almost a week before we cracked and attacked it with bleach for fear of being fined by the cleaners (thankfully we had another toilet, which we used instead for that week). Then there was being kept up past 5am because the police were in the house trying to subdue a suicidal housemate. All of which happened in halls.
Indeed, looking back I’m quite astounded by the level of madness I encountered in the two years I have spent in halls, and that’s not even counting the usual concoction of emotional turmoil and histrionics that brews when a group of young people are thrust together, with unlimited access to alcohol. So much for the drama, there are the usual oddities one will encounter. Like the Chinese exchange student (almost every house or flat has one): quiet, and stays in their room most of the time, but will venture out into the kitchen every evening to cook up a storm and fill the house with the smell of frying garlic. There’s the nocturnal housemate, who sleeps all day and emerges from their room no earlier than 8pm of an evening to have some cereal or toast. There’s the drunk one who is always, always out. These three types form the foundation of student halls population.
Having experienced all of the above, the questions begs, why did I choose to live in halls again? To be honest, until I wrote this post, I hadn’t really thought it through much… However, whatever else they might be, halls are certainly an interesting experience. And they’re not all bad; I’ve made some of my best friends from living in halls. Just please, please let me have quiet, normal colocs this time round…
Next post: the joys and woes (for me, mostly woes) of private housing