The Survival Guide
Living in halls of residence for the first year of your university life is a rewarding experience. But how does the new vulnerable Fresher survive in this new communal style of living? Brace the armour and gather your weapons as you are led through a crash course in catered hall survival.
Our first port of call? Getting up and ready. Assemble a hangover survival kit the night before, consisting of a bag with a (large) bottle of water, phone, purse/wallet, Paracetamol, your meal card and a writing pad and pens for lectures. Get up the next morning, take a 30 second shower, pull on clothes and grab that bag. To Breakfast! The beauty of catered halls is that having enough food will never be a problem. Heed these words — toast 3-4 slices of bread, down a cup of coffee whilst you’re waiting, slather on the jam or Nutella for a sugar boost and fold it in half for travel convenience and eat on the way to lectures. The 9am-er after a night out? Defeated. With your limbs still intact.
After a day on the battlefield of lectures and labs, the average soldier would want to march home and enjoy dinner. But sometimes, our preferences go AWOL. That disappointing, sinking feeling in our rumbling stomachs when dinner is mushroom ravioli or a questionable-looking crusted salmon isn’t something that we should have to endure. Instead, before dinner, venture into the untouched domain of the Student Union shop and stock up on tinned soup, tinned spaghetti, bread, spreads, crisps, Supernoodles, plenty of fruit and emergency supplies of Dairy Milk. Make use of your block kitchens which are well armed with useful cooking ammunition. Your night of dining-room exile is now secured.
With food no longer posing a threat to our army, we now face a slightly more challenging issue; noisy neighbours. Naturally, we are all in the same military division when it comes to this new style of living but, there will be some warriors who will step out of formation and cause a stir; in the middle of the night, no less. With no Lieutenant on duty to deal with this situation, how does a young Private like you handle it? Tread carefully here, as this is delicate terrain. We want to maintain a harmonious relationship with our neighbours, but there will be times when tough love is necessary. You could let the first time slide. This is university after all. Polite notes under the door are acceptable but if it persists, you now are in the position to confront them. By now they should co-operate. If not, feel free to load the big guns, launch an attack and have the Hall Manager speak to them, whilst you smirk in the background. After all, you did try to enter into a peaceful negotiation.
The next obstacle is The Hall Manager. A fellow soldier recalls an incident; “I am practically unconscious, alone in my girlfriend’s room after a heavy night out, feeling really rough. The hall manager is at the door so I stagger towards it and open it. He gives me a once-over look – me barely dressed in boxers – and says: ‘You’re not the resident of this room.’ Too ill to care, I shrug and say, ‘No mate I’m not’ and nearly vomit right there and then”. Later on, the girlfriend was approached by the Hall manager: “You had an unregistered boy in your room? You naughty girl!” She was mortified by his cheeky wink. Hall Managers are neither enemy nor ally. Still, get laundry change from friends rather than the hall office. Avoiding the Hall Manager will prevent the awkward conversation about why you forgot to register guests and how you managed not to pay for the meal they had. With this lifestyle, we ought to try to avoid such insignificant confrontations.
Time has passed and the wilderness has cleared my friends! Bedrooms are familiar, meal times are manageable and we have a solid group of friends with whom we can weather the storm of the remaining two years. Of course, we now know how to handle the hostile type as well. Retain this advice, for you never know when you might need it. This war we call student living is, after all, erratic and unpredictable, with the most unlikely of troopers helping us survive.
The Anti-Survival Guide
For all the advice parents, teachers and friends can give you, university is still a tough and complicated experience. Thrown into the most awkward social situation, you are forced to integrate and communicate with people you may have little or nothing in common with, and will now have to attempt to construct a meaningful relationship out of thin air.
In an unconventional look at Freshers’ Week, we aim to outline the perfect behaviour to entice precisely 0 friend requests on Facebook and approximately 0 invites to future social outings — though Impact cannot be held responsible, if by some miracle, you manage to make friends.
Impact’s 20 Ways to Remain Friendless at University
Announce that Trent was actually your first choice.
Act ferociously territorial about your food whilst shamelessly scoffing the entire contents of the communal fridge.
Demand a deposit from each of your flatmates to compensate for wasting your time if they do not reach your high friendship standards.
Adorn your walls with any Disney cast members. Justin Bieber and John Barrowman are also acceptable.
Request a lock of hair from each flatmate for a ritual to resurrect your deceased pet hamster.
Refuse to talk to anyone until they sign a petition to bring back dinosaurs.
Boast that you’re auditioning for the next Big Brother.
Admit that you’re related to a cast member from The Only Way is Essex…by blood.
Claim that all your kitchen appliances used to be pandas in a past life. Hence, you have made them feel more comfortable by decorating the kitchen with bamboo.
As a trust exercise burst into a Rebecca Black rendition. If anyone joins in, proclaim they have failed the test.
Deny the existence of technological advances and revert to the use of carrier pigeons.
Attempt to initiate all new friendships with a blood handshake.
Every now and then bust out a few Thriller style dance moves, then claim to have been possessed.
In an attempt to ‘aid’ the very well-spoken foreign student, begin speaking very loudly and slowly every time they enter the room.
Claim you have “unique individual style” whilst unpacking your Jack Wills hoodie and Uggs.
Burst into tears at the mention of all things related to cats. That includes Hello Kitty.
Declare your room a Guinness Book of Records site for growing at least 500 species of mould.
Offer to cook for your flatmates on the condition that they capture their own live animals.
Claim you have learnt the ancient language of the Sea Monkeys.
Sulk that you did not make it through the auditions of ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’.