What are you doing on the internet reading things, you fucking nerd? It's Freshers Week out there. It's carnage. Your mum's taken you for a big shop at IKEA. You've bought a load of face paint and a toga. You've got a bottle of vodka and a box of tins and a big ol' Freshers Fair carrier bag full of condoms, and you're ready to cause havoc.
You are young and you are lithe and you are brilliant. You are smart and you are destined for great things. You are a good two-hour drive from home and, oh god, fuck, you're so alone. Is it too late? Can you go back? "Hello mum, it's me," you want to sob down the phone. "I don't want to do it any more. I don't know how to cook pasta and I'm scared. Some bigger boys want me to do drugs."
Thing is, you're locked in this prison of further education now, so it's probably best you just get acquainted with all the pricks you're going to meet this week.
The Guy With The Fucking Acoustic Guitar
"Today," he says. "Is going to be the day that they're going to throw it back to you."
He looks down to make sure his fingers are on the right chord, a brief pause.
Nobody sings along.
Inexplicably, he goes and does this outside the SU, ostensibly to pick up girls, and doesn't even once get beaten up. University is a different world.
'Really Into Fancy Dress' Girl
Oh my god stop dressing up as things, Becky; it doesn't make things more fun now that you slightly look like something.
A Guy Who Has Never Bought Drugs But Who Is Looking For Drugs
Somehow this dude is in your halls kitchen, and for some reason he thinks you're holding. "Alright?" he's saying. "Yeah: got any? Any ganj? Any coke? Any MD? Any drugs?" He's talking from behind his hand, looking around wildly. It's cold and he's only wearing a T-shirt. "Hook me up, yeah?"
You'll see him, intermittently, every six weeks or so, walking around the quad looking lost and un-high. "Any drugs, lads?" He still hasn't found any. Has he been to any lectures? Has he slept? Has he spoken to anyone beyond potential amateur drug dealers? He has not.
One day, without anyone noticing, he will slip away into silence, and you will never see him again. No one will ever see him again.
The Literal UniLAD
The day you move into halls you will be greeted by the firm, no-nonsense handshake of an off-the-peg lad – £80 polo shirt; Sports Direct XXL jogging bottoms; tin of Foster's on the go at 12.01PM; two wallet condoms; stolen bottle of Nando's lemon and herb sauce the only decorative item on the windowsill in his room – and you'll think: 'This is alright. Lads are alright. They're quite quiet, polite. He keeps doing kick-ups in the kitchen, but otherwise he's OK.'
And then, the first night of sleeping there, you'll be woken up by a kitchen full of lads that he's somehow collected in the past seven hours – Lawro, Dean, Cabbage, Dean, Deaner, Deano, Dan, Jimmy, Fuckknob, Gordy, Wingerworth, Cliff Randy, Miggsy, The Choad – your new cereal bowls filled with the ash of a thousand roll-ups, Miggsy wearing nothing now but a pair of pants made of duct tape, air shagging your new blender.
Don't worry about The Lad. He'll quit his Sports Psychology degree within six weeks and go back home to get his UEFA badges, and all that will be left, whispered on the wind, will be a single word: banter.
Hysterical Food Girl
Hello, new students and old, and welcome to the prison of paranoia I like to call "the dairy triangle". It goes like this: if you put anything from each of the three tips of the dairy triangle into a shared fridge – that's cheese, milk and butter – then those items will, like cruise liners in the North Atlantic, disappear. This is something you must accept; must offer up to the dairy gods as penance. You will steal milk and you will have milk stolen from you. You will take a portion of the butter when you wake up and decide you need to bake a cake. You're just as bad as everyone.
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Apart from Hysterical Food Girl. Hysterical Food Girl has these special star-shaped Post-It notes that she leaves on her eggs and butter to let everyone know they are hers. Hysterical Food Girl dots all her i's with heart shapes in the passive-aggressive note she taped over the sink. "PLEASE NOTE," Hysterical Food Girl is saying, "THE SCRAMBLED EGG RESIDUE IN THE SINK IS FROM MY EGGS BUT I HAVE NOT EATEN SCRAMBLED EGGS THIS WEEK BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN STAYING AT MY INCREDIBLY DULL VEGAN BOYFRIEND'S HOUSE. PLEASE DO NOT STEAL MY MILK AND EGGS!"
She's on the phone to her mum, crying. "My milk and eggs, mum," she's saying. "They keep stealing it." Little mini-fridge in her room. Can't sleep over the sound of it clanking. Slowly, inevitably, twisting further into madness. She's missing lectures now. Her grades are slipping. You steal another egg.
Someone Who, In Week One, Has Already Done All Their Assigned Reading And Then Turns To You And Says, 'Have You Done The Assigned Reading?' And You Say 'No' And They Say 'Will You Not Be Taking University Seriously, Then?' And You Say: 'No'
Good thing about bullying – and, you know what, bullying gets a bad rap, sometimes, right? – is it creates a strict hierarchical schoolyard structure where everybody knows their place. It's very animal kingdom, very class system: nature finds a way of imposing these hierarchies onto everything we hold dear. And then you go to university and there is no one there to flush nerds' heads down the toilet, so they all get an inflated sense of self-worth.
Someone doing all their required reading and then being proud of it isn't right, according to every universal law that there is. And yet they skulk around, these proud readers, in their Jack Wills hoodies, going resolutely un-beaten up. They are a walking reminder that university is a bubble. Do not make friends with them.
The Kid Who Collects Every Tin From Every Beer He Has Ever Drunk – He Only Started Drinking This Week, And Has Already Gone Through One Box of Foster's And Another Of Carlsberg, Assembling The Empty Cans Into One Great Tottering Pyramid, The Kid Getting Aggy Whenever Someone Crushes A Beer Can That He Could Have Used For The Pyramid – And Who Has The Biggest Tantrum You've Ever Seen When A University-Assigned Cleaner Sweeps All The Cans Into A Big Clear Recycling Bag, Running To His Room And Not Coming Out Until He Has Watched All Three Films Of 'The Hobbit' In Consecutive Order
There is a 90 percent chance this guy is called Rory.
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The Girl Who Just Started A Psychology Course Who Tells You Picking The Label Of Your Beer Is A Sign That You're Sexually Frustrated
Hey, what does this Rorschach card look like to you? *Slowly lifts a solitary middle finger in front of a folded piece of A3*
The Dude Who Really, Really, Really, Really Wants To Lose His Virginity
"Haha, hey," he's saying, in the corner of the SU bar after all your new friends go to the toilet at once, his virginity so firm and in place that you can smell it as he sidles up to you, black short-sleeved shirt still ironed flat from when his mum packed it, going, "Heh, the girls in here, man – they are just letting loose, you know?"
This is the guy who is going to hide a camera in his shampoo bottle in the shared showers. Do not be friends with him, or he'll yell your name out pleadingly when the police march him out of your applied maths lecture.
Girl Who Stays In Her Room So Much You Slowly Suspect She Is Either Dead Or Never Existed In The First Place
You see her on the first day and she does a tight little nod and hello – normally a mature student, this one, mature students of course being adults who didn't quite make it as adults, sinking back into the warm blanket of further education because the real world is full of responsibility and high winds and council tax – and then she grabs an extremely large bowl of food and slinks back to her room, never turning her back on you, walking backwards and smiling still.
And then the whispers start: did you meet the mature student yet? Most of you do not even know there was a mature student. Only three of you admit to having seen her. The person in the dorm next door swore the room was empty. "There are no sounds," they say. "There are no sounds coming out of there."
And then, one day, the door is open, the room empty and immaculate, the mature student just a ghost now, lost to the sands. Did you imagine her? Was she ever real? How come you never see her around campus? Are you even real? Look at your hands. Open and close them. Maybe it's time for a nice weekend at home, yeah? A nice roast and a tummy rub off your mum.
The Kid Who Is Throwing Off The Shackles Of His Do-Your-Homework Parents And His You-Have-No-Mates Secondary School And Is Now, Finally, Free, And So Decides To Entirely And Unconvincingly Reinvent Himself, Really Loudly, At You
"Hi guys! Name's Si, but everyone calls me Si-cho, 'cos I'm a psycho! Just joking. Yeah, I always wear this Dappy hat: sort of my thing. Back home in Kingston everyone used to call me 'Dappy hat'. Oh, these bracelets? It's really cool, actually: I did a sort of placement fortnight in Rio. Beach holiday? Haha: no thanks. No, actually, these really appreciative street children weaved them for me as a gift, and presented them to me through the cab window while I was stuck in traffic outside the airport. Anyway, peace out! Hook me up with your dope dealer!"
The Guy Who Ends Up In A Very Bad Situation With Wonga.com After Spending His Entire Student Loan On Just One Big Speaker
"Look at that baby, yeah. Subwoofer. Can you hear the bass coming through that?" Your skull shakes in the skin of your head. "Yeah. Big sound, like. Still got to buy all the other bits – speakers, tweeters, an actual amp, more than one CD because I've only got them Ministry albums for now – but yeah, when it's done: pussygeddon, mate."
He's spent his entire loan in one day. He has to eat plain oats until January because he can't afford any other food. He puts that one Duke Dumont song on so loudly your genitals thrum. "Naughty!" he's shouting, indistinctly, arm bobbing slightly out of time. "NAUGHTY!"
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The Girl Who Is Really Homesick And Never Stops Going On About How Good Fucking Peterborough Or Somewhere Is
On the phone to her mam the first night, sobbing. Dad's halfway up the A1 to fetch her before she's talked down. Three-hour-long Facetime chats in the shared kitchen to her boyfriend back home, where all either of them seems to say is the word "baby" in a child's voice. Home every weekend on a £40 train for a roast. All her back-home mates turn up in full night-out garb and seem petrified by the concept of electric light, and they all sit there hitting WKDs until one of them cries, rivulets of fake tan streaming down her face, until they decide to just watch a Disney movie while laughing in her room instead.
The Two People In Halls Who Everyone Knows Are Going To Fuck, And Then They Fuck And Then It Gets Weird
Oh, he's got a girlfriend back home, or something, so they can't fuck, but then they do all the pre-fucking stuff – they have playful water fights with each other and spoon under the covers in her room with the door open watching movies – and everyone is like, 'Are they going to fuck, or what?' and 'This is like watching – and I understand the gravity of what I am about to say here – an especially bad episode of Hollyoaks.'
One time on a night out she gets off with someone else and they have a big argument, and then three days later they make up and fuck, and then there are two ways this goes: either these two end up getting married, distantly and in the future, saying things like, "Our origin story was incredibly dull! We really did settle! I'm so happy with the inevitable mediocrity of my life!" or the fallout is really weird and they stand silently in the kitchen on opposite microwaves, passive-aggressively warming up soup and taking them to their respective rooms to consume in silence and alone. With you in the middle. Just trying to make some toast.
The Person Who Is Really Phoning It In, To Be Honest; The Person Who Turned Up And Is Like, 'I'll Do My Reading In Reading Week, Probably?' The Person Who Is Like, 'The Grades Only Matter In Year Two And Three, I'll Just Get Pissed And Put On A Stone And Join The Fucking Harry Potter Society For Now' The Person Who Is Like, 'Foam Party On A Monday? Don't Mind If I Do!' The Person Who Was Good At School – Too Easy, School Was, If We're Honest, Barely Revised And Still Aced All The Tests – But Now Finds The Work Genuinely Difficult, And Instead Of Turning To Meet This New Challenge Head On They Give Up, Score Some Cheap Resin And Work On Their Tumblr Page, Write Really Bad Poems And Short Stories In A Shitty Little Notebook, Wake Up At 2pm, Spend Their Entire Loan Doing Big Shop After Big Shop At Tesco, And Suddenly It's January And The Year's Half Gone, And You Go Home And Your Friends Are There But It's Different, Somehow; They All Look The Same And Sound The Same And Smell The Same, But It's Not The Same – Something Has Shifted And Tilted Among You All; There Is A Distance There, A Jarring Dissonance. And Then You Realise You Haven't Really Got Any Actual Uni Friends, Have You? Not Friends You'd Consider Friends, Anyway, Not Real Friends; But Then You've Been Quite Cynical About It All, Haven't You? 'Join The RAG Society?' You Scoffed, Didn't You, 'Have Genuine Fun For A Good Cause? Fuck Off!' But What Do You Do Instead? You Don't Even Do Sports. You're Slowly Growing Useless And Big, Your Youth Frittering Away One Wasted Afternoon At A Time. Yeah, You've Watched Every Episode Of 'Parks And Recreation' On Netflix, But Was It Really Worth It? The Best Years Of Your Life Are Ending One Second At A Time – Are You Really Having A Kebab For Dinner Again? Your Family Is Worried About You, Mate – Get Out Of This Funk.
Lol @ you
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