For many of us, university is the first time we’ve ever lived away from home. It’s the first time we’re away from our families, the people who love and accept us no matter how much of a nightmare we are to live with. It’s the first time we’ve ever lived with other people, people who may not share our views vis-à-vis Iron Maiden at three A.M. To be honest, living in a new place with people we don’t know, intoxicated by the heady freedom from the rules and regulations of home is a learning-curve for us all. We were bound to make mistakes and make mistakes we did. At least, I know I’ve put my foot in it on more occasions than I’m proud of. Incidentally I’ve also plotted the deaths of many of my closest friends due to those charming little habits they all have which makes living in such close proximity to them a slow, agonising hike through the burning fields of hell. So, with that in mind and drawing on both my own faults and those of the people around me, I proudly present THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF LIVING IN HALLS:
A communal fridge does not mean communal food. Look, we all understand it. You’ve stumbled in from a night at the club or a bender in the library and you really fancy those Babybels someone left in the fridge. Sure, of course you did, but the thing is so did somebody else. The owner of the aforementioned Babybels! What’s more that person paid for them and they don’t deserve it being stolen from under their very noses. Stealing someone’s food is one of the most callous things you could do. We’ve all been there, we all think we can get away with it, but we can’t. You wouldn’t steal someone’s phone or their iPad would you? Spilt milk may not be worth crying over, but stolen milk is quite another thing.
TWO: Bad Hygiene:
Maybe I’m a little guilty of this one, but it’s not quite what it sounds. What I mean to say is, if by some miracle somebody hasn’t stolen your milk and it’s surpassed its sell-by date, please throw it out. Please don’t leave a block of cheese congealing on the back of the top shelf. If you use the microwave and it gets messy, at least come back after you’ve eaten to clean it up. The sink is one of the best places to wash dishes; please use it! Do not leave them there in the vague hope they might spawn a new breed of life and earn you your dissertation early.
You’ve got a tutorial at Nine o’clock, and you’re genuinely proud of yourself because for the first time since moving-in day you’ve gone to bed at a sensible time. You’re going to be awake, you’re going to be alert, and you’re going to be utterly on-the-money as it were. Then your neighbour comes charging up your staircase sounding like a herd of Elephants on World-Cup final day. There’s nothing worse than the steady rhythmic thumping of someone clattering about above you, it seems to reverberate through the walls! This one’s annoying for a million reasons, but it’s mostly that it’s just plain ignorant. It doesn’t take much to be just a little quieter and let everyone enjoy their night the way they want to.
On the theme of noise, there’s music. This probably makes me sound really miserable and I don’t mean to say I don’t like music. Everyone likes music but the wonderful thing about it is that it’s so varied. This means that I may not appreciate a shockingly loud rendition of whichever K-Pop nonsense my neighbour has decided they need to listen to at cacophonous volume for three hours straight. Actually no, the rule applies for music I do like too. I’m not ashamed to admit I enjoy the occasional Taylor Swift song, but even she sounds awful when she bleeds through the wall, muffled and undecipherable.
FIVE: Marking your territory:
Everyone uses the same showers, and there’s not that many on the staircase. Admittedly, there’s always that one person with the bathroom right outside their door and I perfectly understand why they might be a tad resentful when they have to wait to use it in the morning. This is no excuse to leave their shampoos, conditioners and shower gels in the shower for the rest of us to trip over. The little town of passive aggressive reminders that this shower is close to your room is being ignored. Frankly if they’re not moved soon, I’m going to start using your shampoo and we’ll see how much you like that.
SIX: Taking too long in the shower:
Look we’re all waiting, and we all need a shower. None of us want to go out still smelling of last night’s takeaway or followed by that dank cloud of musk that floats around when you’ve been stuck in your room for the past three days by that troublesome problem sheet. Maybe it’s just me that whenever I have a shower I’m acutely conscious of the other people who might want to use it. Maybe it’s just me that’s developed the ever-giving skill of speed showering. Having a nice relaxing shower is a home comfort, like a full drawer of chocolate or a guaranteed lift everywhere. In halls it’s get in and get out, but if you want to sing go ahead, it brightens everyone’s day.
SEVEN: Moaning about living in halls:
We’re all guilty of this. It’s a natural transgression isn’t it? When you live with a small group of people the accommodation officer who barely knows you drew together, you’re going to get mad. Though life is much easier if we’re not ceaselessly ranting at each other about the little things. Bottle it all up, grin and bear it and then write a passive aggressive blog article about it instead. Trust me, it helps.