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Halls Stink: My First Horrible Term at University

Posted by Michelle Davies from Cardiff - Published on 28/05/2010 at 02:40
0 comments » - Tagged as Creative Writing, Education, Food & Drink

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Yn Gymraeg

Sharing a space with strangers for the first time has been a test so far: I really really like one and I’m near enough at the other end of the friendship spectrum with the others. I’m being too polite, I hate them. Two out of six at least.

I live in a block of seven flats, six residents per flat, at the top of a mountain. The blocks are named after letters of the alphabet. Living in R block should mean I have the advantage of a beautiful view of the opposite mountain because I’m near enough as far up the mountain as you can get. That’s the reward for your punishing trek from lessons to home and from pub to bed.

My view of the valley really is amazing if I position myself right. I’m only five foot four so to look out at the awe inspiring landscape I have to stick my head all the way out of the skylight whilst standing on a chair (I was given an attic room). With sloped ceilings and no window to speak of I spend the majority of my time with my head hanging out of the skylight like a dog in a fast car so that I feel less boxed in.

I was giving my next door neighbour – Bedroom 2 – the benefit of the doubt because I thought I hadn’t seen his personality yet. Not through the Stars in Their Eyes style smoke getting us all high from under his bedroom door. He tends to walk around in a daze, cook in a daze, eat our food in a daze, mumble something incoherent at you and then go to smoke another joint having left a trail of destruction.

Now, I’m untidy, disorganised, mildly lazy and don’t claim to be anything different – but I’m not unhygienic. If left to their own devices most of my flatmates would live like an appearance on Life of Grime. Myself and my favoured flatmate both stayed away for a couple of nights last weekend and returned to a stinking, overflowed bin and the stench of fish stew swimming out of the microwave. We again tidied, swept, cleaned and bagged this mess for them – for free – without serious complaint and haven’t seen them since.

The only evidence of their presence in flat seven is in my plughole. It seems leftover rice and onion chunks just don’t go in the bin? The extra metre they would have to reach must be too much.

The other three flatmates spend the majority of their time in each other's bedrooms, getting high and generally avoiding us. I thought I was simply being paranoid until I was sat in the kitchen the day before yesterday eating my cupboard pasta (i.e. anything that’s in my cupboard goes into it). When the heavy fire door opened, Bedroom 4’s head appeared from behind it, we made brief frightened eye contact, and then he scurried away again leaving the door to slam shut once again. Now, unless his intention was to merely peep into the kitchen, that’s weird... right? Did I have something on my face? I had done one of those ominous coughs a few minutes ago, when something could possibly have flown out but if it did I had no clue where it went. Maybe he knew.

“It’s not all bad” I keep telling my mum in order to prevent her from bundling me into a white van and taking me home.

University life is a surprise so far. I had romantic ideas about living in a scene from Friends with jovial banter and a close knit support network but it isn’t all practical jokes and late night chats. There’s a lot of compromise and so many chores! Where does all the washing-up come from? Not everyone here wants to be my friend, I’m not top of the class anymore; I’m definitely not a size ten anymore – on a late night study session I want to eat everything in the fridge like I would have done at home, but I can’t because it’s not mine. Shame that doesn’t stop the others.

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