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Our worst halls horror stories – welcome to uni!

For a lot of you, term started this week – to help indoctrinate you into university life, we asked the Dazed office to cast their minds back to their first days at uni

University: the halcyon days of paying thousands of pounds to drink until you are sick on yourself. Despite the cost (emotional, financial...), a record number of people in Britain applied for uni this year, meaning that over the last couple of weeks a record number of you have been drinking goldfish, bringing home a traffic cone you found after a night out, bluetacking Biggie and Pulp Fiction posters to your walls to look cooler to your new mates, burning pasta and lying awake at night longing for home to the sound of someone having sex through the wall. Ok, maybe this was just our university experience...

To celebrate the start of term, and to console you that the chaos you are currently experiencing is not entirely unique to you or your uni, we decided to ask Dazed staff to share their worst halls horror stories. Welcome to uni / hell. 

LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION: TOAD IN THE HOLE

I was 22 years old when I moved to London for university. I did not want to live with 18 years olds in dorm-style accommodation, so I found three girls on an online forum for students who missed the deadline to apply for halls. None of us knew each other, we all spoke online and came to London for two days to find a flat together. We found a ground floor hovel in Bethnal Green that had bars over the windows. One girl was posh, from Tunbridge Wells, and was racist without knowing she was. The other girl had a boyfriend who would scribble swastikas around the flat, on objects such as a box of eggs and a stapler. The one girl who I liked and still chat to was extremely lovable, but the messiest person I have ever met! She would end up wearing no underwear due to the fact that she didn’t know how to use the washing machine. She spilt KFC gravy on the sofa in her room and it stayed there for around four months. If you lifted her duvet, you would find dinner plates with cemented food remains underneath, in the bed! She left a dish of toad-in-the-hole on her table over Christmas – when we returned the mould had grown out of the dish and engulfed the table like wild ivy.

“All the rooms in halls were a headache-inducing bright yellow, the fire alarm went off in the middle of every night and the actual work was so hard I cried after lectures”

KING’S COLLEGE LONDON: DIAMOND EARRING

I didn’t really feel like I fit in when I first arrived at uni. Actually, I hated it. All the rooms in halls were a headache-inducing bright yellow, the fire alarm went off in the middle of every night and the actual work was so hard I cried after lectures. I also didn’t really find “my people” right away. During Freshers’ Week Everyone wanted to go to big boozy organised events en masse like they were animals just released from the zoo. But after a week of making zero friends, I decided I had to ingratiate myself, so I agreed to go to Fabric to see Chase and Status on the Thursday of Freshers’ Week. That seemed like a really uni-ish thing to do and the perfect litmus test of whether I would survive long term (since I was thinking about leaving). I prepaid my £25 ticket (welcome to the cost of living in London) and headed to Fabric. I got so drunk on weak mixed Freshers cocktails that I started snogging a boy called Walter from my halls who wore a diamond earring. I remember he wore a diamond earring because when I decided it would be sexy to bite his ear it came off in my mouth. I left feeling sick (at my own behaviour) before Chase and Status even played.

UCLA: HIGH TIMES 

I studied at UCLA for a year and the halls were exactly like the ones you see in American films with bunk beds and mini-fridges which we of course filled with alcohol (and almond milk). There was a strict no-drinking-in-the-rooms policy and there were groups of RAs who would roam the corridors, enforcing the rules. If they suspected you were drinking and you were unlucky, they would come in and search the room, including under the beds and in the drawers, until they found what they were looking for. Others would turn a blind eye like the RA on my floor who walked past to see the room full of alcohol including six bottles of Baileys – there was a deal on – and silently kept walking. The campus was a smoke-free zone so if you wanted even a cigarette you had to go to the edges of campus and creep around in the bushes. Americans don’t understand normal tobacco rollies and a frat boy once (against stereotype) told me to take my “blunt” elsewhere. Some of my friends would smoke weed in their rooms with towels underneath the door to stop the smell drifting down the hall but I thought that was too risky while on the grounds and opted for an edible. It was strong and took me on a tour of the universe. In the morning (afternoon, after missing all of my classes, and still high, I went down to eat and fainted. The head of the halls got called and I had to talk my way out of an ambulance being called by convincing them I had low blood sugar. I got put to bed with a bowl of Rolos.

NOTTINGHAM TRENT: BISEXUAL BOYS 

We met at a “shabby-chic” (read: tacky) cocktail bar in town, I think it was a Wednesday. He was in his third year. I'd pretty much just arrived at uni. One of my mates was trying it on with his mate so we ended up chatting loads while they did Jägerbombs. He gave me the typical spiel of “yeah I'm straight but you're really cool”. I knew at this point I'd probs be getting it. As both groups left the bar in the early hours we not-so-subtly hung back from the rest of the group, and he diverted to my halls with me “to chill”. We listened to Topman-style dream-pop music and did a few lines of K. Eventually we had quite shit sex. Despite this, I thought he was cute, and in my Freshers naivety sort of looked up to him. We spoke about his sexuality for a bit and it felt hopeful... I saw him the next day outside a lecture hall and smiled. He ignored me. I wasn't mad about it, it was expected. This same story repeated a few times, with different guys, but I always enjoyed it because I'd rather be on the bad end of ghosting than people not explore their sexuality at all... I heard he has a fit boyfriend now anyway.

HERIOT WATT SCHOOL OF TEXTILES AND DESIGN: PEEPING TOM 

I went to a fashion school in the middle of a very small Scottish village. Bearing in mind that they had built this fashion school in the middle of a really backwater village in the countryside in Scotland everyone had travelled from afar to go to this uni and we were referred to by local boys as “fresh meat”. I had friends who had shagged entire local families by the end of the first year. One night in halls one of the girls ran upstairs and started frantically banging one another girl's window door and shouting. Turns out there was a local “peeping Tom” who would stand on ladders staring at girls through their bedroom windows at night. The girl on the lower floor had seen the guy's feet and ran up to tell the other girl. The police came and warned us that apparently this wasn't uncommon and to keep our windows closed. All of the beds were positioned right under the window ledge and I didn't sleep for weeks. Also, a girl on my floor once ate a two-week-old chicken fried rice and I didn't see her for a month afterwards.

“She just lay there crying out my name. We had known each other for less than eight hours.”

SUSSEX: SAMBUCA SICKNESS

I remember my first day of uni well. My housemate who I had only just met that morning drank so much black sambuca she had to get taken to a medical tent (the medical tent was set up directly outside the venue for the party on campus - she was not the only one in there). She just lay there crying out my name. We had known each other for less than eight hours. I got a call from a nurse who asked me to come and collect her and I had to wheel her out in a wheelchair and into a cab where she proceeded to projectile vomit on the driver, me and my then-boyfriend. I was the one that forced her to drink the sambuca (which obvs makes me a legend). She's been one of my best mates ever since - 17 years. My other mate took so much MDMA one night we got back to a friend’s house party and she disappeared. Eventually, she called me and I found her out on the street with no shoes on having pissed herself, talking to a tree.