Mary Newman is a fresher living in Ramsay. Here she’ll be documenting the quirks and oddities of life as a UCL fresher.
This week: she discovers halls are more like Mean Girls than you’d think
In the course of 6 short weeks I have gone from being an only child, lazing around and whittering on about the benefits of a gap year, to living with 500 other people my age. But in reality, like most people at Ramsay, I live with the 10 (or so) people on my corridor. They are the people who understand the power of Febreeze on a vomit stained carpet, the irony of a fire blanket in a kitchen without a hob and why a movie night can be just as mentally scarring as one at KOKO – don’t ever watch Teeth, I implore you.
For the first few weeks it was generally agreed that it felt more like we were at some kind of UCL sponsored camp than at University. There was even something of a schedule, recorded in our unofficial anthem:
Eat, sleep, rave (or get so drunk you can’t work the turnstiles to leave Ramsay), repeat.
But what was crazier than the price of alcohol in London was how quickly groups stuck.
The four people I spend the majority of my time with were also the four first people I met while unpacking. And after the first week, in which nervous introductions were still made and the occasional awkward handshakes, people simply stopped talking to people they didn’t know.
Some of us were slower to realise the change in rules. I was for quite a while the awkward person to sit beside at meals. You know, the one who actually said her name and asked what you were studying. What was odd was how quickly this behaviour became “strange”. There was literally a 2-day period in which it went from being fine to have a conversation with someone, to “stranger-danger”. Sometimes I was even tempted to talk to people just to creep them out. But, you know, I stopped myself on that one. Totally.
Passing in the hallways required eyes firmly fixed on the ground – breakfast and dinner felt like that scene in Mean Girls.
People even started taking the stairs to avoid the awkward lift rides. Well, strictly speaking this last one isn’t true, literally nothing would bring us to that point.
But still, it seemed that once people had amassed enough mates for a night out, they just stopped. For a friend of mine who moved corridor, it was semi-impossible to meet people even when she saw them everyday.
For those of us who lucked out and ended up with a great corridor, it’s fine. Passing in the hallways is a question of how many people can shove through a door at once.
Meals are a chance to steal as much food as possible, and the lifts are only awkward because of the necessary censorship required for people to think you’re normal.
But I can’t believe that it has worked out so well for everyone. Sure, Ramsay is meant to be one of the most sociable halls, but that can’t mean that everyone is having a good time. I get that people need the security of a close group of friends, but it seems odd (and having actually spoken to several people about this, its not just me – they were, however, on my corridor) that everyone is putting all their eggs in their fresher’s basket.
The most consistent piece of advice I was given before starting here was that my group of mates post-Christmas would be completely different to those pre-Christmas. While I’m planning on living in my rose tinted world where that won’t be happening, it does bring the whole thing into perspective.
Although many people will continue to be friends with the people they met in freshers, it’s important to at least recognise that there are other people in our hall, university, and city who might be just as interesting and fun as your neighbour. Although leave meeting them until you’re sober, or you will be waking up with some weird photos on your phone…
Featured image credit: Paramount Pictures