The Student Experience

Welcome to 11 Northcote Road.

A -5* experience like no other. Not just a home to students, but inhabited by ants, rats, the neighbour’s cat and various strands of DNA on the sofa.

The house’s cleaning rota was treated like an unloved child. Never  read, it had been depressingly folded into an origami swan, the rules hidden deep inside it’s paper neck.

The fridge had such a stench, even the butter had developed sentience. As Jurassic Park once said ‘Life Finds A Way.

Talking of life, a leftover Domino’s was aging gracefully in a delivery box. Upon it’s removal, said pizza box was replaced by another to maintain the crusting status quo.


The stairwell was full of abandoned objects. An exciting adventure to A+ E was provided if you slipped on a series of escaped cardboard toilet rolls or a precariously-placed spiked high heel.

There was also a washing room. However, it looked someone had stuck a stick of dynamite inside a launderette. This was decorated with fossilized hoodies which had started to bio-degrade due to being left in the washing machine the year prior.

The garden fence had come down in a storm, and never went up again. It meant we had great, un-barricaded conversations with our next door neighbours.

I moved out from home and to be fair, I had barely been house trained as well.
Desperate to move out out of the parental nest, and far away from the  place where people come to die, aka New Milton, I looked on the world wide web for a place. I found a place on the Internet’s version of Russian Roulette, Gumtree.

One student living there was moving to Australia, so their room was up for grabs. I had a look around, all seemed nice.

I thought living with students would be quite funny. I imagined my new daily life would involve repeats of Friends whilst eating Smart Price tagliatelle with budget ham. This would be followed by partying into the night, then going to work in the morning.  The students would eventually emerge and stumble into mid-afternoon Film Studies lectures.

I contacted the letting agent about the room, but they had no idea the room was going as the student hadn’t actually told them yet. I should have seen that as a red flag. The student in question had trouble understanding adulthood,  so her Dad communicated with me via email.

Sadly, my references to get into this place nosedived. My manager at work had somehow completely alienated the referencing company over the phone. All I needed from her was to say how much I earnt and that I indeed was working. Yet somehow they had pissed her off and now she refused to talk to them.

I had Email Dad and the Letting Company then demanding to know what the hold up was, and I felt powerless-  they were both  saying they would start advertising it to other people, and I had two days until the contract was said to begin.

So cue me rummaging through endless folders, with so much paperwork flying everywhere it looked like I’d be attacked by the contents of the Chilcott Report. During my lunch hour, I digged deep to find job contracts and payslips which I scanned in using a dusty, lonely scanner at the library. A place where they still stamped books.

I lost my rage when (a) Hotmail was being an absolute anusfly and (b) the reference company only received empty emails from me. As the move-in deadline approached, I slowly began to spiral into a vat of stress.

Luckily, the Letting Agent announced all was good the next morning and I was ready to move in. I let out a sigh of relief and danced in the snow. Yep, this country used to have snow. Though I didn’t really dance.

I settled in that night to my new abode, unpacked some boxes and lit a victory cigar. The first few weeks seemed quite blissful. Until things began to unwind.
First up, there was a pile of washing up, competing with several famous landmarks in height. Left for three weeks,  a housemate contested cleaning it up as it was apparently someone else’s. Despite the fact the person she was blaming was gallivanting around Germany’s Autobahn at the time.


‘Kitchen’- by student


I was also introduced to a knackered bed adorning the garden as well as a battered sofa that was home to a sociable army of ants. Such was the problem with cleanliness, a new colony, possibly rival ants, began to invade via the front door. It led to us investing in anti-ant spray to deter them from entering.

I’m surprised my then girlfriend, whose now a lesbian, didn’t end things right there and then  when she visited. Luckily my hide everything in a cupboard approach –  both literally and figuratively – postponed our eventual breakup by several months. Luckily, I didn’t show her my garden.
Beyond a weather-damaged beer pong table, there was also a box outside that had cigarette butts in and other mysterious dregs.
Over time this was filled with rain water. After months of this fermentation, it created a oily mixture which could be classed as a potential WMD, and should have been bombed promptly by power-mad politicians.


Disposing of this took several Co-Operative bin liner bags, a facemask and a bucket load of stamina to drag from the garden to the roadside bins. I felt like I was possibly endangering the eco-system for future generations whilst disposing of this waste.

Talking of possible future generations… The poor living room sofa had apparently been the subject of multiple romps of various spontaneous couples. I could possibly become pregnant by sitting on it for to long.
Without any Netflix, just the chill.
One time I came downstairs to see a housemate being mounted by a guy on the innocent sofa. I don’t believe she was fertilised in  this instance.

Most of the housemates were really nice to live with. One attempted cooking baked beans in the microwave, but when said device made a peculiar noise, he threw them out, deeming the beans to be radioactive. He promptly burnt another cans’ worth of beans, due to leaving them too long in the pan, then gave up and ordered a takeaway.


How I imagine rodents in the skirting board to look

He heard the sound of nefarious rats partying in the skirting board of his downstairs room, so promptly moved to an upstairs bedroom to get away from them. Sadly, the door of his new room came off its hinges. It was rumoured that this was because of the commotion caused by one of the female housemates stepping on a pin. Piercing the air with a time delayed screaming fit, of which woke him up the night before his exams, he slammed the door in frustration.

This noisy female housemate was often loud, annoying and was so grating in every conceivable way. She would come home from work and refuse to speak to me, then not do the washing up as she had to face customers all day. Her method of attack was throwing pens at you or simply existing. Her bedroom looked like a warhead detonated in it.

Another housemate, her best friend, who had the charisma of a postage stamp, disappeared 2 months before the end of her contract after failing the first year a second time. We managed to unlock her room, then discovered she kindly left a plate of sandwiches on her bedroom floor,which had begun to evolve into a new lifeform.
To be honest I was surprised she could even make  a sandwich. Her signature dish was cheese on toast.
Yet how could I be harsh to someone so quotable, who once said:
“I’ve stopped smoking and then my asthma cleared up, and I stopped coughing. So now I can breathe better I’ve started smoking again.”

She failed to pay the last 2 months of rent of £650. Months after we left and still unpaid, her friends were still justifying it by saying she was going through a tough time. However when the renting company started sending us threatening emails with words like court orders, and removed kind from kind regards, they began to lose sympathy and we were all now having a tough time.

Despite a last minute cleaning operation, we later found we accrued £1115.00’s worth of repair work, and coupled with the rent arrears of £650, our deposit wasn’t in good steed at all. Like a toupée caught in a gust of wind, it was gone.

I theorized the £1115.00 was spent on injuries sustained by the deposit company when they visited the house after our departure. I suspected they had found a monster created from abandoned pizzas, student sandwiches, rats, sofa hymen, ants and mysterious black ooze. I guess I’ll never really know how we caused so much damage.



After all the madness of hurried cleaning and whinging about deposits, coupled with a new job, I suddenly realised I had just a week left to find somewhere new to live and my contract was about to expire…

What was I going to do?

I couldn’t end up living with anyone worse… surely?


To Be Continued


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