I wasn’t alive during the Cold War, but I imagine that the disquiet of the time is comparable to the unease surrounding the first house-sharing discussions. You hear that one person’s signed their contract, and a frenzy follows. It doesn't matter how early in the year it is, discussions will now begin.
It’s the Monday of Week 5, and my drunken neighbour makes the first steps to organise a group. I was grateful – it’s not a conversation I was yet willing to begin. This is where the factions are drawn. Judgements have to be made. The most accepting guy becomes the most discriminating.
Fledgling friendships will be lost. A ‘you and us’ will be quickly formed. Then you remember, you've known each other for five weeks… Surely it’s too early for this. I mean, there’s still time for me to annoy all my flat mates! Potentially that’s a factor in why our discussions have stalled.
What doesn't seem to have stalled yet is our Geography work load. Don't get me wrong, my friends doing Law and Chemistry have it far worse (as I casually write this I’m sure they have real work to be doing), but our essays are piling up. So much for a gentle start to university; we got our first proper essay on the first day.
After taking a year out, I’m now starting to empathise with the ramblings of my friends last year. Referencing is a ball ache. There is absolutely no hiding place for the bullshit that so craftily dredged my A-level essays. It’s a tough realisation to face.
On the plus side, our intermittent essays are being spaced out by some amusing recommended readings. My personal favourite – and this really is on our reading list – has been titled, ‘Is Geography a science?’. It’s reassuring to know, that if I’m ever feeling insecure, it really isn't that bad.
I’ll be keeping this journal article in mind when the ‘welcome drinks’ for cricket finally come about. The stories I’ve heard from other universities are not good. I’m surprised that they're yet to be turned into repressed memories. The worst thing I’ve had to do so far is eat a tub of mustard. Still, that was apparently just for fun. The initiation looms ominously.
Reuben Cutts writes about student life for The Manchester Magazine. He is a first-year Geography student at the University of Manchester.