If Stranger Things characters were people at your university
Obviously Will is the sinister flatmate you never see after Freshers’
Stranger Things: set in the 1980s, about monsters, telekinesis and Russian spies. Presumably it’s not intended to be the most relatable series in the world, but by god these characters fit the stereotypes so well.
Joyce Byers – A girl who slept with your rarely seen housemate Will and now is obsessed with him and won’t let it go
Ah, there’s Joyce again. There’s Joyce again outside our window at 3am with fairy lights draped around her neck chain smoking Camels and shouting – no, screaming – for your housemate Will, who she is hopelessly irrevocably infatuated with. Everyone quietly hopes Joyce will realise he is not home (or sometimes, is home and is hiding from her). She takes the smallest indications of interest as huge declarations of love and it makes you feel awkward.
“Look!” Joyce is saying as you’re all huddled in the smoking area (she is again smoking) outside the club. “Look he texted me!” Her phone briefly lights up, illuminating a string of sent messages: “where r u? Can u tell me where u r? I can come meet u!! Will? Will!” Will has sent back a single “k” which, let’s be honest, could have even been a pocket dial. You nod encouragingly at Joyce and hope the crush will pass and she’ll get over it.
“Have you ever seen Will’s birthmark? It’s right on the inside of his arm. Nobody knows him like I know him.” OK Joyce. Chill out.
Jim Hopper – Definitely not you about your ex-girlfriend
You wake up, take a swig of the warm tinnie you left next to your bed and roll yourself a cigarette, thinking of times gone by. Who hurt you, Hop? Who did you lose? Yes, posh Sophie dumping you for Hugo from halls might not be as big a blow as your daughter, well, dying, but it certainly feels like it to your aching heart right now.
You’ll spend the rest of your term searching for a girl who might fill the void that the last one left, and by the end you’ll come to the gradual realisation that there is more to life than pining for the past. Possibly while listening to Moby, crying.
Mike – That fucking dick from halls
Mike didn’t shake your hand on the first day. Mike tried to fight you when he was pissed that one time. Mike got really pissed off when you brought a girl back and slept with her in the room next door to him, even though you were both really quiet and drowned it out with Toto’s Africa played on repeat. You won’t see Mike much in second year, save for the time he takes a dodgy pill and calls you at 5am to apologise and tell you that the bad men are coming.
Nancy – the most beautiful, pure, vanilla girl you will ever meet
Nancy plays netball. Nancy lives with three other girls (Ellie, Sarah and Minnie) in a relatively nice house. Nancy has floral throws on the sofa in her living room and sometimes comes to lectures with tea in a flask. Nancy – who is so ethereal she’s one of those girls you have to continuously refer to by their first and last name in a hey, that’s Nancy Wheeler, I saw Nancy Wheeler last night, he’s going out with Nancy Wheeler kind of way – is an angel and you aren’t good enough for her. She’s had sex one more time than you have, you virgin.
Eleven was normal before uni. Just a standard girl, she liked horses, Cath Kidston, the Kardashians, her hometown boyfriend. At uni though, she changed. Now Eleven likes mismatched, oversized clothes and dark rooms and she’s always wide-eyed and intense. Her nose bleeds too much and she spends the majority of her days huddled in her bedroom on the world’s worst comedown, eating Pringles and Eggos in bed and staring, catatonic, out of her hovel/bedroom. Even the way she speaks has changed, whether it’s because she doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “promise” or because a slangy MLE accent works for her new persona better than her native Surrey drawl.
Eleven’s mom who is catatonic, Terry Ives – The one who discovers drugs in a really big way, and actually goes a bit far
She’s only crawled out of her K-hole once in three years – and she only did it to post a wince-inducing status lamenting the demise of Fabric.
The librarian Hopper has shagged one time – someone you had sex with on the first night of Freshers Week and never spoke to again
It was Freshers’ Week. Grow up and move on.
Dustin (fuckin’ Dustin)
Dustin slacklines in the park near uni and is on the ultimate frisbee team, and somehow that gets him more friends.
Lucas (fuckin’ Lucas)
“I’m sorry mate – I hate your new girlfriend. She’s made you into a dick.” Lucas just wants his friend back – he is the guy most likely to post a “bros before hoes” meme in your lads’ WhatsApp thread. Lighten up Lucas, don’t be mad because I’m getting laid.
Jonathan – really intense English Literature guy
Jonathan owns a moleskine journal. Jonathan sits at the very edge of the semi-circle in tutorials and does not participate in the ice-breaker games. Jonathan writes short stories, wants to work for VICE, owns an NYU sweatshirt and is painfully, is torturously in love with a girl from the netball team who simply does not understand him. Strumming a slightly out of tune guitar to an audience of 12 at a student union open mic night, it’s mopey Jonathan Byers. He thinks his fretwork on Love Will Tear Us Apart will endear him to the cute girl in his class – and he’s got it completely wrong.
Karen Wheeler – someone who always tries to have a DMC with you when you really do not want to have a DMC
“Look, you can talk to me about it,” Karen is saying, always drunk in the girls’ toilets of the club, staring deep into your eyes, swimming in and out of vision. “You can talk to me about anything!” Karen, handwringing, sincere, lovely Karen, has the best of intentions, but the worst timing in the world. You’d probably be friends with her if she didn’t do this on every night out. You’ll tell her this when you’re sober, you promise yourself, before groaning and telling her to fuck off and slamming the cubicle door shut so you can vomit in peace.
Dr Brenner – Your weird tutor
“Today we make history,” whispers Dr Brenner, the English professor who is just a little bit too intense, to a table of students he’s gathered in his home study on a Saturday night: “Today we make… contact.” You take a sip of the Madeira he poured you, starting to worry about what Dr Brenner’s weekend study sessions actually involve.
Steve Harrington – The rugby boy you get with who is a dick but like, not as much of a dick as he could be
Yeah alright, alright. He talks a lot about chugging pints and tells you endless stories about tour and all his awful mates have rugby nicknames and he wears trackies way more often than he should. But like, is he that bad? He could be worse. Way worse. He could be the stereotypical jock, making you rugby roadkill. He could have sacked you off after you shagged him and told his group WhatsApp about it but he didn’t – sure, he was a bit weird about it, and his friends wrote graffiti about you in the library toilets after it happened – but come on, that wasn’t his fault, not really. You grapple with this reasoning every Wednesday, until three Jägers down you eventually give in and go home with him again. It’ll never last you know.
Will – Your housemate who you met once at the start of term and then never see
“Don’t you live with four other people,” your mate is saying when he comes round. “Yeah, but we never see Will”. Sure, Will is mentioned a lot. He lives in the basement, sometimes you hear him screaming through the walls at 3am at some neek on a Dungeons and Dragons forum, his mum shows up once to leave some stuff off and looks very frazzled. But nobody has ever seen Will. He is in the Upside Down, lurking underground in between his CompSci lectures. But every time you forget about him he pops up again, leaving some slimy cups in the kitchen, singing to The Clash in the shower as though nothing has happened, as though it’s all completely normal. You will not be living with Will again next year.
The slugs living inside Will
A Jäger induced hangover that lives inside you for days after, occasionally coming to surface like acid reflux.
It’s flat party time, and the room is positively shaking: everyone’s screaming their heads off, and the lights are flickering. It’s chaos, and you’re loving it. Then, as if from the very walls of the flat itself, appears your halls warden/the Demogorgon – a slimy, pale and utterly faceless creature. “We’ve had a noise complaint,” they hiss, before proceeding to suck the life out of everyone in your kitchen with their health and safety ruling.
Don’t be fooled by the anorak, the reedy voice, and the love of video nasty horror films – Mr Clarke is a deceptively foxy man, and has had far more sex than you ever will.
Mr Clarke’s smoking hot girlfriend
You see her once as you leave the library. She plants a loving kiss on his cheek as he clambers out of his Honda Civic holding a tupperware container with his lunch in it. She waves, smiling beatifically at him as she pulls out of the car park. “I love you,” she mouths. He blows a kiss.
You think literally fucking how has this happened.
Let’s be honest, Mr Clarke’s the one with the supernatural powers.
Mr Clarke’s HAM radio
A Bang and Olufsen stereo system, purchased at enormous expense, in the hope that girls will be impressed with the crystal clear rendering of your early-mid-era Beatles records, a superior moment in their oeuvre that you just don’t get on ordinary speakers.
Barb (fuckin’ Barb)
You and Barb were best friends in first year, a more innocent time. Now Barb tuts as you down the corridor as she sees your one night stand leave, clutching her Judith Butler textbook. I can screw who I want, fuck you Barb.
Fuckin’ Barb’s mom – your friend’s really mean bitch mother
She makes them pay rent when they go back for the Christmas holidays and once they went missing after a big night out and she didn’t seem all that bothered. Is this abuse?
Troy the bully – The third year who tries to make freshers pay but gets what’s coming to him
Troy is the meanest person at your first sports social, screaming in your face 10 minutes in, trying to force pint after pint of cider-black down your throat, delighting in your toil. But Troy is not one for the long game. It’s 10.45pm and you’ve made it through the mire to the club. Who’s that slumped in the corner, limbs at odd angles, looking alone and afraid? It’s Troy. A darkened patch spreading down his chinos tells you that Troy has pissed himself.
Benny – The bloke who works in the cafe on campus and you strike up a strange and awkward rapport with
You’ll miss him when you graduate, old Benny. You’ll think of him fondly, of that time he let you off when you were short and of his lovely toasties. Old Benny.
The evil agent who shoots Benny – Fascist librarian
She is the librarian who will not let you take a book out at 5.01pm even though you desperately need it for your essay. You are well-intentioned, filled out the paperwork correctly, and arrived with a smile on your face, and she coldly shoots you in the face instead of let you take out your source book on The Tudors. Don’t worry, you tell yourself under your breath, she’ll get hers.
The hapless supermarket worker who gets absolutely schooled by Eleven – A concerned bartender who believes you’ve had too much and tries to get you kicked out of the club
The scientist who gets eaten by the Demogorgon in the first scene
Look, it’s your flatmate who literally never makes it past pre-drinks, sprinting down the flat corridor to be sick after being forced to shotgun a Carlsberg. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to end well for him.
Donald, Joyce Byers’ boss at the supermarket – the mate whose round it always is
“Whose round is it?”
“…I think we’re back round to you, Donald.”
“…but that’s…I bought the last o-”
“MY SON IS MISSING DONALD.”
“OK OK, same again it is…”