‘There were maggots everywhere’: UoB’s grimmest flat stories
Because bottles on the windows get way grosser than you think
Ah, freshers. A time for new friends, questionable drinking, and discovering new and disturbing levels of just how bad a kitchen counter can look. So, I thought to myself, what better way to welcome first years than to tell them about how bad it’s going to get! The bottles you started putting on the window sills from the first night? At least wash out the dregs, unless you want them to start to fester and get stuck like ours did.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves the new-found freedom that comes from not having their mum there to nag them to clean their room, or be silent after 9pm, but even I can admit this can go a step too far. Here’s some first-hand experiences from the students that have been through it themselves. I tried to give some advice on how to prevent it happening but some are unavoidable.
"He vomited on his own carpet, and didn’t realise"
A tale as old as time – pre too hard, don’t make it out. “Although a group decision was made to stay in, it turned out for one guy, this may have saved him even more embarrassment. After telling us he was going to bed, he returned about 10 minutes later, with the words ‘someone’s been sick on my carpet??’. Seriously.”
If your mate is in a state and may need a hand, be there for them and hold their hair back over the toilet or something. In an instance like this, you could save them time, energy, and cleaning fees the next day. Basically, be a saint.
"There were maggots everywhere"
“Up until Easter, I was the only one (in a flat of six other people) taking the bins out. At Easter I decided, do you know what? You can do it!” Needless to say, they didn’t. Doesn’t sound too bad? Imagine 10 bin bags overflowing, and maggots beginning to accumulate in the room you eat in. Yikes.
No one likes taking the bins out. Who would enjoy lugging smelly rubbish down flights of stairs, especially when, let’s be real, those bags are filled with an unreasonable number of heavy bottles? I'll admit that some people are less likely to get on board, but having the confidence to take a (polite) stand early on and establish things like a bin rota can be really helpful in the long run. It’s much easier to get a good response when it’s one person’s job at a time.
"I got stress-induced shingles from him"
“My flatmate had his friends over and trashed the kitchen, pulled all the plastic wrap off from around our kitchen table and then ate all of my granola and yogurt??? When we asked him if he could clean up his mess, he left the group chat. I got shingles not long after, and I seriously think he contributed.”
I don’t know if I have much advice for preventing nasty infections, but sometimes you’ve got to be up front about any issues you have – in person. Messages in a group chat, however well-meaning, can often come across as passive aggressive, so you’ve got to bite the bullet and talk to their face, even if it makes you cringe saying what has to be said out loud.
"It smelt of rotting tuna pasta"
"My flatmate went home for reading week and didn't do her washing up. In a passive aggressive fashion, one of the others put all the dirty dishes outside her room. The corridor smelt of rotting tuna pasta for the rest of the year."
To be fair, when someone doesn't think to clean up when they'll be gone for a week there's probably little that can be done to stop them. But again, making sure you're as direct as possible and asking them to do something about it before it becomes a problem could be the difference between whether or not a fishy stench lingers during exam season.
"My flatmate had mould growing in her room – and was weirdly proud of it?"
“For all I knew, the room next to mine had never had a floor, rather a flood of clothes, pizza boxes, and other trails of my flatmate’s existence.”
My advice for this is simple: never ask for anything back. Are you missing cutlery or other kitchenware? Kiss it goodbye. If it’s in the hands of someone like this, it will be growing mould from having sat untouched for days, potentially weeks.
"He was having 4am bike races"
"While I’m always down for being up until the early hours, I prefer when it’s planned. It wasn’t a surprise to be woken up by this particular flatmate – he had warned us he’d have people round – but I wasn’t expecting the disturbance to be coming from the hallway. Initially thinking he and his guests were in the kitchen, I later realised they were riding a bike up and down the hallway of our third-story flat, one that definitely wasn’t there earlier that day."
I fully support calls for more accessible cycling at UoB, but I think it’s fair to say that I mean outdoors. I don’t know what to tell you on this one. Sometimes, you have to hope you can laugh about it later – and after all, it might make a funny story someday.