How to make your staircase feel like home
We are family, I’ve got all my freshers with me
Welcome freshers one, freshers all. You've done it!! You've got your acceptance on results day, dragged all your stuff to Cambridge, waved goodbye to the fam and found your way to your new accommodation for the next year. Now comes the hard part, the all important first weeks of *settling in* that you hear banded about by everyone from your dos to your grandma.
I get it, it's a whole lot easier than it sounds and can come naturally to some people a great deal more than others. However, when making a headstart the best people you can approach as those potential "mates for life" everyone tells you you'll make at uni, are your staircase. These are very likely the first people you met at Cambridge and are the last people you see at night, as well as those who may witness your drunken stumble into the kitchen or communal toilet after a night at Cindies. They're important individuals to keep on your side. Here are just a few little tips that may bring a bit of staircase bonding and help make college in your first term/year feel a bit less alien and little more amicable
Communication is key
As in most colleges, your staircase will will probably have a freshers majority, naive, new faces who will just be as unsettled and unfamiliar with college life as you are. Introduce yourself, find out who's living where on your floor. True there may be the odd Mathmo or Compsci who you will meet once and then never see again, but most will probably be up for getting to know those who will be living around them. Get chatting. Set up a group chat on Facebook or WhatsApp. If you're popping out to Sainsbury's maybe ask if anyone needs anything fetching. It sounds corny, but these little steps to forming a real "college community" can be hugely beneficial in the long run.
Share the food, share the love
There's one thing, no matter what the subject, background or nationality of any Cantab I've ever met that we can all agree on.
Food is love. Food is life.
Remember, you're not just sharing a living space, you're sharing a eating space too. While it is important to protect your stash when it comes to grub (heed the words of someone who's milk was frozen solid on the first day of lectures by a certain individual who fiddled with the fridge dial), sharing is caring people. As any good Squash stall holder knows food gets the crowds flocking, so maybe have a staircase dinner sometime, a take-out evening, a late-night pancake party.
The possibilities are endless.
If, like me, you can never get through a whole pint of milk before the sell-by date (the woes of being a non-tea drinker), maybe share milk and other essentials with another staircase person in order to save some dough. Remember, the spare £2 you spend on those double-choc communal cookies could result in endless gratitude and goodwill from your neighbours…
Pres, pres, pres
One of the unexpected benefits of now finding yourself living among hordes of other teenagers is that very fact. All youths. No parental control. Parties and pres galore. True there are the porters, but as long as you stay on their good side and don't do anything too crazy or go too loud they are remarkably long-suffering. Having a big pres altogether means you can meet other freshers, pool your alcohol, play all the drinking games and have a big group when you finally go out and hit the lash. Indeed, what better way to bring a staircase together than to open up your rooms, throw a great pres, have a banging night out and then support each other back where you can meet the next day for that emperor of all meals – the hungover brunch.
Take care of each other
Finally, probably the most vital thing to consider when meeting your staircase is the proximity and intimacy you're going to share. I don't just mean freshers flu, or the awkward convos you may end up having with your neighbour's one-night stand in the kitchen next morning. Also consider the fact these people are going to be the ones you turn to in times of worry, whether its that bloody enormous spider you need off your desk or the late night essay stresses you just have to cry to someone about for a while. If you don't see your neighbour in hall for a day or two, send them a message, check they're ok. If they're not feeling well maybe pop by with a spare hot water bottle, paracetamol or hot ribena (my personal cure for all ills freshers, take note). Just think that if you were in the same situation, you'd want to know the person on the other side of the wall might care if you're alright too.
Cambridge will be stressful at times, let's face it, but when you have people around you who you know won't mind listening to you rant about your supervisor for an hour, or hold your hair after a round of Sainsbury's essential vodka, it ain't half bad.