What it’s really like to have a freshers flat party in lockdown

Thanks for ruining my social life, covid

Flat parties are a new thing inspired by 2020 as Sugar and GLOW are no longer an option. However these parties are confined to you and the members of your own flat only, as opposed to a messy pres followed by catching the last bus to Sugar where you feel claustrophobic being pushed around by hundreds of drunk students then end up waking up on your mate’s floor at 4am.

Returning to the now-familiar national lockdown has somewhat dampened the party vibe. Between pubs and clubs closing their doors again and socializing of any kind being chastised, it’s harder than ever to embrace the archetypal student role by drinking first and asking questions later, regardless of the consequences; likely due to the fact that the consequences are more severe than ever these days.

This does not have to mean that you can’t enjoy yourself in reduced numbers though, and as a clear disciple of debauchery I am the perfect person to guide you through the highs and lows of my flat’s drinking sessions.

Obtaining supplies

An obviously integral aspect of the 2020 flat party is heading out to Central or Spar and grabbing whatever alcoholic supplies that your maintenance loan permits you to indulge in. Whether this is a reliable four cans of dark fruits, the deadly yet customary bottle of Smirnoff, or perhaps a helping of Malibu to give your Bailrigg-based gathering an uncharacteristically Caribbean twist. The walk to collect booze has become a sacred ritual for my flat, worth braving the rain, long queues and indignity of being asked for ID even though you live here.

Once your assets have been acquired, its time to wade through the groups of other people, who’ve had the exact same idea as your flat, and head home ready to abuse your liver and diminishing sense of self worth.

Trying to recreate cocktails from Tipple

So you’ve arrived back in your flat and you’re in the fortunate position of having a satisfactory supply of alcohol, and for a brief point in the night, a clear head; this leads to you gaining unearned confidence and electing to become a mixologist for a night. Haphazardly mixing various liquids together into the glass that you bought from Home Bargains before moving here, you eventually hold your concoction aloft, a solitary tear of pride trickling down your face. The self esteem boost is short lived however, as moments later your masterpiece is decorating the floor. While it might have looked enticing, the taste is quite revolting. Definitely not on par with the cocktails at Tipple.

The brief foray into sophistication is quickly ignored as it takes far more effort to combine the various ingredients of a cocktail than it does to open a Strongbow can.

Keeping admin up to date

With little else to do this year, self-contained flat parties have become more and more frequent and with this, a British tradition as renowned as tea, queueing and colonialism has remained prevalent: throwing up after drinking too much.

With this being a regular occurrence and all of us being diligent students, it’s only natural that many have taken to tallying the amount of times that their flat has collectively heaved. Whether this is via a Vomometer or Chunder Chart (as seen in the window above spotted in County), it is now seemingly common practice to document the rate at which chunks have been blown.

This can be helpful to either determine a cumulative total by the end of the year, assess which alcohols are the most effective or find out which flat member is the biggest lightweight. I advise that you fire up Excel if you haven’t already.

Going for a wander

Eventually, the confines of your flat become a tad claustrophobic so at this point in the night/ early hours of the morning, you stumble outside, inebriated but determined. Keeping your distance from others, you and your flatmates meander around the campus which, with all its natural beauty, is clearly best enjoyed in complete darkness.

Keeping the loosest of itineraries, all the key spots are visited, from the bright lights of County courtyard to the eerie vibes of Pendle swings. Along the way it’s possible that you or one of your associates choose to indulge in the ultimate student cliché and nab a traffic cone for yourself. It isn’t immediately clear what this achieves or why you felt so compelled to do this, but you can’t ignore the sense of accomplishment that this brings as you prove to everyone that you are in fact a sufficient party animal and that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the worst year to be a student in living memory.

Waking up the next morning/ afternoon

Now this is a position that the majority of Lancs students have surely been in: head feeling like it might implode, stomach seemingly absent and a ray of light intruding into your room that seems to be shining a light on every horrible decision that you made the night before.

While you’re deleting the numerous degrading additions that you made to your Snapchat story and muttering the old platitude that you’re “never drinking again”, a hideous sound emits from your laptop that you dread with every fibre of your body: the needlessly passive aggressive ping of a Microsoft Teams notification. You have a seminar in three minutes.

It is at this point that you fall back into your single bed, choke back tears and ponder why you even bothered attending university in 2020.

This situation, and indeed virtually every other aspect of uni at the moment, may not seem ideal. But at least you are able to console yourself with the idea that you probably would not be having much of a better of a time at home. While it’s a sad fact that on the whole, this won’t be a classic freshers year for the majority of people, the smaller, more intimate flat parties that have become commonplace thanks to covid are a chance for you to bond even more closely with your flatmates than people would have done in previous years.

Through every Spar trip, dreadful cocktail, tally on the vomometer and newly-gained cone, you are finding more and more opportunities to solidify friendships that could be in place for years to come. Which could come in handy when we’re in our eighth lockdown in 2026.

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Urinating on tables and eating around mould: Freshers’ most rancid halls stories 2020