Flip flops, fridges and fairy lights: The ultimate Carnatic survival guide

because prison life isn’t really ‘the one’ when you’re not a convict


Everybody who lives in Carnatic has a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. We love the mental drunk nights, legging it to make the last bus, (and on the bus, we particularly love calling Greenbank a bunch of wankers). We live for the regular trips to Carni Bar and the weekly fire alarm that goes off because some dickhead is smoking in their room at 4am. But most of all, we love pissing off the cleaners because we've either chundered in the shared toilet, shower, staircase, or all down the corridor the night before and haven't bothered to clean it up.

However, as much as we adore every day we spend there, there's no denying it's a bloody shithole. And so, behold. We've written a list of things that can help you get by whilst living in prison-like accommodation:

1. Buy a desk lamp

This is so that you don't have to use your prison light as your main light source. The key is to turn on your sink light and your desk lamp and use them as the main lights in your room. If you choose not to invest, you can enjoy being blinded by the extremely bright main light every morning.

2. Cover the crappy walls with photos of better times

This will help you to remember what it's like to live in normal conditions and forget how awful Carnatic actually is. Jokes, it's arguably not that bad. But having photos on the walls of your cell block will definitely give it that personal touch.

3. Buy fairy lights

Similar to the point above, fairy lights add to the ambiance of the room and make it look a little bit nicer. You can drape them over the stained, rusty mirror above the sink, hang them across your pin board where you should be planning your work for the week, or pin them up and hang them from your shelves where you keep the alcohol to help you cope.

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Statistics show that the alcohol stash on the top shelf increased by 10 spirit bottles from freshers week to present

4. Put up decorations in your kitchenette for seasonal events or birthdays…

… then return an hour later for your halls mates to have smashed them, because it's "funny, innit." That's the last time I'm ever trying to bring some festive spirit into the flat by putting baubles up around the kitchen. Still a cute idea though.

5. Smash holes in the ceiling to make the kitchen a little more aesthetically pleasing

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Just make sure you have a handyman in the flat so you don't get fined when the cleaners snake you out

This is a joke. It seems like a good idea when you're drunk but it totally isn't worth it when they threaten to fine you for vandalism. Oops.

6. Buy dry shampoo, because if you're in Rankin, you're sharing 2 showers with 21 people

And they have no consideration for the fact that you also need to shower before your lecture.

7. Shower with flipflops on

When sharing showers with other people, I know it sounds weird, but you have no idea what kind of feet they have. What if they're grim? Would you really wanna catch a verruca off some randomer?

8. Get a shopping bag to hang your refrigerated goods out of the window

Because the people you live with will either steal your stuff if you keep it in the communal fridge, or the fridge is disgusting because someones milk has dripped all over the place and has soured causing the worst. smell. ever.

or, if you feel like a rebel, break the rules and…

9. Buy a mini fridge for your room

Apparently this is an absolute blessing to have. You can keep an eye on your food and keep it clean so it won't stink as much as the communal fridge.

10. Take extra bread at dinner and use it for toasties later

This is such a good idea if your flat go for dinner early, or if you're just a late-night snacker. Throw some extra bread onto your tray at dinner, wrap it in some napkins and keep it in your room for a cheeky toastie. It saves you buying bread! Get more bang for your buck!

11. Buy a toastie machine

Following on from the last point, in order to make a toastie, you'd need a toastie machine which Carnatic sadly don't supply. Grab one off Amazon for a tenner and you're sorted.

12. Order constant takeaways

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It was an order for 11 people…

If you live at Carnatic, you'll know that the food is questionable (which here means absolutely shockingly shite), so your best bet is to use your student loan wisely and buy a few takeaways when needed. Smithdown Road offers a number of lovely takeouts or just pop down to the local Maccies.

13. Buy an electric hob

But make sure to hide it from the cleaners, they will tell on you. Although you're not allowed them, electric hobs are an absolute essential for your kitchenette. You can cook so much pasta and many an egg on this beauty! It will make up for all those times you've missed Carni breakfast or hate the dinner.

14. Keep your dishes in your room

This way, you won't have to worry about people using your dishes and not cleaning them up. Bloody annoying.

15. Triple line your single spring mattress with blankets

But seriously, why are the mattresses so bad and how are you supposed to find any space to sit in those tiny rooms?

16. Treat your flatmates to a round of chocolattes

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why does the chocolate always run out in the machine!!!

If you haven't tried a chocolatte from the coffee machine in Carnatic dining hall, who are you? They are the best part of the meal. If you wanna impress your mates, bring over a tray-full at the end of the meal.

17. If you're lucky enough to have a car, drive to the laundry room.

It makes life so much easier when you don't have to lug your bags of laundry all the way to and from the laundry room.

18. Buy copious amounts of bleach

The place is gross and there is mold and moss growing from places you didn't think it could grow. Bleach your rooms once every two weeks and you'll be set. Hygiene is essential for survival in his germ-jungle.

19. Slag the place off to everyone else who lives there, because the feeling is mutual

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so done

An essential part of surviving in Carnatic is creating that sense of community. I mean the community that is derived from a shared hatred for a number of things such as: the food, the water, the general buildings and the cleanliness.

20. Don't write 'offensive things' on your kitchen notice board, because your cleaner may think it's directed at them, take it personally and report you.

Unfortunately, my flat were slightly too obsessed with the lyrics of "I Love It" by Kanye West and Lil Pump during freshers. This resulted in some of the flat writing "You're such a fucking hoe, I love it" on our notice board. It did not go down well with our cleaner who thought we were saying it to her. We then all bought her chocolates and apologised, saying "We're so sorry, it's a song and we don't think you're a hoe". Ouch.

I hope this serves as a handy survival guide for Liverpool's most loved and yet most hated student accommodation. Nobody will understand the weird bond you form with Carni, because despite it's crappiness, it is a legendary place to live. Is there a badge you get at the end of living there saying "I survived Carnatic"? No? Well at least it's a wild story to tell the grandchildren.