Small Desk Pete: I just want my life back

This fresher has the smallest desk in his halls and it’s ruining everything


Having a tough time revising? Spare a thought for this guy.

Pete arrived at Manchester last September, excited at the prospect of living on his own and enjoying his first year of freedom.

But, he arrived in halls to find he had an undersized desk and, although at first thought nothing of it, went on to struggle academically and even socially.

Until now “Small Desk Pete” has kept quiet, but we were able to exclusively interview the fresher to understand his small desk changed his life forever.

The words ‘bigger is better’ haunt Pete daily


So Pete, what were your expectations of your room coming to university?

When I arrived at uni I wasn’t expecting much from my room but me and my parents were utterly shocked. We thought there must have been a mistake or something.

It was touch and go whether or not I could even stay.

We know it’s quite hard for you to talk about, but what are the actual dimensions of your desk?

It’s 35cm by 125cm, compared to my flatmates’ desks which are 60cm by 160cm. The stats don’t lie.

Pete's small desk

Pete’s small desk

A standard desk

A standard desk

How does it affect your studies at university?

I can’t fucking handle it. Revising is impossible.

I used to go to PC clusters on campus but everyone knows how packed it is in there during exams.

Then word got out about the size of my desk. I couldn’t bear to be seen in public, people would stare and whisper behind my back.

I get jeered on the bus on a night out and wake up in cold sweats with the chant “Pete’s small desk, Pete’s small desk!” ringing in my ears. It’s horrible.

Trying to work

Attempting the impossible

He just doesn’t fit in


How did you react?

At first my flat mates initiated the abuse but after a while they came to realise the size of the problem and how much it was affecting me.

And when revising?

I go to the clusters late at night and keep my hood up, in an attempt to disguise my identity not only from my peers but also from myself.

IMG_3232

Reflecting on what life would be like with a normal-sized desk

Has there been a marked effect on your academic work while at uni?

Of course. My grades have plummeted.

And you think this is directly related to the size of your desk?

Without question.

Pete’s desk is failing him. Here’s the proof

IMG_3230

‘I just want my life back’

Summer is coming and a new academic year is on the horizon. What will you be hoping for in terms of a study area for next semester?

All I want is a desk big enough to restore my confidence. I just want my life back.

What advice would you give to the person unfortunate enough to have your room next year with the small desk?

Just leave.  It’s not worth it. Nothing’s worth this.

Show your support

Show your support


We are calling on Manchester vice-chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell to dig into her vast expenses and get Pete a bigger desk. Show your support here.

Do you have a smaller desk than Pete? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Get in touch with a picture: [email protected]