Things you’ll know if you’re in OP Tower

‘The higher up you go, the worse it gets’

Known by unsuspecting parents as the ‘grubby place that does that tower challenge thingy’ and by students as the home of ketheads, sesh gremlins and the whole of London – the Tower’s estate-like ‘charm’ is an acquired taste. As much as its notorious reputation precedes it, here are a few things that you can relate to if you live in the weirdly loveable, 18-storied shitscraper, and an education for those that don’t.

Ella, Nottingham: “the higher up you go, the worse it gets.”

The food is ‘interesting’

In the outside world, most meats and vegetables are pink and green respectively. Tower however, does not abide by these rules. If you signed up for catered accommodation thinking you were getting any more than an unglorified school dinner, prepare yourself for disappointment. You’d be unpleasantly surprised to discover how many shades of beige existed. That said, while dinner ranges from rubber to cardboard in consistency and muddy puddle to shitty stick in colour, the staff are an upside to the dismal culinary experience, with their (when I say their, I mean Julie, if you know then you know), friendly attitude distracting from the fact you’re about to ingest the wrong that’s on your plate.

Another plus side though is the eternal supply of teabags and fruit available, which, if you have deep pockets/hoodie, means you’ll never have to fork out £2.50 for Sainsbury’s oranges again. While satisfaction cannot be promised, one guarantee is leaving the primary schoolesque-dining hall with a stomach-ache and a heavy sense of regret at least three times a week. If only the food was as nice as the people serving it. Sigh.

You don’t know frustration until you’ve encountered the lifts or ‘lift’ which is usually the case

The ‘lift on maintenance’ more often than not, tauntingly slides past the bunch of rolled eyes, heavy sighs and hands on hips that stand before it. There are two types of person when it comes to these lifts. The walkers, the ones that say ‘fuck it lets run the 18 flights’, if the doors are not open on arrival, or the waiters, the hopeful ones, who will have three semesters pass them by before they take the stairs.

It’s a rare occurrence that both lifts are working at the same time, and even when they are, you enter with caution, because being stuck in a lift for three hours after it breaks down with you inside, isn’t really how you want to spend your day. And to all those that hold down the close door button, take a long hard look at yourselves, while cruising effortlessly down to the bottom floor with no interruption.

Beware of the showers

If you value your nipples, you’ll stand with your back to the Niagara Falls pummelling out of your shower head. Not a complaint, just a precaution.

People steal your stuff, get used to it.

Pretty self-explanatory really. In all your efforts to conceal your prized pasta sauce, whether this be through careful placement in the back of the smaller fridge or in an unsuspecting Sainsbury’s bag that ‘no one will look in because it’s tied’, you will always return to find that someone has applied the, ‘sharing is caring’ rule rather savagely on your food. After a while you have to go by the, ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ policy, if you get my drift. And just to clarify, no, capitalised passive aggressive sharpie messages on cheese definitely don’t work, trust me.

The ‘kitchen’ is not a kitchen

I’m not sure why the builders of tower thought that making 12 people share a cupboard, with a glorified microwave as an oven in it, was a good idea. Also, it can’t be cleaned… unless it’s already clean. Makes sense.

Common Rooms are the new Belfast/MMU/all round places to be if you don’t actually go to the uni

I’m not sure why security makes such a big deal about letting you in if you don’t have your card, because 80 per cent of the people milling around tower, don’t live there. In fact, they don’t go to the uni at all. And while it’s a positive thing that you meet such a wide range of people, having a drunk Irishman and his ‘band’ bellowing an out of tune ‘masterpiece that he created in the bath’, from your common room, every Monday at 5.30 am, does get slightly jarring.

You can hear everything… Everything.

A range of wonderful sounds ranging from, people’s toilet episodes to your neighbour doing things I won’t mention, are available to listen to 24/7 free of charge… which doesn’t do much to restore my faith in fire doors.

And on the topic of fire doors…

Burning to death has become a viable option.

Fire alarms. It dies down a bit towards the middle of the year but if there was a real fire every time the thing went off (at four in the morning) in the first semester, the Tower would be a bungalow. Also, if you don’t manage to get in the lift on the way back up and you live any higher than floor seven, you may as well just stay on the ground floor and wait for breakfast, it’s not worth it. And if Res-life tells you it’s not a drill and they haven’t scheduled an alarm for 6.30am, they’re lying (hopefully).

Aside from the day to day struggle that is living in Tower, it’s still hands down the best accommodation, the mix of people and the sociability of the place makes it all worthwhile. As much as it’s a shithole, it’s our shithole and we love it.