Our housemate said he was 18 but he is actually 24

He’d already been here

Just how well do you think you know your university friends? 

Picture it. You move in to halls as a Fresher and get to know everyone else living in your block. You trust these people, and eventually make plans to live with them in your second year, thinking how lucky you are to have met such good mates.

But what if your good friends aren’t the people you thought they were at all?

This year, a group of students on Lenton Boulevard discovered that their friend, who has asked to remain anonymous, had not only chosen to suddenly drop out of university but had actually spent the last year in the halls concealing a very important fact – he was 24-years-old.

Beth, an ex-house mate, was hurt by the revelation.

She said: “He told us one week before uni starts that he was leaving, so not only does he owe the landlord three months’ rent, we find out he’s actually been betraying our trust for the last year.”

These guys appear to be having a good time, but is it something more sinister?

But how does someone manage to pull off a stunt like this, completely reinventing himself?  Not only had this Peter Pan character acted like an 18-year-old fresher, he had actually been a Fresher four years previously at Nottingham.

Not only this, but he had been somewhat of a BNOC – a JCR President no less.

One friend was totally shocked to find out the forever fresher was actually well acquainted with Nottingham, after a year of feigned ignorance about the area and university life. She said: “He even asked me what a Campus 14 bar crawl was.”

It turns out reinventing yourself at uni is not a unique case – one girl jumped through legal hoops and changed her surname by deed poll from the unfortunate ‘Gash’.

Is it such a bad name?

Everywhere in your halls these shady characters are gradually winning you over, and letting you believe they are who they claim to be.

For some, it can just be an incorrect assumption. Michael Chee, a 28-year-old Singaporean student, who did years of National Service in Singapore before coming to Nottingham, said: “Most people think I’m about 19-21.

“But it is probably because they aren’t expecting someone of my age to be kicking around at uni.”

Michael, left, graduating from university in Singapore, July 2009

When asked whether he is open about being an older student, he admitted: “I’m alright with people finding it out, although I won’t go out of my way to advertise the fact. I like to keep it in reserve as a fun fact to shock people with, keep the conversation going.

“Part of the reason I don’t broadcast it is due to the fact that I don’t like people to make assumptions based on my age or worse, to treat me any differently.”