Every disaster you’ll experience in Nottingham halls
Here’s what they don’t tell you
Every year, thousands of freshers descend upon the green and pleasant hills of the downs, ready to start their uni journey. Everything is exciting, optimistic- a world full of opportunity– only to realise your hall is about to provide you with the upmost carnage you’ve ever come across in your life.
Whether it’s that neighbour shagging far too loud, or the mould growing tactically out of your shower, each halls presents its own realm of disasters.
So, you managed to nab your first choice in the North Zone, Cripps. Fair play. You’re ideally placed for campus and taxi pick-ups but even the poshest, and notoriously rowdiest hall in Nottingham comes with its headaches – the bell chiming every hour usually being the prime suspect.
Although the Hogwarts feel to Cripps may entice you at first, the boarding school vibe rubs off after a while. The bar and JCR are guarded by the warden, handing out disciplinary meetings left, right and centre if you so much as giggle after the 10:30pm curfew. The formals with ill-fitting suits and that oh-so-familiar school dinner roast takes you straight back to year 13. Without a proper shared social space, you’ll end up pre-drinking on the stairs. The vacant bar that hasn’t been licensed to serve alcohol in over a decade means you’re walking to Hu Stu’s version, placing you in enemy territory just to grab a four-pint Carlsberg pitcher. Although for £8, you can’t really complain.
Sunday nights are Cripps’ only nights off – although I suppose the nightlife buzz may be permanently dulled this year (sorry freshers). On Wednesdays, the Crisis carnage began early indeed. Rugby boys, probably ironing their socks in the laundry room amongst people frantically running around trying to secure a ticket that wasn’t a dreaded 9pm entry, tended to be the recurring trends of pre-pre’s.
As long as you get a room with a sink and half decent block mates – you’ll survive through till second year.
The difficult choice to ditch the en-suite bathrooms and double beds in order to climb the social ladder in the central zone would be worth it- if you didn’t already know everyone from Surrey.
Having looked it up before welcome day you’d be excited to enter the 1800s castle that is Hugh Stewart- until you get appointed the council flats next to the car park (it happens to the best of us). With the pretence that you’d waved private school behind, everything from the black tie formals to dinner time suggests that really, you’re the same person without the uniform.
After five minutes you’ll be thinking you’re a BNOC and calling it Hu-Stu, all to have your dreams abruptly crushed when you realise one of the students in your block is a middle aged tutor. The 3am sing alongs and drunken invites only resulted in two noise complaints and a formal warning.
Catered halls might seem like a good idea at the time but likelihood is you’ll be called out by the dinner staff for trying to get more food. Your scratched up student card will result in a 1-on-1 inquisition trying to prove that the pristine innocent you on the card is the same rugged, hungover mess you’ve become. And even if you do get in, the Saturday morning brunches are the only thing worth queuing for.
From bright green halls to mouldy walls, here lives the self-catered students. If you are one of the unfortunate ones like I was, your accommodation is far from glamorous. The ‘shared bathroom’ section is home to many old (and cold) buildings, some resembling prisons with kitchens smaller than the bedrooms. Good flat parties you may ask? Absolutely not.
If you are one of the lucky ones that have an en-suite room I am envious. Those flats have large modern kitchens, so making friends with these people is KEY to having good pres (well, when legal to). Instead, my fresher nights consisted of 20+ strangers in my bedroom with drinks spilled everywhere – not an ideal situation.
Despite what you may have heard, surviving self-catering doesn’t require much skill, but you’ll arrive with the whole of Ikea and be lucky to leave with a fork and a frying-pan. Don’t worry though, the touchscreen vending machines have more brain cells than a student at a Thursday 9am.They sell a range of items from condoms to microwaveable curries. So, you’re in luck. Just try not to be the idiot that sets the fire-alarm off burning freezer-food after a night out, because let’s be real, that’s all you’ll be living off.
Lenton and Wortley
Perhaps not your first choice, your sibling’s friend who went to Notts told you to apply to the North Zone, and of course, you innocently complied. You might’ve loved Cripps on the open day but… too bad. Alas, all your hopes of being a BNOC were crushed before you even arrived. You hear the words “Oh right…I don’t know anyone there” in your sleep.
To be honest, the blocks are starkly comparable to Alcatraz. Fruitlessly, you crossed your fingers, toes and eyes in hopes of avoiding living above the hall office. But alas, here you are. Pres? Barely worth having or cut short by a warden.
You have to walk to Cripps for even a sniff of a cooked breakfast, where you are greeted by the elite few who smirk at you over their Chilly bottles. You’re not even that close to your lectures and you couldn’t be further away from David Ross. The closest amenity is the health centre, which you forgot to register at, despite mummy insisting – bold of her to assume you’d be getting enough action for an STD.
Ahhh Cavendish, the land of the privately educated, alcohol dependent Tories. Unless you believed you would die without an ensuite, this hall probably wasn’t your first choice. In fact, you probably only got in to Cavendish because it was the only UP halls of residence left.
Besides the sub-par food, daily orchestra of fire alarms and the high probability of getting locked out of your room after a night out, Cavendish is fairly unproblematic, free of disaster and stress. I do have to say though, this hall attracts the weirdest bunch so don’t be surprised if you can no longer enter the meeting room because someone caved the ceiling in or, a drunken stranger knocks at your door in the middle of the night trying to have a conversation.
Cavendish’s main selling point is the bathrooms. However, before you get your hopes up, please be aware that every bathroom is different and some of you won’t even get the privilege of having a bathroom but will be greeted by the plague that is the wetroom. Also, if your bathroom (or wetroom) gets too humid you will most certainly be greeted by an array of silverfish and mould; maybe even (if you’re lucky) mites… hmmm yummy.
Three floors with corridors full of freshers, what could go wrong? The hotel-like aesthetic really made for some very questionable, extremely fun, and sometimes disastrous moments.
Single beds are a nightmare when you’re trying to pull, but at least you have your own silverfish infested en-suite to yourself! There’ll always be snakey neighbours who make noise complaints when you’re not even being that loud, meaning disciplinary meetings with the warden are not rare.
The atrium, that wonderful glass building where (sometimes edible) meals are served, is shared between Newark, Southwell, and Melton halls. It was also the venue for most formals where we’d all get absolutely smashed and embarrass ourselves in front of the warden, which lowkey makes you feel like you’ve just disappointed a parent. Pre-drinks in the JCR were straight vibes but try pre during exam season and those student ids are being taken, followed by an invite to a stern meeting the next day.
You might never have clean clothes again because there’s never a free washing machine and the weekly fire alarm tests will probably wake you up from your pre-crisis nap, but at least you’ll make friends for life!