THE BLOG
23/03/2015 07:46 GMT | Updated 23/05/2015 06:59 BST

Guidance for the Naïve Undergraduate - Part Ten: Living With Others

Housing is a pivotal focus for all students, not least because we all require somewhere to live but mostly because it seems to be a suspicious stain on the underpants of student life. The routine usually goes, halls of residence in first year and a shared student house in second and third year with a bunch of people you thought you liked.

Essentially at some point you are going to find yourself living and sharing, voluntarily or involuntarily with others. If you don't find yourself bent over your bathtub plunging someone else's foreign pubic hair, you will find your Flora suffocating under someone else's crumbs or your cutlery in someone else's cupboard.

When I was a student it was never the aforementioned that were a problem of pertinence, rather it was the usage or misuse of our shared bathroom. In my halls of residence, there were eleven of us, including me, yet only ten of us used the bathroom. This was because Kevin down the corridor, Kevin who urinated in only empty bottles and then sentimentally stored them on his bedside table for the foreseeable future, never seemed to shower; rather he would opt for having a stand-up wash in the sink twice a week. I would advise anybody to take the en-suite option; in fact, most halls of residence offer an en-suite option. However, some halls do still exist with the shared bathroom option, though these are usually the kind of halls of residence where your bedroom carpet is likely to be stained like a crime scene.

Another problem living with others of course is how those others behave. In my first year, I lived with an obsessive compulsive Scouser who roped me into covering up his frivolous infidelities with the yet-to come out cockney lesbian who lived two doors down whilst his long-term fiancé from came to stay during Easter half-term. In halls of residence, you will more often than not find yourself in company, sometimes overwhelmed with company. There is nearly always someone over, usually a friend, an acquaintance or possibly a dealer and/or friend of benefit, but despite being surrounded by others, halls of residence can be a lonely place. I once purchased a plant to channel my loneliness into; I don't believe I was the only person with a plant in my room but I was definitely the only one who wasn't cutting the leaves for financial gain.

One girl I lived with perpetually sought to give me lung cancer through the medium of secondary smoking. This River Island mannequin of a flatmate would smoke mostly in the bathroom, avoiding the smoke detectors given that there was none fitted in the bathroom. Blimey, when I opened the bathroom door after that chain smoker, it was like walking onto the set of Stars In Their Eyes, "tonight Matthew, Thomas Hurdsfield is...having his risk of emphysema increased". Of course, it is important to note that smoking is very dangerous and harmful. One morning I came down and out through the door to the flat, said girl was sat on the floor puffing away, I failed to spot her and as the door opened, well, it basically hit her in the face. See, smoking can be dangerous and harmful.

Occasionally, some fellow humans in halls of residence do indeed ask to borrow your belongings. On one occasion I was awoken by a loud banging on my bedroom door at what was around six in the morning. Once I had established that this was not a collective of mildly attractive females making a booty call and there was no risk to my sexual health, or myself, I answered the door. What greeted me was one of my flatmates asking to borrow my shoes. I was so equally dazed by my slumber and flummoxed by this question; I simply replied, "Are my slippers alright?" He was overjoyed and snatched my hand off, taking my slippers with him. An hour later, another knock came and my slippers were returned, as I retrieved them I looked down at the floor, only to discover my flatmates several verruca's, hairy feet, rogue patches of crustacean, a missing toenail and what may well have been the beginning of gout. I took my slippers and promptly placed them in the bin once the door had closed and a chap in dire need of a podiatrist trundled away.

My guidance to you on this occasion is simple; take an en-suite where available, be weary of foreign body hair, be grateful there is no gas tap to leave on in your bathroom and never, I repeat never, loan your slippers out to someone who has no intention of wearing them with their socks.