Written by Chanel Smart: Student Pages Lifestyle Journalist
This is the Battle Royale. Survival of the Fittest. A Darwinian display of epic proportions. There can be only one victor!
Student housing was supposed to be the biggest venture in adult independence since receiving your first mobile phone. You move out of your childhood home, share a brief cry with our parents before settling in to new digs. Maybe you get the chance to room with your best mate, or you bond with some people on your course and it’s suddenly the most exciting thing to happen since you were initially accepted to your chosen course. But, let me let you in on a little secret. You may see some of the most harrowing sights in your time on the war front. Sides of people you should never see unless you’re bound by marriage or blood.
The worst part is, nobody warns you and you’re none the wiser until you’re trodding on somebody’s toe nail clippings. Or you’re subjected to a strangers underwear because they dry them on the bloody shower curtain rod. One roommate eats with their mouth open. The other raids your shelf in the fridge. These new friends who were supposed to ride in to battle with you. If you’re one of the fair few, it won’t be long before the resentment kicks in. And perhaps the most difficult truth to overcome; you have to share a bathroom with them.
The tale is simple, you share a room with five other comrades and you are all expected to share the one bathroom. It’s fine at first, everyone overwhelmingly polite, a chorus of ‘no you go firsts’. Chatting and sharing provisions. It’s only a week before you realise… there can be only one. When you’re not racing for the first and warmest shower, you’re wading through land mines made entirely of human hair. Nobody cleans the drain, the mirror is abused with battle wounds of foundation, mascara, fake tan and dirty fingerprints, and there’s always one person who never deigns to flush. Of all the mistreatments in shared housing, the bathroom always fares the worst. It may well be what makes or breaks you as a unit. Some of your biggest and dirtiest fights maybe be over something as simple as toilet paper. You’re suddenly seen at your worst – and that’s not because there’s no hot water and you haven’t washed your hair in a week. It’s the little selfish part of you that wants to bolt the door and build an outhouse for the losers.
The point is, shared housing isn’t easy, for the first time chores aren’t doled out by perfectionist mothers. You’re on your own, and when the sun rises and reality sets in it can bring the very worst out in us. But, it can also teach you some of the more lasting lessons. If you’re lucky enough to make it through the first week, hopefully those companions will stick. Beyond the odd bad habit, and the fraying of your nerves, they just might be some of the only people who get it. Who understand those nights when you’re up until 4am tearing your hair out. And the same goes for you, if you can, lend a hand. We’re all fighting the same battle, so put on your armor, prepare for battle, and Mother help us, flush the damn toilet.