Hours of graft, moments of truth

This Student Life: Summer Term, week 3 at the Manchester Student House; Harmony rules as everyone - well, almost everyone - just gets on with it.

DESPITE THE looming prospect of endless revision and exams, relations in the student house are cordial. The occupants are too busy planning their year out, their third year in Manchester or working out revision timetables to argue over phone bills or fan the flames of personal enmity.

"Nobody's rowing," says Leona, "because everyone's happily getting on with their work. Last week was brilliant, with Ian and David's great birthday party and then there was all that the sunshine so we all went to the park together. Now everyone's settling down and getting on with it."

But Leona's finding the harmony a little trying. She dropped out of college just before Christmas, and now she's at a loose end deciding what to do next while all her friends have their goals in sight.

"They're all working really hard," she says. "Even Tasha and Robbie have completely calmed down. Until last week they were drinking nearly every afternoon but they've completely pulled themselves together. I spend the whole time going into people's rooms and disturbing them while they're studying. I don't have much of a purpose anymore, other than to irritate. I didn't realise, when it came to exam time, I would feel so left out." She secretly hoped that at least one of her friends would bottle out of revision. "Tasha was the one who would always come out with me but now she's probably the one that I irritate the most."

If truth were told, Leona's pretty miserable. She loves the student life but she never took to studying. "Once you start working you can't have all these weeks off over the summer," she says, "but at the moment I'm not making enough money to make either of my jobs worthwhile." Since leaving college, Leona has been working in two local bars while she decides what she wants to do next. "I'm not progressing. Everyone else knows exactly what they're doing next year except me. Robbie's found this house to live in next year and he asked me if I want to move in with him. I need to let him know as soon as possible but I honestly can't make up my mind. I don't know what I really want to do, but I know I need a plan."

One option for her is to stay in Manchester and start a new course, another is to move to London and get a "proper" job, while there's always the lure of working abroad. But decision-making is not Leona's strong point. "I need someone to tell me what to do every step of the way," she says. "My ex-boyfriend used to hate me for not being able to make up my mind."

Apart from deciding where she wants to live, Leona has some reservations about moving into Robbie's new place. "It would be just me and five boys," she explains. "It's either going to be dreadful or I'll be Queen of the Castle."

"I would hate her to go back to college and mess it up," says Robbie. "She should try and get started on a career path next and if she wants to, she can do a degree later. She should really get out of the situation she's in at the moment because she's going nowhere."

David's not too depressed about having to come back from his Far Eastern holiday. "Last week I wished I was still away, but there's no point stressing out about exams," he says. "I must just do my best to get on with it." He's not impressed with his lecturers. "There's a lot of emphasis in my course on self-learning which is just as well, because a lot of our lecturers are so busy with their own work that they can't be bothered with the students. They're more interested in the prestige of new research.

"If you really need help with something, some of them couldn't care less how you do," he continues. "I didn't take any maths modules this year, even though I'm quite good at it, because the maths lecturers last year were disgraceful. And one module, financial markets, is so boring I'm learning the subject by text book." He remains philosophical. "At university, it's the experience that's important, not the degree."

Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform