This Student Life: It has been an education - of a sort

Pull up the carpet, rip the wallpaper off the walls - it's time to have the party to end all parties.
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The Independent Culture
Summer Term, week 7 at the Manchester Student House

ROBBIE

studying

economics

LEONA

was studying

maths

DAVID

studying

management

ROSIE

studying

French

IAN

studying

geography

TASH

studying

management

ALISTAIR

studying

management

THE STUDENTS only have a month left in the house. "I've really enjoyed living here," David reflects, "and I'll miss everyone who's leaving Manchester like Alistair, Ian and Rosie, who are taking a year out."

David will be spending his third year in student halls. "I've just found out I've got a place in a purpose-built university accommodation block," he says. "I'll have a good social life there, because you're right in the middle of the student scene."

David has made it his mission to meet as many people as he can at university, but admits that living in private accommodation hasn't been as thrilling as he thought. He expected to have an incredible social life, but the reality is that the girls spend their spare time watching soaps while the boys kick a ball against the garden wall. "We had a go at them for being couch potatoes the other day," recalls David, "and they said, just look at what you do in your spare time!"

He describes life in the house as "an education", but is looking forward to moving on. "It's a good experience. But you don't bump into as many friends: living here is just not as kicking as living in halls. One reason why I'm going back into halls is that I had such a good time in my first year, because I made so many new friends. Being at university is the only chance you get in your life of having a wild time."

He also hopes to save some money. "You pay around pounds 2,300 for the whole year, including meals, whereas living in the house I've paid pounds 2,000 in rent alone," he says. All bills are inclusive in the rent, so there will be no more squabbling over whose turn it is to buy the toilet roll. "We've had lots of little arguments here over bills, and paying the phone bill was a major problem," he reveals. "We ended up with the phone cut off, so everyone in the house has got a mobile now." True, he will miss the video, and the comfy couch... but overall, he reckons that's a small price to pay.

Excitement is on its way in the form of a house-leaving party. Alistair will be organising it as soon as his exams are over. "I had my worst exam the other day," he says, "and it went really well. I've only got one to go and then I'll get the party organised. Basically, it's a case of mentioning it to our friends over the next few days, and whoever turns up can bring their mates."

Alistair is clearing out his room, and the corner bar that came with it will be thrown open for the evening. However, he hopes most people will congregate outside for a barbecue. "I had a practice run the other day, just for the house, so I'm confident the food will be charcoaled," he says. "One of our DJ friends is bringing his decks and I'll set him up in the living room.

"The place will get wrecked so I'm packing up all my stuff into boxes and putting them in the basement. As long as no one makes holes in the walls, we should be OK. I think the landlord's planning to convert the house into flats after we leave. We can go wild because he's going to rip up the carpets and pull off the wallpaper after we leave... I'm going to enjoy myself. It's the end of exams and we can do anything we want!"

Tasha finished her exams last week and went with Leona to Homelands, an outdoor club music festival in Hampshire. "It was really good, and really sunny," reports Leona. "It was like listening to everyone's favourite music in this fabulous field. It was great to get out of Manchester and it's inspired us to go to every festival this summer."

If she's not careful, she might have all summer to lounge about in fields, because there's trouble at work. "I missed a shift at the pub," Leona says, "and I want all of next weekend off for the party, so I've got to work out something. I'm always late for work as it is, but I'm always picking up other people's shifts for them, so the boss forgives me... I don't know how I'm going to swing next weekend though."

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