THEY'RE HALFWAY through the second year, and the students are suffering from mid-course lethargy. The exams they took at the beginning of the year are over, but now they're supposed to be preparing for the next job lot in May.
Even self-improvement disciple Ian has had enough. "I'm so far behind just because I'm being lazy," he sighs. "I've missed a few lectures, and I've got essays and a dissertation to hand in." To him, education is just one great big treadmill and he wants to get off. "College is eating away at my brain. I'm sick of reading and doing essays. I want to experience real life. I'm doing the same thing over and over, reading textbooks and taking exams. I'm taking a year out next year, because if I go into my third year like I feel now I'll get a bad grade."
Still, he's remaining optimistic about the quality of life when he graduates. "When I finish college and take a full-time job, it'll be one which keeps me entertained all the time," he says emphatically. "I've got friends who say as long as they've got tons of money, they don't care how bored they are. But I'm never going to have a boring career that pays well, because I could be doing that for the rest of my life. I'd rather do a bar job."
Even Robbie, who wants to make his fortune in the City, is getting a bit weary of ambition. "I'm halfway through my course and exams are looming again," he explains. "What keeps me going is knowing that if I don't do the work now I'll be in trouble later." And Rosie, the hardest-working girl in the house, can't even get out of bed in the mornings. "I don't want to think about exams, but I've got them in 10 weeks," she says. "All these essays have arrived and I'm lagging behind a bit. All I do is worry but I don't do anything about it."
While Robbie and David have been going to the gym and the girls have been slobbing out, Alistair has been getting exercise re-vamping his room. The future might not look great but the present is marvellous. Alistair is in love, and it shows in his decor. "You should see his room," laughs Leona. "His girlfriend, Tori, came over from the States last Friday and he's put in a lot of effort. He's put pictures up on the walls, made velvet curtains and spring-cleaned everywhere. It's quite impressive really." Rosie's equally stunned. "He's so messy normally I can't quite believe it."
So what's this Tori like? "She's very American but she's very nice," says Leona. "When we met her on Saturday, we all just stared at her because of her accent."
Alistair's been taking Tori on a whirlwind trip around Britain, ending up with a trip to London to see West Side Story and a final romantic weekend in Manchester - hence the velvet curtains. He says cheerfully, "I've been making a love nest".
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