University is a big deal. University is where most people meet their future spouse, set up the foundation for their career, learn life experience and get to become independent.
You will meet interesting people, boring people, completely insane people and hopefully some people who you want to be friends with. These seven are a small selection of the stereotypes that you might meet at York, or indeed in life. Who knows, you might even be one of these yourself!
The Gap Year
This person will usually be tall, dressed slightly more hippy-ish than everyone else and will start every sentence with the phrase, “Well when I was on my gap year…” Will often talk wistfully about how amazing Asia/South America/Europe was, and criticise the UK and its lack of ‘vibrancy.’ Plus points include better knowledge of mundane household chores such as changing a light bulb and a tendency to gain more points in the ‘World’ round of Articulate.
The Lad is a creature of simple needs. Copious amounts of alcohol, usually cheap lager, a few willing or unwilling friends and he is set for a ‘wicked messy night out’. Can be found throwing up or ‘tactically chundering’ in an alley-way most nights of the week, after which he will proudly stand up and carry on drinking. Plus points include willingness to drink or go out with anyone anytime of the week and wide collection of action movie DVDs.
That One Person You Never See
In most flats, there will always be the mysterious figure that you never see. Is it a boy or a girl? What subject do they do? Is there anyone even living in that room? No-one knows. Occasional sightings will sometimes be made as they go from the kitchen or bathroom to their room, but apart from that they leave no trace of their presence. Plus points include not taking up much space in the kitchen and being the subject of entertaining conversations making up wild theories about their existence.
Putting your other flatmates to shame, the International will usually be sweet, polite and tidy. Often wearing a bemused or faintly disgusted expression when confronted with the more brash side of British culture, for example deep fried Mars Bars, the International struggles to understand why wellies are so beloved. Plus points include exotic-looking foods in the fridge which make it look healthy and free language lessons.
Despite the name, the Mum can be a boy or a girl and is often to be found in the kitchen baking cakes for everyone. The one you go to when you’ve run out of plasters or need a hug, the Mum wants to look after everyone and tends to assume a natural leadership role in the group. Plus points include superlative baking skills and the ability to sew buttons back on.
The Oxbridge Reject
This individual is very clever, does every extra-curricular activity possible and is usually to be found with their head in a book. When asked which universities they applied to, they will start a rant about their many achievements and their rejection from Oxbridge, complete with 10 minute anecdote about the interview. Will then visibly swallow their bitterness and explain how they didn’t want to go there anyway and York is much better. Plus points include vast knowledge of Oxford or Cambridge and their colleges, useful for Trivial Pursuit games and pub quizzes.
The Party Girl
The female version of the Lad, the Party Girl loves to, well, party. Can usually be found sitting on the pavement outside a club, showing her knickers and clutching a VK. Always has several bottles of Lambrini in the fridge at any one time and will often moan disbelievingly about bad grades, despite having done no revision. Plus points include being ever-ready to offer you a drink and superb navigation of clubs.
Originally published on The Yorker 19th August 2010