Reflections on my second year of uni

Almost exactly one year ago, my first year of university came to an abrupt and unceremonious end, prompting me to write a (hilarious) blog about my first year away from my maternal home. It was suggested that I should continue this blogging tradition for the remaining three years of my university career; a suggestion which suited me down to the ground as I hate coming up with original ideas. So here, in lieu of new material, I present a rehashed version of that special blog from so long ago.

The university experience seems in many respects like a microcosm of life in its entirety. You begin by being thrust from a place of great comfort into an alien world full of marauding strangers. In this place you are vulnerable, na´ve and foolhardy, but you are still mothered to a certain degree and pretty much all your needs are catered for. That's the first year, a time when cleaners tidy your kitchen, overflowing toilets are fixed for you before they start attracting rats, and water bills seem like a distant worry as you leave your taps running all night. But that easygoing period ends just as quickly as it starts, at which point you are forcibly ejected into the real world and left to fend for yourself. That's the second year. No longer do cleaners whistle cheerily as they wipe up the vomit you left encrusted around the sink -- in their place, angry landlords demand money with menaces, electricity companies distribute threatening bills emblazoned with red lettering, and the binmen no longer come into your kitchen and empty your bin for you. You have to put the rubbish out yourself. It's a frightening time.

Park Barn

A man does the school run on a quiet day in Park Barn

For the past year I have been a resident of an area of Guildford called Park Barn. It is quite possibly the worst place to live in Surrey aside from Woking, although to be fair Surrey is such a timid area so that isn't saying much. If you want an anecdotal summary of what Park Barn is like, take the example of a sign that was erected near the local school. "We Love Park Barn!" it declared proudly. Two days later, it had been stolen. Park Barn is inhabited by a relatively tame breed of chavs (ostensibly without any sense of civic pride), who in turn are parented by quintessentially southern working class yokels. The men all have beer bellies and massive tattoos and the women all seem to be vapid slags with peroxide hair and earrings the size of tractor tyres. They all amble around living their futile lives, clutching cans of Stella, with St George's flags adorning every square inch of their possessions. There are worse places to live than Park Barn, I'm sure, but I'm afraid after years of living in an idyllic middle class bubble I felt rather intimidated by my new surroundings. Park Barn is also patrolled by an annoying ice-cream van apparently driven by the most unsubtle paedophile since Ian Huntley applied for a job as 'toilet supervisor' at a nursery school.

The most troublesome resident of this new neighbourhood, however, was neither a chav nor the ice-cream paedo. It was in fact an elderly woman who has caused myself and my flatmates a rather substantial amount of aggravation over the past year. This experience was made especially irritating by the fact that the words of a demented old woman were initially given precedence over our continued protestations, because as you know all elderly women are infallible and the constant victims of harassment from morally bankrupt youths. Anyway, the story started with a complaint to our landlady that we were making too much noise. Fair enough, we thought -- maybe the hard bass and screaming lyrics of melodic folk bands such as The Decemberists were a notch too high. So we turned our speakers down, and went and apologised to the old woman (who, incidentally, was only too happy to level racially charged accusations at the previous occupants). We returned home and hoped that was the last we'd see of the charming racist lady.

But the complaints kept coming. My landlady was phoning me in the small hours of the morning, imploring us to turn the 'racket' down. We were all fast asleep: I had a strict policy that all our LSD fuelled raves had to finish at 11pm on the dot. Our landlady even threatened that she would 'inform our parents' (God have mercy!), but eventually conceded that we were not doing anything wrong and the old woman really was as mad as a heap of dead cows in a playground. Yet the old woman herself did not seem to agree with this assessment. So she started sending us legal 'threats', with such blood-churning remarks as, "I am going to contact my solicitors," and, "I'm serious". Fast forward a few months and I receive a phone call from the landlady: it turns out the old woman has tinnitus and we weren't making any noise after all. It was almost as if the fact that we'd been telling the truth the whole time was a massive and shocking revelation, worthy of comparison to the discovery of gravity or invention of Velcro. To top it off, the old woman never apologised for the months of hassle and frivolous legal threats she'd subjected us to. But the elderly don't have to apologise to the young, right?

Sadly it seems that my second year has not produced enough opportunities for humour as my first year, probably due to the fact that I'm not living with a pack of contemptible cretins any more, and the novelty of constant drinking wore off and I actually did a bit more than play computer games all day. Maybe that will all change next year though, as the next stage of life is exemplified by the third year of university: work. Yes, in a few short weeks I shall be starting my year long stint on placement in the City of London, working alongside all the bigwigs and busybodies who inhabit the capital, just like a real person. Just how will I do? Will I thrive in the working world or will I crack under pressure, spiralling into a self-destructive cycle of alcoholism and depression? Will I get fired for gross professional misconduct? Will I get to meet Ken Livingstone and say "good on you, Ken"? Will I emerge from my university-induced chrysalis a beautiful butterfly or a twisted, spastic mess? You'll have to wait till next year to find out! How exciting!

Permalink || Posted 19/5/2007 by Pete


  1. Disgruntled Young Person #1 - 20/5/2007 - 12:06pm

    Old people should just shut up. Theyre so against us young 'uns. Why dont we just round them all up like the incontinent sheep they are and send them all to live in Hull. I think we outnumber them...and they wont put up much of a fight...except the Ninja wheres my cattle prod...

  2. Matt B - 21/5/2007 - 6:56pm

    Your right, it's not as funny as last years.

  3. davey - 26/5/2007 - 9:14pm

    I disagree with matt B, it's not your right to make shit blogs.

  4. Cliff Richard - 3/6/2007 - 1:01am

    Anyone for mixed doubles?

  5. rich - 3/1/2008 - 3:53am


  6. Housemate #1 - 28/4/2008 - 7:46pm

    Pete I'm afraid to say the world of work has indeed left you a "twisted, spastic mess".

  7. poo - 22/6/2008 - 9:10pm

    where's this years then, hmm

  8. Park Barn advocate - 26/1/2011 - 2:31pm

    Seriously, please, take this down, I found this whilst searching for images of Park Barn on google and I find it quite frankly insulting that you think it OK to slag off and stereotype 9000 thousand people after living in the area less than a year. Oh sorry, I completely forgot, mummy and daddy are probably paying your rent and your tuition fees so weren't able to slash out and get you your own place whilst you study. Boo-fucking-hoo get off your high horse!

  9. The Natflap - 29/1/2011 - 12:53pm

    Thanks, 'Park Barn advocate', for alerting me to the error of my ways. I will of course remove this blog as soon as I am able to dismount my high horse (which my parents bought me as a child). I hope your future attempts at masturbation using Google Image Search are more fruitful.

  10. places thet should be wiped of the map - 20/11/2011 - 4:42pm

    the majority of people who live in park barn are slags, beer bellies and drugys

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