The real student guide to surviving university life


Ever wondered what the young adults of our society in full-time education do to survive university life?

We asked dozens of students, including Staffordshire University undergraduates, what they do to cope with the stress of studying and living with strangers.

And the response we received varied from mundane dillydallies, to random and grim extremes people have gone to torment their new roomies.

Here’s Staffslive’s own listicle on coping with higher education

1. Home from home.

A students bedroom

A student shows off her home from home.

Make your university bedroom suit your personality and attitude. University is the time and place for finding yourself, so adapt your surroundings to suit you. It’s also a massive advantage when you want to come home and relax in a place that feels like home, after all – this could be your home for the next three years.

2. Netflix and…

Whether it’s Netflix and Chill, or completing the online streaming site, students are all over it. They can’t afford their dinner for the next week, but £5.99 a month to watch an array of films with an average of 3 stars, who can argue with that?

3. The 5 finger discount.

Students are renown for being skint. So when we heard that stealing toilet roll from public toilets is a thing now (because really, why should you have to pay for such a necessity?) we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

It’s a well known fact McDonalds are stingy with their sauces, but who can blame them when students fully admit to stealing Ketchup, Mayo and BBQ sauce sachets from the popular fast-food chain restaurants in an attempt to fasten the purse strings.

And if you think that was bad, stealing cutlery and a collection of glassware from local Wetherspoons is also acceptable, apparently!

4. Break me off a PIZZA that.

Students survive three years, or maybe four, by living alone, fending for themselves, with the help of one infamous, popular, yummy pizza chain.

Dominos offers a range of discount pizzas and other offers throughout the week and year including a 2-for-Tuesdays offer, the odd ‘Price Slice Week’ – buy one pizza, get another for £1, and also the Winter Survival Deal over the Christmas period. We all want a pizza that action!The office boxset and laptop.

5. Box set box trolls.

Boxsets are a marvellous thing, especially when you’re hanging out your backside after a night at gobble and a 9am seminar just isn’t an option. Sorry [lecturers]but a day in bed watching The Office wins.

6. “Refme is life”.

We asked Film and TV student Ashley Ramian what his best tip to surviving university is, and when he told us: “Refme, it’s an app, you scan the barcode, get the perfect reference and citation, it saves so much time, Refme is life.” We felt a small sense of pride.

7. Break the ice.

Moving to a new city can be daunting enough, but when you know you’re moving into someone’s old bedroom, in student halls, with a bunch of strangers, anxiety may not even cover what you’re feeling, so getting to know your new room mates is a top priority.

As well as during Fresher’s Week, our students told us about how they got to know their new roomies.

These ice-breakers included:

• Cheese and wine nights
• Karaoke at Ember Lounge on Tuesdays
• Gobble on Wednesday
• Come Dine with Me nights
• Game Board nights

8. Duvet Forts.

Students share a snap of their duvet fort.

Duvet fort

If you’ve ever seen that F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode where Chandler walks in on Ross and Joey constructing a fort made out of boxes, imagine that but with duvets and blankets and pillows. Now imagine you’re hungover and all you want to do is hide from all adult responsibilities… students are doing it right.

9. Naps.

Sloths are basically the spirit animals of an average student. So when we asked Amy Hurst, a Photojournalism student, what she does to pass the time, she told us: “I suppose I nap and come home and watch Netflix to be honest… I try not to overload myself with work.”

10. Communal napping.

On the subject of napping, one student we met who shares a house with all the girls she met in first year, told us how when everyone is home from their lectures and settling down after a long day, they all congregate in one bedroom and have a communal nap. They tend to take it in turns who holds the mini sleepover.

11. Flatmates +1.

Hamsters home from pet shop


There’s something that most second year students, living in a shared house have in common throughout the UK – once everyone is settled and feels at home, somewhat as a family – a trip to the pet shop is essential, with hamsters being the most popular choice of pet.

12. What a girl needs.

A Staffordshire University student told us of her weekly pamper night. “I refuse to leave the house if I feel gross, no matter how I look”

So, every Wednesday, her only day off, she treats herself to a Dominos, puts on a face-mask, runs a bath and paints her nails. Apparently without this weekly routine, she would have dropped out of her course by now!

13. That is not my job.

When you’re living with a bunch of strangers, not everyone is going to get along. It’s not always going to be plain-sailing, so when we found out that the annoying room-mates often get given the tedious job, we couldn’t help but laugh.

Tilly Matthews, a Graphics Design student, told us: “If someone is doing my head in, we just give them rubbish jobs that make them feel important like be DJ at the next party.”

Journalism student George Heath also told us: “When we first moved in, we gave the messiest and most annoying people the worst jobs, like doing the dishes and emptying the bins for the week.”

14. What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.

A shared fridge can be the most annoying thing about student living, with people stealing your weekly shop, students go to extremes to save what is rightfully theirs.

We heard from Lorna Scott, an Animal Behaviour graduate: “I didn’t do this, but I know that some people measured their milk by marking a line with a permanent marker and the date so they know when and how much they had, so nobody could steal it!

“Another guy was caught grating another person’s entire block of cheese and ate it, so they poured hot soup on him. I don’t think it’s advisable!”

Dan Milner, a Computer Games Design undergraduate, told us: “My roommate keeps stealing my food so I swapped the salt with sugar and vice versa! I also topped a cheap pizza with half a kilo of salt and put it back in the box.”

15. So, so grim.

Jodie Smith, a Medical Biology student, revealed this disturbing and unbelievable fact: “I know someone who hated who they lived with so much that they froze their own p*ss and slid it under their door so that it melted in his room.”

StaffsLive does not condone any bad behaviour listed in this article.

Please drink responsibly!


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