Lily is 19 and from Kingston-upon-Thames. She's studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at York University. Will she survive studentdom on the road to graduation?
Sickly, phlegm-filled students pass on their germs to Lily. In return, she backcombs their hair and offers sexual health advice.
University life flies by - although I don't even know how long I've been here anymore. A day? All my life? I've told people I've known for five weeks more than I've told people I've known for five years, and while lecture theatres (and the bar...) are places I feel like I've known and loved all my life I've yet to find a computer room.
Overall though, things are settling. Albeit settling in a way that would be a little unsettling to my Mum. She needn't know about my average bedtime, the amount of times I've skipped breakfast or the massive pile of washing in my room. Most of all she needn't know about all the germs. It's amazing what happens when you chuck fifty odd dirty, teenaged strangers into one block. Colds like you wouldn't imagine: catarrh, snot, sneezing, coughing, hacking and sniffing. Man flu stormed D block with a vengeance. Death was called upon as the only release and people were high on Lemsip. Having pumped myself full of vitamin C, I was one of the last to fall. It was awesome - for a month I was invincible and I laughed in the face of phlegm, but of course this only postponed the inevitable.
I feel like I should have been smoking fifty a day and dancing naked in the rain to deserve this. Of course little sympathy is left for me, which is mean because I made countless cups of hot lemon squash and golden syrup to soothe various pairs of ravaged lungs. I suppose it just gets to the point where the sound of one more cough is going to throw you over the brink of sanity. I thought our lecturer might explode last week.
"Gosh lots of people do have coughs today don't they?" Vein throbs on forehead, eyes bulge out of sockets and hands quiver with irritation. Though it wasn't as bad as the poor lecturer who had to request that if we were going to sleep through his lectures, would we kindly take a seat at the back rather than in the middle of the front row? Looking down to the front, everyone could see one particularly enthusiastic student, sound asleep. Dribbling, probably, because the people around him looked a little disgusted.
"Computer Science guy can hack into other people's computers and steal their music, while Italian guy cooks and I backcomb hair for fancy dress"
It's interesting watching people's different attitudes to study. A friend of mine at another university also has her own lecture theory. "I don't go to lectures on Fridays because that's just wrong, like the weekend has already started. Oh and I've got a couple at four in the afternoon, which I think is ridiculous because the day is over, so I don't go to those either," she explained. On my floor one girl works most nights until two in the morning but spends the day at her leisure, to seemingly little detriment, whereas another works until five and then refuses to work any later.
Whenever you work people seem scarily respectful of leaving you alone to get on with it. I suppose we all know we'll all have times where we want to be left alone to cram or pull an all-nighter. Personally I work best after food, anytime day or night as long as I'm not hungry. Or as long as there's nothing very important to be done; like alphabetising my DVDs, going on Facebook, or writing an entry for TheSite.org. Occasionally I have amazed myself, setting my alarm and getting up for some early (ish) hardcore working sessions. I wrote the most amazing economics assignment of my life - admittedly the first, but still amazing - after a lengthy night of cocktails and dancing.
Wrap up your monkey
When I'm not ripping up the dance floor or working hard I mainly spend my time lecturing on sexual health in our kitchen. Our floor is much like the A-Team - everyone has their specialist skill. Computer Science guy can hack into other people's computers and steal their music, while Italian guy cooks and I backcomb hair for fancy dress while offering sexual health advice. I gained this reputation quite early on, expressing approval at the amount of free condoms (not to mention lube) at the freshers' fair and dropping a few stats I learned while on work experience at TheSite.org. People went from thinking that I was some kind of sex fiend, to thinking I had weird career aspirations in the sexual health sector to finally realising I'm just a caring, motherly type. I also make a lot of cups of tea you see, and like to know people have been eating enough. The backcombing - what can I say? It's just a talent.
So before I go, a few friendly pointers from your student sex advisor. Firstly, about one in 10 students have chlamydia don't you know. So, if you think she's spunky, wrap up your monkey (there's nothing like a good catchphrase - I laughed a lot when I read that on a poster in the toilet). Secondly, you can hear sex whenever it's happening, from pretty much anywhere in the block, so buy ear plugs and turn up your music, or just knock on their wall and yell abuse. Finally, always shut your curtains. One of our lovely second year buddies told us that she once spotted her friend doing naughty things from a tutorial in the opposite block!