Things You Only Know When You’re A Fresher Arriving At Uni From A Single Sex Boarding School

BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! Sorry, did we mention? BOYS!


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

If you’ve been incarcerated in an all-girls school for 14 years straight (the latter seven of which were at a convent boarding school, no less) then university is, without exaggeration, a massive fucking shock. IS THIS LIFE? You think, beyond exhilirated, running freely through the pub drunk with boys everywhere around you. It’s like you imagined heaven, but the shots aren’t free. (They’re, like, £2 instead.)

Here are some other things that you only know, as a fresher, when you've been at a single sex school.

**It will take you almost three years to get over the novelty of there being BOYS **

I did really badly in my first year at university. I averaged a low 2.2 compared to the high 2.1 that I graduated with. Why? Because I couldn’t study when there were boys in the same lecture hall as me. I couldn’t get over the fact that boys held biros and wrote notes and had diddy little ring binder files. It seemed implausibly and adorably cute that a boy may do something as normal as read a book or write careful notes. My entire experience with boys before I started university was when they were drunk and showing off, pretty much, and I was over-lacquered, flaunting my G-string and supping on a blue coloured drink.

This shit was weird – I was seeing them in libraries and lecture halls and I couldn’t get over the banality of it all. In fact, it took almost my entire university education for this novelty to wear off. Even now, I occasionally find myself walking down the street and thinking BOYS! THERE ARE BOYS! Srsly. That’s what you do to your kid when you lock her up with chicks and only chicks.

And on that note, sharing accomodation with boys is NOT like living with girls

Contrary to public wet dreams, a boarding-school dorm is not filled with girls in silky lingerie having pillow fights. It’s a mass gathering of girls covered in spot cream wearing their most fugly sleep attire. In addition, girls are – typically – less smelly, less noisy and less consumptive. They drink less beer, eat less pizza, smoke less of everything. The boys in halls surpassed all expectations. Not only did I find myself checking left and right before I scurried off to the communal shower block – lest a boy bust me looking foul – but I was consistently astounded at what a mess they could wreak in the kitchen, the noises they could make when plastered on vodka and barging in to every room on the corridor ‘to wake us up and say hello’ and the sheer levels of pizza they left in the fridge. But yay! Cos I got to steal it all in the morning. #sorrynotsorry, but that was totally me, guys.

READ MORE: Stuff To Get Your Mum To Buy You Before She Drops You Off At Uni

Pranks in the canteen take on a whole new level

When you’re at boarding school, pranks are the name of the game. It’s about as retrograde as Tom's Brown School Days, but things like egging each other, clingfilm on the loos, hiding in each other's beds and ‘de-bagging’ (pulling down someone’s trousers whilst they are holding their food tray) is a near daily occurence. A gal doing that to another gal, not that shocking. But when a boy does that to you, in front of 200 people you’ve never met, the urge to cry is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced.

Your meticulously planned outfits will last about 2 seconds

Up until the age of 18, whenever I saw a boy, I would have planned my outfit pretty goddamn well. I’d be wearing my best super-low hipsters, my favourite Abercrombie halterneck and the perfect fitted H&M blazer to offset my overly straightened hair. Fake tanned to within an inch of my life, everything was faultlessly executed. I assumed that university would be much the same and that everyone would only see me at my bestest of best selves. Until I realised that no-one down the pub gave a shit what anyone wore and after a gap year of wearing grubby free clothes and eating mushroom pizzas (the funky fungal kind) your energy for sartorial creativity would extend little beyond aforementioned grubby free tees from various hostels, Topshop skinny jeans and Primark smocks. (Where there’s a university campus, there’s a gigantic Primark nearby.)

READ MORE: We Try On All The Fashion Week Worthy Stuff In Topshop So You Don't Have To

No-one will turn out your light for you. You must become your own light switcher outer

If there is a metaphor for standing on your own two feet, then the light switch is it. As a boarder, you become used to a nun (it was a convent alright!) switching out your light every night and planting a God-like kiss on your forehead when doing so. In the holidays, you’d implore your mum to do the same. Just for continuity, you know. At university, no-one will tell you to go to bed – and no-one will switch off your light. If you want to, you can watch *Peep Show *all night long and no-one will do anything. At some point, you’re going to have to switch off your own light, though. Because sleep is good and you’ve got boys in lecture halls to ogle at in the morning.

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Follow Pandora on Twitter @pinsykes

Picture: Hulton Archive

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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