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This is the new Stephen Contributor Article

Halls in another uni are nice


Credit: University of Birmingham

The unusual sofas 

 

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Im hesitant to call them sofas. Weird, slightly padded grey benches might be more appropriate.  If you’ve ever been the poor unfortunate soul who decided to crash on a friend’s Mason sofa after a heavy night out, you’ll be all too familiar with the crippling back pain the following morning – if you managed to sleep at all.  

Corridor kitchens 

The layout of Mason is evidently designed to stack in as many flats as possible, leading to some quirky architectural designs. The kitchens are long but very narrow, meaning trying to host pres with any more than about 15 attendees involves loudly repeating ‘excuse me, mind your back, coming through’.  This must be why Tennis Courts are the party accommodation they welcome all the Mason tenants who don’t fancy taking on hosting duties.

Credit: University of Birmingham

Dinner facing the wall 

Its quite the challenge to have a nice flat dinner when youre all eating staring at the wall in front of you. The strange breakfast bar layout in lieu of a dining table became a real nuisance when we tried to have our Christmas dinner. We found a solution, and ended up sat cross-legged on cushions on the floor, gathered around the little coffee table in the lounge area. We all got pins and needles, but at least we could see each others faces, and it was actually quite wholesome. 

Is it a double? Is it a single? No! It’s a Mason bed! 

 Dont get me wrong, I was very grateful to not be sleeping in a single bed, but trying to find bedding that fits a small double was a challenge. It’s not the most comfortable for two people if you’re trying to have a friend sleep over, unless you fancy a spoon, but you’re not likely to fall off in the middle of the night, which is a relief.

Credit: University of Birmingham

Bold interior designs

I’m not sure who signed off on the whole orange or green theme, but I’d like to have a stern word with them. Our first year flat was decidedly orange, with a neon desk chair, and a pin board that refused to match my aesthetic vision. I got a bit crafty and backed it with brown paper, but there is little anyone can do about the glow-in-the-dark chairs. It does add a bright pop of colour for the strange freshers who refuse to decorate their rooms – there is always one in every flat.

Soggy Floors

I’m not sure who signed off on the whole orange or green theme, but I’d like to have a stern word with them. Our first year flat was decidedly orange, with a neon desk chair, and a pin board that refused to match my aesthetic vision. I got a bit crafty and backed it with brown paper, but there is little anyone can do about the glow-in-the-dark chairs. It does add a bright pop of colour for the strange freshers who refuse to decorate their rooms – there is always one in every flat.

Soggy Floors

With one sliding unit forming both your wardrobe and bathroom door, there is no way to close them both, and the lack of a lock on the bathroom door is not ideal if youve got company over. There is a strange novelty to the futuristic door design though –  it feels a little like being in a Star Trek episode.

The great steel elevators

The lifts are an absolute lifesaver when taking the bins out or unloading on moving day. A beacon of light when you come back from the shops laden with heavy bags for life. I actually met some of my closest uni pals in the lifts, which is entirely possible if you’re willing to break the awkward silence.

Sleepless nights 

Mason isnt the most sociable of accommodations, as all the flat doors are outside of the building, meaning you’re not disturbed by people coming and going. However, as youre all packed in quite closely together noise does travel. In my first year of uni I dont think I slept soundly on any Tuesday evening, as my wonderful downstairs neighbours decided that was the day for an all-night house party. I think our invite got lost in the post.

Unusual décor 

This is consistent across halls on the Vale, but Mason seemed to take it to the next level. From obscene post-it note messages displayed on the windows (our entire accommodation was sent a stern email from the Vale Reception asking us to take down any messages before Open Day), to the most impressive bottle collections on windowsills, Mason dwellers get pretty crafty with how they decorate their gaffs.  We know how to make a house into a home.

The trek

When I lived in Mason, we didnt have the luxury of the new laundry block (though we did have to suffer through the construction noises all year). Instead, we had to lug our laundry to and from the machines in the Shackleton Hub. When the driers inevitably failed, the weight of the world was in our laundry bag as we hiked back to our flats.