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The pros and cons of living in a staircase at Cambridge University

Escape to the Château or escape to the welfare officer?


No, not what Harry Potter was doing. He was UNDER a staircase – not dissimilar in noise levels, but notable differences include the high ceilings and the fact that he was, you know, unwelcome in his own home. #beefwiththethirdyears xoxo

It’s that time of the academic year: The procrastination-driven staring-into-space has led to extensive reflection on my allocated accommodation. I tried writing my summary of thoughts as prose, but have decided a definitive pros and cons list is the most efficient method of analysing the data (STEM girlie 4eva).

PRO – Ye Olde Redbrick

My building and college may not be Regency sandstone (Bridgerton dreams left to die circa 2023), but the Victorian redbrick certainly contributes to the Cambridge vibes. My BeReal is surely brimming with photos through my weirdly panelled windows (idk the name, I’m not an architect) which is a good amount of flex I reckon.

atmospheric salad box 

CON – Noise bruh

The soundproofing between rooms is not the worst (thank goodness) but the Echo of the Staircase is hauntingly real. It’s all fun and games, getting on nicely with your new flatmates in Freshers’ Week, until it’s Halloween and everyone else is having pres while you’re in bed at 10pm because your alarm is on for 5:40am (!) for rowing.

PRO – Small commYOUnity <3

Cringe but genuinely one of the best parts of the college system is you get to know people really well, and (for myself at least) you don’t share a kitchen with 30 other teenagers who are learning how to cook for the first time. Popping to the gyp in your PJs is not only reassuringly chill but makes it super easy to grab midnight snacks.

attending the Freshers’ Bop with your brand new besties

CON – The absolute trek to the toilet

To those of you who have secured ensuites, congrats, I hope there’s some student loan leftover for Jack’s Gelato, but to those of us who have to walk down TWO FLIGHTS OF STAIRS for a wee, take comfort in the knowledge that what you have is essentially a free Stairmaster workout, and your calves will rival Jack Grealish by Bridgemas. A special shout-out mention to Ryder and Amies, whose puffer conveniently doubles as a dressing gown when your brain has switched off for the day (and by that logic, all the undergrads have matching dressing gowns! How sweet).

The honourable mentions include having your name above your door (sooooo cool! And sooooo unique) and having supervisors’ offices next door (a bit weird if you ask me). To be honest, I like my accommodation a lot, and anyhow, it’s not about the space, it’s about the people. The people I live with are lovely, and more importantly, never act weirdly when you bump into them wrapped only in a towel because you’re too lazy to take your clothes with you to the shower (what can I say? I have zero energy left for that at the end of a long day of NatSci contact hours hahaha… *sighs*).