No TV sitcom has ever captured the exquisite awfulness of university in quite the way that Fresh Meat did. The Channel 4 show – which is now available to watch in full On Demand – managed to cover in detail exactly how brilliant/terrible the entire experience is: lectures, housemates, parties and mornings after.
Here are 10 things that happen to everyone at uni, illustrated by the fine folk of Fresh Meat...
You will fall into groups, or enforce rules to make them happen
The central Fresh Meat gang of Kingsley, Josie, JP, Howard, Vod and Oregon did not mesh at all, and neither will you. You may find your housemates to be great or you may find them to be weird. Maybe you will be friends with people in other halls, meaning you have to avoid your actual housemates. Maybe there's one housemate who you have to continually spurn until he or she gets the message (we're looking at you, JP, you posho). It's cruel, but it's a jungle out there.
One of your friends is always a super narcissist
Uni is no fun without someone who is totally deluded as to their station in life. Like Josie, the dental school dropout, you will meet someone who thinks as highly of themselves as you ever thought possible; this person is convinced everyone loves them and they are totally great, and despite the fact they are actually failing at every facet in life, they appear to be somehow failing upwards. Everyone puts on a bit of a front when they go to uni, but it's not supposed to last for the whole three years, guy.
You won't tidy your room, literally even once, because you don't have to
Tidying? You had enough of that when you lived under Mum and Dad's regime, man. You're young, you're free, you're single! Maybe you don't need to wash every last coffee mug! Maybe that half-finished takeaway container can sit at the foot of your bed for one more evening! As long as all of your important stuff is demarcated into vague but distinctly different piles, you're golden! Except, that is, when you invite a member of the opposite sex round for Netflix and chill and you realise you've become Stig of the Dump and your room smells like sour milk.
You will drink, and drink, and then drink some more
Honestly, it'll be easier to note the days and nights where you don't drink. You'll find your local. Or, more likely, you'll find a newsagent that sells cheap and possibly toxic cider for less than the price of a stamp. Booze is part of your routine now; you'll come to a point where you can't remember how you used to do the big Tesco shop sober. And, inevitably, when you find someone who doesn't drink, like Sabine, you will look at them suspiciously. "What's your game?" you will think and accidentally also say out loud, while drunk.
You cannot get into VIP parties on chutzpah alone
The uni bar will only suffice for a short while. There are parties out there. Insane house parties. With girls and boys and alcohol, and without the threat of half-cut parents coming home at 11pm, and with neighbours that are presumably cool with the huge subwoofers wedged against the wall (if they didn't like it, they wouldn't live there, right?). There's only one problem. You don't know anyone throwing one. And here's the bad news: you can't just turn up like JP and say "Hey it's cool: I'm a student!" They might not have doormen but they do have standards.
House parties don't seem the same as they do on TV
So you've decided to throw your own rager. Rule number one: refer to it as a rager at all times. Rule number two: invite as many people as you can. Rule number three: spend your entire semester's budget on disco lights, cheese puffs and ingredients for an indiscriminate but sticky punch that's so strong it could be used to put down sick animals. Rule number four: don't lose your mellow when 10pm comes and goes and there's still only four of you flipping out to some seriously high bpm tunes from Belgium.
Hangovers consume the non-drinking hours
You're going to want to stock up on essentials like paracetamol, bottled water and bacon, because you are going to be hungover a lot. You will spend most of your mornings hanging, cursing the you from the night before while crumpled on a heap in your bed with your pants on backwards. There is only one surefire way to avoid the hang-fest – drink through the pain. Obviously that's a massively unhealthy and dangerous attitude, but only if it catches up with you – that's tomorrow you's problem!
You will fall in love
Oh god, will you fall in love. Hopelessly, head over heelsy in love. Like falling down an open manhole cover of emotions. University will open you up to a whole new world of other people: interesting people, difficult people, broken people, driven people, and in your current hippy state of free love and understanding, you will fancy every single one of them. If you are anything like JP, you will fall in love with multiple people in a sort of "throw as much muck at the wall and see what sticks" kind of way. And yes, alcohol can help facilitate feelings of love. But don't ever dwell on it. You'll fall in love with someone else next week.
You will kid yourself that this is the week you start to take lectures seriously
Oh, damn! You almost forgot those tuition fees and student loans weren't just covering the cost of your sambuca habit – there's a-learning to be done! There's chatter about coursework deadlines next week, but that doesn't sound right. There'd be some sort of official communication telling you that, right? Better check that uni email address you never use, and- oh, yep, mother of god your life is over. Right. Let's get serious. It's time to knuckle down and get this work done. Right after you check out the rager being thrown down the hall. You can start work in the morning!
Until you realise how long the books on the required reading list are
You can count the hours left until deadline on the fingers of one hand. This really is crunch time. The library! The library has all the answers! They're in all the books! The answers are basically written in all the books – you just have to read them and then swap a few words around! Except... damn, books are long. No pictures, not even really any paragraph breaks. Can you... can you skim read? No, no you can not. It's pot luck time: dive in to a random page, quote a random paragraph, panic in word form for another 1,950 words and hope, like professional chancer Vod, you somehow manage to come up laughing with a 2:2 to go with your massive, crippling debt.
Fresh Meat series 1-4 is now available to watch on demand. Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Comedy