Let’s face it, we’ve all done embarrassing stuff at uni, especially when it comes to our love lives. But if Channel 4’s eternal student favourite Fresh Meat taught us anything, it was that we’re embarrassing, sure, but not that embarrassing.
In fact, Fresh Meat is practically a four-season-long guide to what not to do when looking for love at uni – with hilarious, cringe-inducing results. True, the gang all end up (sort of) okay in the end, but not before facing the roadblocks, temptations and challenges that so many students find themselves presented with each year.
The very first season even begins with the holy grail of all mistakes students can make in shared accommodation:
Don’t go there with your flatmates
Okay, to be fair to poor Josie, she doesn’t know until she actually wakes up with JP that the student house she’s in is where they’ll both end up living for the next three years. But it’s a mistake that many a bright-eyed naive fresher has made thinking that it won’t do any harm.
In halls and shared student homes, your flatmates, naturally, are the people you get to know the best. They’re there when you wake up in the morning and when you get back from uni – you end up sharing almost everything with them.
A lot of the time, however, it’s unwise to take this relationship beyond just being friends. In a minority of cases it can work out, but by the time any student gets to third year they’ve heard of at least three or four instances where a house has been split in two or even forced apart because things got complicated between a couple of them. The fact is that seeing a housemate entails living with them from the off, meaning things get intense quickly, often to the detriment of the relationship.
If things do go well, however, there’s another pitfall you should take care to avoid:
Take things slow
At the end of season two, Heather (surely one of the most irritating characters on TV) and Kingsley decide to move into a small bedsit together, though Kingsley’s reluctance is clear. Even if you’re not living together, uni relationships can move pretty quickly, and it’s important to not rush into anything you’re not happy with.
Of course, moving in together can work for some couples, but before making the decision it’s important to step back and consider whether it’s definitely the right thing for both of you. It could be worth waiting a little longer to see how things go before tying yourselves into a contract and risking things going haywire – it’s unlikely they’ll conveniently break up with you and return to Hong Kong as Heather eventually does.
When Vod returns from South America with a boyfriend who can barely speak a word of English, she finds herself in a sticky situation when she then tries to dump him, deciding at one point that the right thing to do is abandon him in a shopping centre.
Okay, so this situation is one you’re fairly unlikely to find yourself in at uni, but there’s a message here about the importance of communication. In a world where lots of relationships live online or over text, don’t be one of those people who ghosts someone (or leaves them in a shopping centre) just because you can’t bring yourselves to tell them how you’re really feeling. Sure you might not end up semi-accidentally marrying them so they can get a visa, but you’ll definitely hurt their feelings.
Oh, and last of all, don’t put shards of glass in your mate’s cereal over a girl – apart from anything else, it’s never going to work…