New discoveries at the University of Manchester: puppies working as lift attendants, an immersive Star Trek game with daleks, and a man called Yeast (Rousse)

At last the time had come when I could take up my place at Manchester University on the Early English honours degree course. I wondered what it would be like going back into first year. I anticipated that essay writing would not be a problem for me.

My hall of residence room wasn’t ready when I first arrived so I was advised to take the pink lift up to the top floor and roost until 4pm with the three boys already up there. My fellow passengers in the pink lift included the black puppy who was working as the lift attendant, a rat, a blue cat, and the cat’s owner. The blue cat swallowed the live rat whole just as we reached the thirtieth floor.

The room where I was told to wait was far too small to hold three teenage boys and a mature student. Nevertheless I managed to find enough space to change into my pink moon-and-stars fleece onesie and sat quietly until the clock ticked round to the appointed hour.

At 4pm I set off to find TPR and his bald friend, both of whom had offered to help me to settle into my new undergraduate life. It took some time, but I eventually found them participating in an immersive Star Trek episode. They were enjoying themselves so much that they refused to come back to the pink tower with me to collect my belongings. Sorely disappointed (and somewhat puzzled) I left them fighting a red dalek.

I cheered up a little when I bumped into a fine young man in a suit who appeared to recognise me. When I asked him to remind me of his first name (pretending that I knew his last one, which I didn’t) he responded with the word “Yeast”. He then explained that he had completed his PhD and given up his job as a records manager to undertake another honours degree as a mature student, just like me. I could only conclude that I had spoken at a conference that he had attended. I certainly couldn’t remember ever meeting anyone with such a silly name before.

By this time TPR and his companion had escaped the clutches of the dalek and wandered over to offer their help. I took TPR back to my temporary room at the top of the pink tower. The teenage boys were now well into the freshers tradition of drinking and had scattered all my belongings all over the room. TPR asked why I hadn’t used the dead time while I was waiting for 4pm to pack all my stuff away properly rather than leave everything lying around the place in tote bags. I agreed that this was a very good point. I would need to learn to be more organised if I were to survive the start of undergraduate life surrounded by teenagers.

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