By FRANCISCA SOMANN
As a first-year, a lot of defining circumstances, both academic and social, are outside your control. Once you arrive on campus it can already become unavoidably clear: either the people you live with are people you can feel at home with or the people that make you rush to your room with your eyes fixated on the floor every time you enter. Then, regardless of whether you get along with the students you live with, you are either in a unit that develops a system which keeps the common room more or less habitable or coming into the kitchen means digging through three layers of fungus that accumulated in the last months consisting of old slices of pizza, boxes from wok to go and strings of spaghetti which have become more or less one with the surface it lays upon. When your unit-relationship allows you to communicate, a full recovery is not out of the question. But if not, the smell and the fact that you have not seen a clean plate since you came to UCU makes you doubt whether the 648,90 euros we pay per month to live on this campus are either a joke or a scam.
When the situation has escalated to the abovementioned scenario and a unit meeting about it is out of the question – let’s be honest, that is practically impossible when you live with more than six people– it can’t get worse, at least, that’s what you hope. Because, as I observed in the last six months, unit-wars can be taken to another extreme when two units are connected. Chaos is unleashed if there is a free passage between two units, a passage that is functioning as a shortcut to get to the culinary relief of dining hall delight. As the scenario I describe might slightly resemble a true story I will go through the highlights.
A dispute started when one night in a drunken haze someone who was at a party in unit 1, threw up in the shower of unit 2. They did not clean this up themselves and unit 2 reacted with a playful sign of ‘no trespassing’. However, as unit 1 was still used as a passage, they returned the favour. In response to the latter, unit 2 placed eggs to be stepped on in unit 1 and created an artwork in their opponents’ toilet with fake vomit. This however, was cleaned up by a member of the guilty unit. After these events, a meeting was scheduled which unit 1 failed to attend. For now, order has returned and all that can be seen is a sign with the words “no trespassing, armed response” directed at unit 2.
When approaching both parties, they seemed to have differing opinions about what had happened, for instance regarding the egg incident: “They just put eggs in front of our unit and room doors, they would either go way too small or way too big in their pranks.” “It was one egg, in the hallway, still wrong but a lot less dramatic.” “We put up a sign with ‘no trespassing – armed response’, as a joke, they did not like it. So since then it has just been lots of staring.” “One of us had to get to class quickly, in response they put a sign with ‘DON’T TRESPASS ARMED RESPONSE’, kind don’t you think?”
As dramatic this fight might have become, it did change internal unit atmospheres for the better. One of them claimed that a common enemy forced the unit to form a united front and at least have a common interest for the first time. Stupidly enough both parties agree that the fight is childish and could have been concluded a long time ago had there only been a conversation about it.