Welcome to Selly Oak: every #relatable horror Birmingham students face
Ah, Selly Oak: the hellish neighbourhood many Birmingham students will have forced upon them as 'home, sweet home' for at least a year of their degree- two years, if you're extra lucky.
Hellish it may be, but hilariously hellish is what it's become. When you're finally unleashed from Selly, out into the big (slightly less bad) word, you'll look back with fond memories at the (rather less fond) grotty living conditions that have become eponymous with the area. You won't take advice from Oasis and look back in anger, you'll look back and laugh at how fully ridiculous the last couple of years have been. So with that, here's everything that makes Selly Oak the wonderfully awful place it's come to be.
Your safety is compromised at every turn
Any Uni of Birmingham student knows that if anything awful happens in Selly Oak, it'll be posted on the Fab n Fresh Facebook page. The sad thing about this is that there are incidents posted on the daily, from horror stories about sexual assault to daylight robbing of students walking back from university, using knives and machetes to make victims hand their phones over. Don't expect to live in Selly a calm and collected person: the paranoia sets in, you fear walking by yourself and you'll spend your walks frantically staring behind you all the time. Oh, the joys.
You're always waiting for the return of Smelly Oak
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Model: “Curver 40 L Metal Effect Plastic One Touch Deco Bin, Silver” Genre: Kitchen Bin Age: Approx. 2 years Height: 0.749 yards Capacity: 40,000 ml Easing you in with a staple portion of the 21st century bin diet. The kitchen bin is considered by experts to be an unsung hero of the bin world, quietly acting as an intermediate storage location for household waste on its pilgrimage to the dump. It’s easy to mistake this bin for a 0.749 yard tall cylindrical mirror, given the perfection of it’s chrome finish. A standout feature is the functional yet stylish spring loaded lid, which facilitates a rapid time-to-bin coefficient. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the slightly poor bin bag placement in this example detracts from the overall aesthetic which is a shame. Nevertheless, a solid showing here from a finalist in the 2012 ‘Bin of the Year’ competition. Functionality: 76 Style: 69 Celebrity lookalike: Vladimir PutBin #getinthebin #trashtalk
Students produce a whole lot of rubbish, and they're not always that good at putting said rubbish out on time for the bin men. Which means the bins pile up. Add into the mix the delightful courtesy of the council to have bin strikes what feels like every other week, and you'll be living in a literal tip before you know it. Trying to navigate pavements encrusted with cardboard, leftover takeaway boxes and bin juice makes you want to contemplate getting an Uber to campus. When Selly gets Smelly it makes a despairing place utterly intolerable. But bins are funny, so you can just laugh it off- whilst holding your nose, of course.
Housing horrors are part and parcel of living in Selly- everything will fall apart
Have you had your ceiling fall in yet? No? Well, you're lucky. Just because outside in Selly brings a whole lot of danger and smells, it doesn't mean you get an easier ride in the safety of your 'home, sweet home', oh no. Touch every kitchen appliance with care, because they very well might combust in your hands. If your shower hasn't broken yet, then it's inevitable it will at some point. Heck, even your front door lock might go, and that's all fun and games for safety in Selly.
Most estate agents are completely clueless about how to run their business properly
Students tend to get a bad rep about being lazy and not being on it enough, but you should see half the estate agents in Selly. You'd think they've had enough experience of dealing with fixing problems, as everyone's houses fall apart 24/7, but they're still not competent. Scared of confrontation, or of even using the phone? You'll have plenty of time to practise your angry phone voice living in Selly because chasing your elusive estate agent up on the latest breakage becomes an art to perfect.
You'll need to factor in around three hours of your day into your food shop
Oh, Aldi. You're wonderfully cheap, but a wonderful pain in the arse. Once you've navigated your way past aisle after aisle of irritatingly slow-paced customers, it's time to queue for the till. And by time, you're looking at a solid half hour, potentially. The queues snake their way through the store, and there's always that one till closed that would definitely alleviate said queuing, but Aldi's decided to be understaffed every time you go to the shop so you'll have to grin and bear the tedium.
Good luck getting your beauty sleep in Selly
Shuteye doesn't really come along all that often in Selly. Next door will inevitably decide to have a house party every Tuesday evening before your 9 am start, and your front-facing bedroom sounds as if there are no walls whatsoever separating you from the animals on Sports Night. Your crappy blinds probably let the street lights shine in, as well. Fab- (you won't be looking fresh in the morning).
It's 110% likely you'll have an intruder in your house... at some point
Living in a house with your pals, it's inevitable you'll forget to double lock the front door at some point, with rushing in and out to uni at different times every day. Fingers crossed you won't find yourself with a burgled house (burglaries in Selly are, strangely enough, extremely prevalent) but even if you are lucky to not have your valuables put in jeopardy, you might end up with a policeman unwantedly in your house. The police have started doing checks on people's front doors in Selly, in an attempt to crack down on the burglaries, so don't feel alarmed if PC Bob turns up in your kitchen; he'll just be telling you off for leaving your door open.
Who needs to cook when you have Roosters around the corner?...
This, arguably, could be something positive that Selly has going for it (finally), however, there's a downside to 24/7 Roosters: it's incredibly easy to put on weight. Hurrah.
Getting to the other side of campus is a TREK
Selly is literally a couple of minutes from the university gates. A couple of minutes from the SOUTH SIDE university gates. Suddenly, attempting to walk from Dawlish to the Guild or Strathcona feels as painful as the trek from the Vale in first year. Should have gone back into student halls. You might have been safer and saner.
You honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry
Living in Selly can be hellish, but there are some situations that you encounter during your wonderful time here that, actually, are laughable. Just remind yourself that one day, this will all be over, and laugh your way through Selly.