Want to work in professional services? Not sure which area is right for you? Take our quiz to find out. https://quiz.allaboutcareers.com

Epic Fails

House of Horrors: Choosing Second Year Accommodation Epic Fails

House of Horrors: Choosing Second Year Accommodation

So you’re part way through your first year at university. You’ve met friends, work is going well. You think you’re all set. Hold on. Second year housing. The three words which are guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine of any first year…


For most, finding a house in second year is one of the biggest independent decisions to make whilst at university. Something which is chosen by you, paid for by you, and organised by you. Needless to say, it’s important to find the right place. This is where I went wrong. Let me share some personal experiences which will hopefully help you not make the same mistake…

“Well it looks like a bomb has hit it… But it’s only £60 a month!”

If your future housemate says these words on a house viewing, I cannot urge you enough: run. I made the foolish mistake of thinking that, with a bit of hard work and elbow grease, we could turn this little hovel around. I pictured the four of us cleaning the place like a montage in an 80s film with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ spurring us on. (This did not happen). 

We all signed our souls away that day and completely forgot about the heap of bricks barely recognisable as a house. Reality hit us like a train the next September. Windows were jammed open, wallpaper was peeling off the walls and there was a lingering smell which was unmistakably reminiscent of my dad’s compost heap. But, we thought, we have each other and that’s all that matters.

The wildlife

I was wrong. It was not just us living in the house. Manchester is not commonly known for its wildlife; the nearest one can get is the Deli counter in Sainsbury’s. It turned out, however, that my bedroom was quite the animal reserve. I woke up in the early hours one morning to the unfamiliar sound of two mice fighting on my bedroom floor. I am neither a fan of mice nor violence, so violent mice was one step too far. When house viewing, subtly check the nooks and crannies for mousetraps. You will not regret it.

Scott of the Manc-tarctic

Student houses are famously cold. Heating is expensive and students are poor. Never before, however, have I heard of anybody having to sit and work at their desk in a ski-jacket and thermals. Yes, this did happen to me. The windows were single glazed and it made the room like a freezer in the winter months (which in Manchester adds up to about ¾ of the year). They were so thin that the curtains flapped when there was a strong wind. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the mice had been replaced by penguins. If you check nothing else in a house viewing, check that the windows are double glazed or risk frostbite!

The neighbours

One thing no student can choose is their neighbours. Those disembodied voices which can be heard so well through the paper thin walls. They might be lovely! A friend for life and as quiet as death when you need to work. Or they could be three ‘lads’; one a DJ with his own decks, one a rapper with his own microphone and one an organist with, you guessed it, his own organ. Yes, these were our neighbours.

So they wouldn’t disturb each other when they had to work (they rarely worked), they all practised at the same time. How thoughtful! If you’ve never heard a mix of Songs of Praise, Kanye West and Fat Boy Slim, don’t worry. You are not missing anything.

Believe me, the list goes on. As student epic-fail decisions go, moving into our house was one of the worst we could possibly have made. As a call to all students, please make sure you move into somewhere habitable, animal and icicle-free and learn from my mistakes.

It is strangely apt, as I complete this piece, that my flatmate has just burst into my room in a panic. He has told me that he has made a large hole in his carpet by spraying a deodorant can through a lighter at a piece of paper “to see what would happen.” It burned. Choose your flatmates wisely as well.

Written by Chris Fray

Classics Student @ University of Manchester

Image courtesy of angeladellatorre, 'my mouse, pepper'

More Epic Fails

How NOT to Write a Vacation Scheme Application

How NOT to Write a Vacation Scheme Application

The prospect of writing a vacation scheme application can leave the best of us weak at the knees. They say you can learn by example. Well, here’s an example of how to completely scupper your chances of getting on a vacation scheme. Members of the jury, we present to you Exhibit A: exactly how not to write a vacation scheme application…

Epic Fails

Zen and the Art of 719 Apple IDs

Zen and the Art of 719 Apple IDs

My CV was bare. Completely and utterly empty of experience, of any kind. I knew full well that I wanted to work in my first summer of undergrad, but the chances of that happening were probably somewhere in the negative hundreds of percent with the experience I had, even if I tried to cover it up with my "substantial extracurricular achievements". So, when a family friend offered me a week-long temporary position at his company, I naturally jumped at the chance. The first step is always the hardest, right? I reasoned that this first job would put me in an excellent position to seek more, regardless of what it actually entailed.

Epic Fails

Words of Warning from a Call Centre Veteran

Words of Warning from a Call Centre Veteran

If you need a job to fund yourself through university, you might consider working in a call centre. Why not? There’s certainly nothing wrong with working in a call centre, right? Hot Rant, a blog for angry people, has a slightly different opinion on the traditional student stomping ground… 

Epic Fails

University Halls

University Halls

My university halls were sold to me as the jewel in the crown of my Newcastle experience.  I was fortunate enough to get my first choice of university halls and had settled on Castle Leazes.  With the promise of a huge student population of fun-loving freshers it was billed as the place to be in Newcastle.  I arrived wide-eyed and hopeful with the contents of my life stuffed into bin-bags. However, after one quick lap around my would-be utopia it became all too apparent that I had just condemned myself to a year in the place where the 1960s went to die. I had been hoodwinked.  Like Alice tumbling down the rabbit-hole, I was about to uncover the oddities hidden in this student wonderland...

Epic Fails

The Worst Interview Ever?

The Worst Interview Ever?

Jack Collins, the Managing Editor of AllAboutCareers, has not always been so clued up on how to nail a job interview. During his own plucky search for a career, he made some mistakes; some quite ridiculous mistakes! However, he’s learned from those blunders and perhaps you can learn from them too! What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…

Epic Fails

The Tale of the Misguided Book Shirt

The Tale of the Misguided Book Shirt

Britain, as Julian Barnes famously said, is “the land of embarrassment and breakfast.” Embarrassment is embedded in the British psyche, although some people do have reason to be more red-faced than most. Editorial and marketing assistant, Maudie Powell-Tuck, shares her most embarrassing internship story. Read it and cringe…

Epic Fails

The Perils of Being an Enthusiastic Temp

The Perils of Being an Enthusiastic Temp

Many students get temp jobs during the university holidays. It’s a great idea. Temping is a fantastic way to earn some money and get some much-needed work experience on your CV. A word of warning though: don’t be overly enthusiastic. Hot Rant, a blog for angry people, tells us why über-keen temps often get landed with the jobs that nobody else wants…

Epic Fails

Six Chemists, Three Kittens & A Soaring Globe of Phlegm

Six Chemists, Three Kittens & A Soaring Globe of Phlegm

Living with your pals during your second year of university is meant to be a joyous occasion. One filled with philosophical midnight conversation, homely dinnertime gatherings and a sociable carefree buzz. My first mistake was making this assumption. My second mistake was disregarding the mysterious behaviour of my fellow housemates at the expense of a very large chunk of phlegm…

Epic Fails

Mini Fail: The Unfortunate Catheter Incident

Mini Fail: The Unfortunate Catheter Incident

Picture the scene: You’ve recently finished your medical degree and it’s your first day of foundation training. You’ve got your scrubs on. You look like a doctor, but you’re a little bit nervous. You want to get stuck in and prove yourself, but, most importantly, you want to get through the day without making any mistakes or any of your patients dying…

Epic Fails

Mini Fail: Paint Splattered Woes of an Unpaid Intern

Mini Fail: Paint Splattered Woes of an Unpaid Intern

In our brand new series, Mini Fails, we’re inviting you to share your ‘fails’ with us, specifically when it comes to internships, job applications, university or terrible jobs. Whether they’re mortifyingly embarrassing, horrifically exploitative or just downright heart-breaking, we’re all ears. So, are you sitting comfortably? Got a nice fire going in the living room? Let’s kick things off with an all too common tale of an unpaid intern… 

Epic Fails

Is this the PA Job from Hell?

Is this the PA Job from Hell?

Most of us have had some pretty shocking jobs in our time. Olivia, marketing executive at AllAboutCareers.com, is no exception. Here she shares her worst job experience. Want to know what it is? We’ll give you a clue: it involves old chewing gum and double decker buses. Intrigued? We thought so… 

Epic Fails

How to Get a Job You Are Totally Inappropriate For

How to Get a Job You Are Totally Inappropriate For

You might have financially coasted through your A-Levels on an idle diet of EMA bonuses, occasionally re-painting your grandma’s numerous sheds and washing the cars of your begrudging neighbours, but now school is out and the summer is over…

Epic Fails

How NOT to behave in any job interview

How NOT to behave in any job interview

Today’s the day. The one you’ve been waiting for. Your entire life has been leading up to this moment, the crucial juncture, some would say. Ever since you were told that you had landed an interview for the ideal graduate job you have thought of nothing but your first day at the company, strutting into the office suited and booted and carrying out work so majestic and thorough that your co-workers will look to you in awe and hail you as The Second Coming. 

Epic Fails

Graduation Ceremony Epic Fails

Graduation Ceremony Epic Fails

Life as an undergraduate is finally over (sob) but before you embrace this so-called real world that you hear people chatting about, it’s time for your graduation ceremony. Everyone will be there. And by everyone, we mean everyone. Your mum, dad, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents, dogs, cats, hamsters, goldfish, next doors gardener and even your best mate’s cousin’s dad’s boss is set to make a cameo appearance. Not to mention all your lecturers who have guided you along the treacherous undergraduate road. What on earth could go wrong, eh?

Epic Fails

Giving it the Big’Un: Suffering the Recruitment Job Interview

Giving it the Big’Un: Suffering the Recruitment Job Interview

Quite often it’s not the person being interviewed that should experience the shame and embarrassment of an epic fail. Sometimes the interviewer should be the one hanging their head in shame. Nowhere else is this trend more prominent than in the macho world of recruitment. Jack Collins explains it all…

Epic Fails

Fresher’s Week: First Impression Fails

Fresher’s Week: First Impression Fails

As all students-to-be for 2014 will know, Fresher’s Week is on the horizon. A time when heroes are crowned. When mavericks make their mark. When indelible reputations are first formed…Here are just a couple of real-life Fresher’s experiences to get you geared up for the university year. Thank goodness you’ll have all of that time to have a second crack at ‘the first impression’. 

Epic Fails

Football Manager Ruined My Degree

Football Manager Ruined My Degree

Widely-regarded as the most addictive computer game of all time, Football Manager (a.k.a. FM) has the ability to seriously affect people’s lives. We managed to track down one guy who let his obsession with the game completely ruin his degree. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll consider throwing your own copy of Football Manager in the bin as he recounts his unfortunate tale…

Epic Fails

First Day of Work Epic Fails

First Day of Work Epic Fails

You managed to survive graduation without any epic fails and now the next hurdle in the race of life is making it through the first day of your new job with having any fails of epic proportions. 

Epic Fails

Fawlty Towers of Terror: A First Job Experience

Fawlty Towers of Terror: A First Job Experience

First jobs are rarely the real deal. And for Jos Weale, new editor at AllAboutCareers.com, this was no exception. Here she lets us in on the dirt from her first ever experience of the working world… and when we say dirt, we mean quite literally. False teeth and Vaseline you say? We smell an epic fail…

Epic Fails

Factory Boy: My First ‘Graduate’ Job

Factory Boy: My First ‘Graduate’ Job

Jack Collins, the Managing Editor of AllAboutCareers, didn’t walk straight out of university and into his dream job. Like many university students, who choose to focus on studying and socialising rather than thinking about their career, he had to pay his dues before getting a graduate-level job…

Epic Fails

Epic Fail: Picking the Wrong Housemate

Epic Fail: Picking the Wrong Housemate

Your first year at university is about to finish. It’s almost time to leave the breezeblock walls, communal showers, athlete’s foot, romantic misadventures and insipid décor of student halls behind. Greener pastures await. You’re moving into a student house with your friends. It looks a bit rough around the edges, but it’s going to be “EPIC”. Surely nothing can go wrong?

Epic Fails

Mini Fail: When Office Pranks Go Wrong

Mini Fail: When Office Pranks Go Wrong

Hot off the viral grapevine is this little gem of a formal complaint. It reads like something out of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais’ The Office; a beautiful marriage of inter-office pranking and company bureaucracy. David Thorne, we salute you! 

Epic Fails

Recruiting? We can help