By Joe McFadden
Recently there’s been a significant uptick in the number of meme pages created by Manchester students, particularly those living on the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield campus.
Meme pages have always been a staple of student life, since Instagram took off in 2010. But in the past two weeks there has been a sharp increase in the number of pages operating out of the University of Manchester.
These accounts range from traditional meme pages like uniofmanchestermemes – which currently has 64 posts and boasts 2,704 followers – to more commentary-style pages, like the new kid on the block uomgossip.
Alongside these University-wide accounts there have also been numerous ‘Oak House Ratings’ pages pop up. These accounts ask followers to send in pics of various student mishaps occurring in the infamous Oak House Halls of Residences.
Ranging from sinks to fridges to even shags, these accounts document the weird (and sometimes wonderful) internal happenings of Oak House, showcasing some of UoM’s finest students’ commitment to the “Uni life”.
Of course, these aren’t the only Oak House pages currently operating on Instagram. Up until it got deleted in the past few days, the most notorious Oak House account was OakHouseBait, to which users would send in videos and pictures of Oak House residents caught in compromising positions after an absolute disaster of a night.
Content often included chundering into the communal toilet after a nasty concoction of alcohol from Fallowfield’s beloved New Zealand Wines or some unfortunate souls k-holing through the night as they just couldn’t hack the sesh.
Another beloved Oak House rating account that has sadly vanished from the ‘gram was OakHouseCrocRatings which, you guessed it, would ask users to send in their pairs of, often decorated, Crocs to rate. No one really knows what’s happened to OakHouseBait or CrocRatings however their content will be sorely missed by Fallowfield’s student population.
Other accounts include Oakhousemealratings which documents some of the truly hideous culinary creations Oak House Residents attempt to poison themselves with. Occasionally a rare edible meal will grace their followers’ timelines.
“There is the inevitable, extremely meta account: oakhouseratingsratings which is now rating the other rating pages to seemingly deduce which is the best Oak House Rating page.”
Unfortunately, more often than not we are treated to undercooked pasta, underwhelming beans on toast and multiple dishes which look like they’re the contents of the stomachs of some of OakHouseBait’s participants. Gordon Ramsay would probably dish out some of his most creative insults if he ever saw some of the nightmares students call dinner.
A quick summary of other Manchester meme pages reveals more Oak House ratings pages. At the time of writing, there are currently oakhouseashtrays, oakhousewalls, oakhousesinks, oakhousedecoratings, oak.house.shag.ratings, oakhousezootratings, oakhouseedibleratings, oakhousevapes, oakhousefridges, oakhousetoiletreviews, oakhousetrimratings, oakhouseoverheard, and the inevitable, extremely meta account: oakhouseratingsratings which is now rating the other rating pages to seemingly deduce which is the best Oak House Rating page.
Of course, this begs the question as to why are UoM students doing this. One such theory could be that students are simply bored and looking for an outlet to relieve the monotony of life in lockdown and online learning.
However, it could also be the case that due to Covid restrictions and the noticeable absence of a coherent student community on campus these Instagram pages provide a way for students, particularly first years, to connect with each other and at least feel like they’re part of a larger student community.
First years have had difficulty meeting fellow students and making new friends due to the Covid-19 restrictions, with freshers shifted almost-entirely online, which has inevitably prevented students from getting to properly know their course-mates. The meme pages provide a common experience to bond over as well as a way for people to adequately humiliate their friends and flatmates in a manner that is exclusive to Mancunians, and can only make sense in Fallowfield.
This could also explain the reasoning behind the Jodel chat – a chat on a third party app that allows followers of all the pages to connect with each other, share confessions, publicly humiliate flatmates and gossip about the university.
Whatever the case, these meme pages are here to stay and for as long as students reside in Oak House there will be an unlimited amount of material for us to all laugh at, cringe at, and most importantly think: thank God I’ve never been that bad.
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