Peter Iveson

Justyn Hardcastle

Justyn Hardcastle


A house game of Monopoly. A great chance to play a game properly, as being an only child and having to play by yourself soon loses its appeal. I’m confident that the business acumen I’ve accumulated from this week’s ‘The Apprentice’ and years of selling my worldly possessions on eBay will stand me in good stead. Wrong.

My housemates start strongly and begin to harvest the properties on the board; I on the other hand am marooned in prison still yet to make it round the board after
successive ‘Chance’ cards go against me.

After 20 minutes of furious dice rolling, all I have to show for my troubles is Old Kent Road (widely regarded as the Mayfair of Monopoly, obviously), the Strand and the Waterworks (oh, the irony). The rest of the properties have been bought up and traded between my fellow players, who have now turned the board into London’s most profitable hotel district.

Two more rounds of the board and I’m rinsed of a significant amount of cash and my few remaining notes start to have a distinctly yellow feel about them.

The £2 I receive every time someone lands on Old Kent Road makes me the laughing stock of the game, as I eagerly lap up the money in a way Ebeneezer Scrooge would be proud of. This contrasts with the £750 I was forced to pay when I landed on The Angel, Islington and was forced to book into the President’s Suite (who knew?).

This is the moment where I will admit I am very competitive. It’s not about the taking part, it’s about victory and annihilation. Right on cue, I begin to trot out all the excuses I can think of; “the Chance cards are rigged”, “if only I could land on Whitechapel Road”, “you’re all refusing to trade with me” and “this wouldn’t have happened if you’d have let me be the racing car.” I’m not losing through poor play, no; I go all Richard Nixon and accuse my housemates, the games and the world of conspiring against me.

Half an hour passes and I’m bankrupt, first out and lose what little dignity I have left by petulantly hurling my top hat into the kitchen.

What has happened to me? A simple game of Monopoly amongst me and my housemates ended with me demanding a rematch, swearing vengeance on my bewildered friends.

Competitiveness had reared its ugly head, not for the first time. University has taught me many things; not to leave pans unattended, not to piss off the ducks, and has certainly made me aware of a ruthless streak running through me.

I will admit I am very competitive. It’s not about the taking part, it’s about victory and annihilation

In my first year, we erected a table tennis net across our dinner table. This was probably the first time my new university friends and I engaged in any kind of competitive activity. It quickly became apparent that me and three of the lads felt we could lay claim to being Flat Number One. Games became fraught battles where friends turned to enemies that must be beaten, and where defeated players were mocked relentlessly. The net was eventually hidden by another housemate, probably for the best.

As a fresher, you’ll become aware that living day in day out with your peers changes you; it’s hard to stay the same person when you are removed from a setting you’ve spent the whole of your life in. This probably seems a daunting prospect right now, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing – although you can probably leave out the Monopoly rage.

But even if I appear to have picked up a character trait that I could’ve done without, it was actually this drive that indirectly led me to Nouse.

Determination not to spend my student days playing Football Manager, watching Top Gear repeats and eating breakfast at 5pm gave rise to a desire to end university with some real memories. Join societies, meet new people, don’t be scared to run for elections and, yes, people may mock you but who cares? It’ll be their loss in the end.

Leaving university with nothing but a degree would be a travesty, especially when there is so much to do. Opportunities will arise that you will never have again (Chance cards, if you will) and rather than look at them and think they’re not very ‘you’, try to have an open mind.

University is three years you’ll never get back; make sure you squeeze the most out of your time in York. Otherwise you might end up stuck on the Old Kent Road, and take it from me, you don’t want that. Even with the racing car.

One comment

  1. Brilliant article! Funny, with a moral at the end. I trust we can expect more columns from Peter?

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