Wow what a scathing review of OP Tower. I know its got its issues but I've just got to stick up for it here!
Lets begin with the easy bit, and address the issue of the 18 flights of stairs. Hmm, what in this modern age might be the way round this mountainous issue? How about a lift? You know, an elevator? Oh yeah, they do have one. So you chose not to use the elevator and then complained about the stairs? Right! In my year it did break down a few times I'll admit, but most of the time a nice little journey in the safe confines of an enclosed lift was all I needed to get to my room.
Fire Alarms. They we're a great laugh! Yes, irritating in exam period, and I never set one off myself of course, but every time it went off we young fun-loving first years popped outside in our dressing gowns and all had a laugh and chat that often went on much longer than was needed because we were enjoying it so much.
One criticism made below was that boys were playing football in the courtyard. I don't really know what function of the courtyard was being spoiled by this activity, I really didn't feel there was much wrong with having a kick around there. Anyway it was me, so I'm sorry if that bothered you. We thought it was fun you see?
Kitchens are grim, but as you get catered food every day, I think we can let them off this? At least you had a microwave and a hob for some late night beans. We were students for god sake, it was perfect!
Owens Park is the centre of Fallowfield, and not only that but the centre of Manchester University. People flocked from far and wide to drink and hang out there. It was student-ville, but we were students. And the Tower is the centre of OP. Moaning about fun is depressing. Go out and enjoy yourself!
If you have ever gone near Fallowfield you will have seen this monstrosity. It looms. It dominates. It scars the skyline. A monolithic presence casting a forbidding shadow over the heart of Owen's Park campus, it demands your attention.
Opinions rage over whether it is a landmark or just a relic of a bygone era. Those who have lived within may remember it fondly, recalling happy days spent frolicking about in the various flats. I am here to tell you they are fools. Poor, misguided fools. They have been entranced by its curse, but together we can lift that. I shall explain:
1. Would you like to live in a place that involves trekking down multiple flights of stairs every time a fire alarm goes off?
2. With reference to 1, would you like to live in a place where the fire alarms are regularly set off, because some drunken idiot thought it would be 'a right laugh'.
3. Would you like a room and kitchen worthy of a high security prison block?
4. Would you like a room that you can physically feel move in the wind?
If you answered yes to all four, then welcome to the tower! Enjoy your stay, you weirdo. If, like me, you would rather it was toppled to the ground in a climactic uprising against the concrete tyrant, then, unfortunately, we can only dream.
O Wizard of Yelp, am I allowed to simply copy and paste my review of Oak House into this little white rectangle?
Well, I am enamoured by the very real sense of community that exists amongst the students of Fallowfield. From my lonely little room in Whitworth Park I would stare with glazed eyes filled with sadness and envy. Students who spend their first year in Fallowfield seem to have a better time than anyone else. They're also of the most resented people in the city, but to any would-be glowerer I'd point out that they're younger than you and are having a better time than you.
My four star review of Oak House was powered by wist. You'll notice, though, that this place has only received two stars.
This is because the tower itself is an eyesore. It's horrible.
It's also because, out of everyone I know who spent their first year in this area, those who lived in Oak House are generally without exception full of praise. They all agree, it wasn't much, but it was home. And such fun. Sigh.
People talk less favourably of Owen's Park Tower, though. Case in point, Rebecca. And Rob.
But not Alfie! See, you can have a good time here.
This review comes from an outsider who can see so much joy in the social aspects but would not for one moment entertain the idea of living in THAT tower.
Take from that what you will.
I only ever went to Owens Park for one reason, the OP Bop, which occurs every Friday night. I doubt that non-students are allowed in, but my recollection of those nights is rather vague. Basically it's a cheesey, crappy, but somehow good student club night that's held in a student halls of residence dining (i think) area.
weird, but it's kind of a Manchester University institution.
Ah, OP Tower. The symbol of my miserable first year of uni, which I spent on the 18th floor of this hideous manmade monolith. Rising out of Owen's Park like Sauron's tower, it is a monument to the general hideosity that is OP.
Now, I'm gonna disagree with Rob a bit here, and say that I quite liked my bedroom. The fitted wardobe unit was mahoosive, the desk was also sizeable and there was a sink in the corner of my room, which is always useful when one doesn't want to share toothbrushing facilities. The bed, most people would have thought hard, but I like a firm mattress so that was OK. The window was big enough to almost smoke out of, and as I mentioned in a previous review, afforded me a great view of the city. At the time, it was also the only residence in Owen's Park to have internet in every room. This was a revelation to me; super fast internet and the chance to nick loads of music off people's shared iTunes! Wowser! So, yeah, I liked my room, apart from the fact that every now and then (at 4am usually), the water pipes above my room would clank and bang and I would leap out of bed, ready to confront the loud murderer who I was sure was in my wardrobe. I do have to agree with Rob, though, on the kitchens. The kitchens were shoddy and ill-equipped. Yes, we were being 'catered' for (more on that in a bit) but not at weekends. At weekends we had to fend for ourselves, which is hard to do with an undersized oven and two malfunctioning hob rings. We had a Breville, brought by Christian Flatmate, but it was stolen when someone on our floor forgot to lock the door. So were most of my plates and a good knife. The rascals.
So, yes, the food. The food, basically, was the worst slop I have ever tasted. I shan't dwell on it too long as it upsets me to do so, but I will tell you the facts. The OP catering manifesto seems to be "fill them up on starches, and overcook everything til nutrition is a distant memory." As a result, you would often find yourself being offered rice, chips and naan with lasagne, which was overcooked and glutinous. The only saving grace was the salad bar, which provided enough nutrition to prevent me from getting scurvy. A tip to any students coming to Manchester; do not apply for OP. You might well be shoved there (I was, despite applying solely for on-campus self-catering halls...) but fight the power, get yopurself into, wel, ANY other halls.
Now, we've covered the rooms and the food, but the real problem with OP, especially the tower, is the people. You know those jock boys and bitchy girls who made your life hell at school? You know, everyone hated them, they even hated each other... Well, they're all at OP. The boys are there playing football in the courtyard and trying to feel you up at the bar, and the girls are there wandering round in PJs and Uggs and giving you filthy looks for, well, nothing at all. Somehow the Uni seems to have condensed all the complete tossers, and housed them in the tower. Which kind of explains why, for the small amount of time I actually spent *at* the tower, I locked myself in my room and smoked, listening to Deathcab and cursing my lucky Whitworth Park dweling friends.
Oh, and yes, 18 floors is high. It's especially high when some douche decides to set off the fire alarm three times a night, every night, for a whole year. But, you know, you could avoid walking down the steps by simply staying in your room, though that was against the rules...but shhh. The worst, and totally unavoidable, thing about being on the top floor is that every drunk tit under the sun wanted to come up to our floor to "see what the view is like", cue me having to physically push total strangers out of my room and call security. Not fun.
The rooms are not in 'flats' but in corridors of 6 rooms, which are totally un-secured. That is, if someone is inside the building, there is only one lockable door between them and you, at any time. That's not exactly fantastic, and made me feel hugely unsafe. When we complained to security we were told that having locks on the corridors would be a health and safety issue. Oh, right, and the time that aggressive tramp forced his way into my friend's room wasn't a health and safety issue? Jeez, Louise.
I have nothing nice to say about OP, really. I spent miserable days here, and couldn't wait to get away.
I feel obliged to write a review as nobody has for so long and I think when it comes to choosing accommodation it's important to get previous opinions, and OP is definitely something I wasn't prepared for!
It isn't like your typical uni accommodation, it's an 18 storey tower block that doesn't have flats - as in you don't have flat clusters on each floor where there are 6 of you for instance. You can walk around every corridor on every floor, and so the only thing that separates your room and the public is the lock on your bedroom door, and the swipe key to get in the initial building.
The lift shafts are in the centre of the tower, and when you come out on to a floor there are four doors on either side, and they lead to 4 separate corridors. There is also a common room on every other floor, that all 48 of you share - which is absolutely brilliant in freshers as you will make friends with everybody so quickly as there are so many of you in this room, which is filled with absolutely nothing other than a couple of tables and chairs. However by a few months, common rooms are almost a forgotten thing as the honeymoon period of everyone being friends ends, and pre-drinking becomes something that happens in just one persons room as a handful of you will be going out - which the person who lives above or beside you will never appreciate.
The walls don't cover up any sounds, I woke up on the second day of freshers to the sound of people having sex in the room next door, and knew what to expect from then on...
If you live in OP tower though, you are 100% guaranteed to have the best freshers ever. I went out for 2 weeks straight, and couldn't believe how lucky I was to drop on. Unfortunately however, this slowly fizzled out and by the time I came back from reading week so the beginning of November, I realised my place in the group wasn't half as solid as I thought, and I'd pinpointed that this was due to the fact people weren't in enclosed flats - meaning people could come in and out of groups as they'd like. So by a couple of months in, a few people had left, and more people had become more regular faces hanging out with us even though they might've lived a few floors up or down. And then cliques began to appear, much to my reluctance and I would notice more and more that people would be chilling in other people's rooms and I hadn't been invited and so on, and so from then on I felt increasingly pressured to not be phased out.
This can never COMPLETELY happen as OP is catered and therefore you can have breakfast and dinner every day (breakfast in which I must have had 10 times the whole time I lived there, believe me you will NOT get up at half 7-9, I bought a mini fridge for my room and it was a brilliant decision), but yes dinner at half 5-half 7 meant you would have a routine of going down with the same people and not going to lie the group I went down with started out large to point it was basically one other person by the end but as long as you had someone, you could go and eat your dinner!
Which starts off great by the way and then just becomes increasingly dull tasting as the year goes on, and I don't think they have heard of anything else other than carbs! I did enjoy a fair few of the meals though and it was brilliant never having to worry about food shopping or washing up, apart from on weekends but being realistic I think most people always opted for takeaway... so the kitchen is hardly ever used. Which is a good job! It doesn't deserve to be called a kitchen! It has nothing in it other than a fridge, a sink, and portable tiny oven with two hobs on top. Oh and don't ever think if you leave food in that fridge it will be there the next day... honestly, a TOP tip is to accept defeat from all the prankers and thiefs and just get a mini fridge to save the hassle - as literally anyone can get into your fridge if someone leaves your kitchen door unlocked!
As for the toilets/bathroom, you share it between 12 of the same gender, there is two toilets, a couple of showers, and a bath. the toilets and bath all have cubicle doors on them with locks, but for some reason the showers simply have curtains... therefore meaning no girl ever used them, lads however don't seem to mind as much. Everyone therefore showered in the bath which isn't a pleasant bath but our shower was such a good shower, really powerful!
So if you get past the griminess of the bathroom you will be fine, it's one of those! And as for the bedrooms, decent size, really good storage space with a big wardrobe, lots of shelves and draws, a comfy bed, a good desk and chair and a sink in your room. I decorated my room to the point it looked so homely and by the end of the year I had grown to really love it, but the main perk is the view! floor 5 and above was guaranteed a good view and mine was facing the city and I still miss it now!
Overall, if you can see past the griminess and noise 24/7 you'll have a brilliant first year at OP, just embrace it!
OP is the largest halls of residence available to Manchester University students. It is located in the student living centre, Fallowfield, which is about 20 minutes by bus to the university. The plus of OP is that there are so many people living there that it is a great option for making friends, and has a lively atmosphere. The downside is that it can get VERY noisy and fire alarms are set off lots, so it can be a pain to get to sleep. It is catered, and food is school canteen style. OP has a really good bar, which is very cheap and has a good atmosphere. It hosts the famous bop on Friday nights, which is a fun night out. Rooms are basic but standard from university accommodation. There is a 24 hour computer cluster.
Owens Park, or OP as it is known to its residents, is the largest complex of residency for University of Manchester students holding nearly 1000 students. Its price range varies from that of the Tower, around £50 a week, to that of the catered courts of £100 plus.
The atmosphere is of course very studenty with the usual antics occurring around the place and can be very loud and busy at most times of the day. If not, then you can usually guarantee a Tower fire alarm will break the silence.
With it being on Oxford Road, with an excellent bus service running along it, it is easy to get from here in Fallowfield to University and further on into town within 15 to 20 minutes.
Owens Park has 3 bars on its campus:
Owens Park bar this is the largest of the bars taking up the entire ground floor of the Tower with its large bar and seating areas, perfect for starting a night and having their speciality Cheeky Vimto drink.
Squirrels bar this is a much smaller bar situated away from the main Owens park square hub of activity, it is preferred for those who want to watch the football and get a good atmosphere for any game, especially the Manchester teams' games. In the building holding this bar, there is a large pool room and separate large-screen TV room primarily for those matchday rivalries.
Richmond Park bar this is the smallest and least used bar on campus since it is at the far end of the campus in the much quieter Richmond Park halls. These upper end pricewise halls tend not to attract all the rest of the campus students so this bar is barely ever used by anybody.
The accommodation itself can vary in quality dependent on where is chosen with both catered and self-catered opportunities available. I myself stayed in Richmond Park for my first year at University of Manchester, which even though being on the Fallowfield Campus and adjacent to Owens Park, is not technically part of it. However, I spent most of my drinking times in Owens Park bar and in friend's flats in Owen's Park and they all enjoyed their first steps to independence in Owen's Park.
Don't go and live in Owens Park if you want ANY sleep at all - you won't get any over the whole year. DO go if you want crappy food, cheesy nights out, fire alarms going off every single night and a mental first year of university! OP is renowned for its Bop night out every friday, lots of drunken antics and a party atmosphere. Its an amazing place to be for the first few months. However it does get a bit tedious after a while, when the fire alarm goes off for the third time that night and you just WANT SOME SLEEP! An scruffy and untidy halls of residence, not for the faint hearted or those who like their home comforts - but a hell of a good laugh! They do catering, so you get your breakfast (which you won't be up in time for) and your evening meal (which is edible about 50% of the time) - so at least you won't starve even when you've spent all your student loan. Verdict; noisy, cheap and cheerful!
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