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How to be The Grey Man And Survive at University [UK]

A few things I learnt at University [UK version]. I put it in this forum as it’s educational, but has undertones of Bad Ideas. Do with it as you wish.

After a few years I learnt a number of things at University which allows you to get away with almost anything you want. My Uncle always said “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” and in the case of an educational institute, it’s never been more true.

This guide is more of a list or compendium of things I learnt, and a lot of it depends on personality. You can’t be the sort to just be a keyboard “know it all”. You have to have some social skills at least.
This guide is for a UK based University, but I’m sure you can adapt it to your own place, assuming you, like I, had room inspections and were always suspect of people.


  • Do the legwork.
  • The first week – Freshers week/fortnight.
  • “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.
  • You are on &ToTSE, so you are intending to do something dodgy…
  • Prolonging an exam revision period or boosting your grades.
  • Laundry
  • Towards the end of your first year.

Do the legwork!
Research your University. Go onto their website and look for the Housing section and find any information you can. Specifically look for

  • Room layout
  • Terms of agreement
  • Penalties

It’s not too difficult as most of this stuff is in the public domain. Chances are you won’t find the room layout (ie: Blueprints) but doing the research helps to no end.
Have you applied for an en-suite room? What are the rules and regulations for smoking in accommodation? Are there any regulations like Internet, drugs and behaviour? What are the penalties for being caught breaking the regulations? (Chances are the full extent of punishment won’t be taken out on you. For example at my University the first time offence for Cannabis was a written warning – so this kid who was caught with 28 bagged-up 3.5g bags was given counselling. I mean, the fuck?) but always assume the worst. Never become complacent.
Depending on your lifestyle, you will pay attention to more things than others. I went for the “Intellectual Stoner” sort as I considered myself one, and when I moved into University I was growing 14 adult Cannabis plants, then ended up cultivating Psilocybin Mushrooms in my University rooms. I was more into the drugs side of things as I hated alcohol.
Well, did. Students don’t stick by their words.

So take your lifestyle into consideration. Ask a few friends what they think of you, or what impression they get. Ask if they can describe you in a few words and look for the parts of the Housing Regulations that may apply to you…and those that may not. Because they all will in one way or another.

You need to become the “Grey Man” when you move in. This is defined as

“Dress and act like some poor schmoe who has nothing worth taking. Be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s always better to have an opponent underestimate you, thus giving you the edge.”

Source: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread328031/pg1

You never know who you’ll move in with. it could be a Religious nutter, a Vegan, a Political Activist, someone who is related to a Police Officer or an over-enthusiastic Stoner or Individual who dabbles in crime. Regardless of who the person is, and whether or not they have the same agenda as you, view them all with a degree of suspicion, but remember they can be utilised. It doesn’t matter if you live next door to someone who smokes weed for example, as they can bring unwanted attention, which in turn can get you fucked.
A good, but reluctant way, of finding out who you are living with is to

  • 1) Go onto Facebook
  • 2)Look for the University you’re going to and any “Housing groups” that may be related to the University. For example this is from the group “Nottingham Trent Freshers 2010/2011” (because the 2011 term has yet to start for examples sake). As we all know, people like to brag on Facebook. It helps.
    Spoiler :
    Nottingham Trent Freshers 2010

Nottingham Trent Freshers Week 2010

As you can see, search for the group, your academic year and explore. On this I clicked on “Discussions” and found a goldmine.

  • 3) Once you know whereabouts/what block you’re in, look for the wall of the group of halls where you’re forecast to live.
  • 4) Find posts of people who will live near you and/or with you.
  • 5) If you find anyone who is living with or near you, do some research. Just a quick browse of music and TV or film tastes. Types of profile photos and all that crap. You can easily tell what the person is like depending on how much alcohol they have in their profile photos, shitty tastes in media and numbers of friends.


Keep this all in your head. Do not write anything down. Keep no records and especially don’t tell anyone. As far as you’re concerned, you are just living a normal life, but one of my Housemates started crying as they heard I did Psilocybin Mushrooms. You never know who you’ll meet. Never underestimate, and always overestimate.

The first week.
The first week or two is known as “Freshers week/fortnight” where your presence and personality as well as image will be the front page of you. People with extreme hairstyles, tastes in clothes or piercings (I knew girls with mohawks, that wore PVC thigh high boots and a faceful of metal) which really made them stick out. As you may have seen in my other guide, you need to blend in.
Don’t sacrifice making friends as during this time you can meet someone that has the same interests, take advantage of cheap Student deals (coupons, food and local venues). Just be laid back and don’t look like you’re trying too hard. Get chatting and go to a few parties. Right now you don’t need to worry about the long-term things as 80% of people will be too trashed to know what happened 48 hours before.
However don’t flout the regulations you read in part 1. I was offered a good smoke session with mates I met in this first few weeks, but I learnt to go for a walk and smoke. Not stand in plain sight. Security are on their toes at this point in time for people just like the aforementioned.

There are misdemeanours in the regulations such as Posters on walls and smoking in rooms. I will get onto the latter later, but as I assume you’ve read the regulations, I can assure you that posters aren’t cared for.

If like me, in your room you have a calendar provided by the University on a pinboard, look at it and make a note of the dates. Why? Because hopefully it should tell you when room inspections are. If not then the next section will deal with that. By law they need to tell you when they are, and yes they will come in even if you aren’t in your room. I once left a lecture early because I had things left out, lying around, that could have got me fucked. Don’t make that mistake.

The things you need to look out for during the Freshers period:-

  • Fire drills. Learn the routine, learn if the people go into each room to see if anyone’s left, and the sensitivity of the alarms. Always assume that anything will set off the detector you probably have in your room – even deodrant. If it sets it off and Security come rushing in to find you have a half Oz on your desk with some King Rizlas, then bye bye University.
  • Room inspections. For the same reasons as above. If you know the dates you have plenty of time to get your shit hidden and posters taken down.
  • Put something to obscure the view from your window. A transluscent piece of material that is pinned to your curtains. Don’t want people looking into your room, do we? You can let the light in but not prying eyes.
  • Notable students. Liabilities, over-confident, under-confident, personal views and whatnot. Let them get drunk and spout their life story out. Never trust a soul, but don’t be too reserved. Be the “Grey Man”.
  • Be friendly to security. Just don’t come across as a total Homo or brown noser.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
As the first fortnight passes, you’ll know about Security on your accommodation Campus. These are your keys to the secret side of University.

They may come round to deliver post, or you’ll see them walking around. If they come over, offer them a cup of tea or drink and slowly break the ice. Take it from a guy that has worked with them – they hate Students, and are controlled by people above them. They don’t make the decisions, but most punishments for regulation breaches are quite subjective. I knew a guy that was sent to the Police Station for smoking a spliff, but an American and Medical Student were given a stern talking to and told to do it off-Campus. So pay attention you god-given Student, as this can affect your future fuck forbid you get a Criminal record.

So break the ice. In doing so, ask questions about their shift – “So, long day/night? Anything fun happen today/tonight?” etc. I got to meet my first Security Guard when they delivered the post and I was getting my hair cut in the kitchen. I asked him what the weirdest thing he saw was, got his name and kept chatting which led to another Security guy, and another. Before long they are your own group of mates who allow you to see the other side of University.

I had a job whereby I spent a lot of time with them. We would often use BitTorrent to get films, and I’d take my external HDD along to exchange films and music. In doing so I got the IP address for their CCTV network as we would often sit there looking at people in the University Nightclub, or talk about haunted parts of Campus. Slowly make an effort, and don’t raise your head above the parapit too quick. Don’t appear too keen, but appear friendly. They like a smiling-troublemaker-who-doesn’t-make-trouble sort. It means more work for them, and damn do they hate work. Before you know it, you’ll earn trust and will be on their level. If you get a University-related job, it gives you more to talk about, and more in common.

My top tips and recap for dealing with Authority figures on your Campus:

  • 1) Don’t be too cocky, but gauge the attitude by their reactions. If they don’t seem interested, leave it. There are more than one or two Security Guards, so you’ll find a good one in rotation that will grant you “access” to their circle. If you have a University-related job, then it’s so much easier.
  • 2) Have something in common. of course you need to follow tip #1.
  • 3) Don’t talk about drugs or illicit activities. In short – don’t appear like you’re hiding anything. Because you aren’t, are you? Are you?
  • 4) After getting to know them, get to know about their actual job. Shift times, the strangest thing they’ve had to deal with, notable students, patrol routes and times etc. Don’t admit to knowing any notable students, as like I said before, they can tell you are guilty of being say, associated with a stoner or dodgy student. Also, don’t ask directly. I used to walk around with them patrolling so learnt a lot.
  • 5) They hate work. Don’t give them any more hassle.
  • 6) Night shifts are the best time to get to talk. They have nothing to do most of the time.

You are on &ToTSE, so you are intending to do something dodgy…
This section will cover the following, assuming your Housing/Hall Regulations forbid them:-

  • Smoking drugs on campus/in your en-suite bathroom
  • Hiding narcotics or other forbidden items in your room/halls
  • Preparing for room inspections
  • Downloading on BitTorrent (brief guide)

Smoking drugs on campus/in your en-suite bathroom is an integral part of University life. I assume you are smoking Cannabis as it’s the most illicit smoked drug. The best bet is to do a recon of the local area to see if you can smoke off campus as it can save you a shitload of headache with Security. If like me, however, they catch you and just give you an earful. Help them and they help you. However if you don’t have that sort of friendship, then read on.

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with a balcony, then you’re practically gifted. The higher the better (pun not intended). Make a note of the wind direction and see if it’s going towards the patrol route of Security or where people congregate. If your balcony is high up, you can sit down and barely anyone will see you, not least when up against a wall.

If you have no balcony but an en-suite bathroom, then remember the sensitivity of the detector in your room. I assume you have an extractor fan in your en-suite for the following. Go into your en-suite with ideally a bong (for a quick hit), good air freshener (I reccommend one called “Orange Chronic” as it’s designed for smoking in enclosed spaces) and a towel for the base of the door. Put the towel down to block the base of the door to stop any smoke escaping. Is there a good seal round the door? If so then hit the bong and exhale into the extractor fan. Spray the air freshener and wait a minute for it to all settle.
Take the towel and hang it up.
Empty the bong.
Slip out of the door, leave the fan on and close quickly behind you. Let the fan suck the smell out. Also make a note of where it extracts to – ideally outside, and assume someone can smell it. Also, running a hot shower can give off enough steam to mask the smoke and smoke of the smell (just always keep the en-suite door closed as the smoke can set off the smoke detector in your room. That en-suite door is your defence against being caught so always keep it shut). A mate of mine exhaled into his fan and realised it went into his hallway and set the alarm off – he was fucked. Another friend would smoke double king sized spliffs and get away with it for a while until she was caught out by a fire drill. That is the biggest worry, because if Security smell it when they run round the halls, your room is searched, and you are fucked.
Like I said, always be friendly to them just in case. They probably do more drugs than you. How do you think they stay up on the night shift?!

If you have no balcony or en-suite, then smoke off campus. Find a secluded-ish spot and blaze away. It’s the safest option. Just watch for Cops as they won’t be as nice as your friends the University Security guys.

Hiding narcotics or other forbidden items in your room/halls is obviously a part of life at Uni if you intend to do the above, or keep something on you as well as elude room inspections. I will list these as it’s easier, and some of which I have learnt from talking to Security. Room inspections are nothing more than just to make sure you don’t have posters up (if they aren’t allowed), are keeping your bog and sink clean and room tidy to the point where it’s still inhabitable. Learn the dates of the inspections (as they usually span over a week) and just keep your room clean, don’t smoke in your room and just hide stuff. They won’t go rooting through it until the last room inspection of the year when they check to make sure your drawers and all that stuff works. Play it cool. You’ve nothing to hide, right? Like I said, room inspections usually span over a week so you don’t know when they will visit – so for that entire week and a day before, don’t smoke in your room. The last thing you need is a hysterical cleaner calling Security because of an iffy smell. If you can’t bear to survive a week without weed, then go outside and ask a mate to see if they can smell anything suspect in your room. Make sure they are trusted because anyone with even a small knowledge of weed will know you soon adapt to the smell.

  • Look at your drawers, especially the bottom one. Does it come out and is there a cavity between the bottom of the bottom drawer and the floor/carpet? If so, then don’t hide it here. It’s the first place Security will look. Instead, tape a small item such as a bag of narcotics to the bottom of a drawer. It’s not the best, but it works for a quick check around.
  • If you are allowed posters (and to be fair, Security don’t care about them. Only the Cleaners do. I have had Security knock on my window at 5am for a chat as my lights were on and they sat on my bed, with Bob Marley and Trainspotting posters with no blink of en eyelid about their presence). Anyway, posters also have a back side for small items of contraband. Selotape a baggie of weed or whatever to the reverse side of a poster and put it up slightly loosely. Nobody can tell.
  • You can also hide small to mediumsized contraband in paired up socks. Remember how your Mum used to take your socks and put the tops together like so?
    Spoiler :
    Grey Socks
    Step 1: Get your socks. Obviously.

Grey Socks Folding
Step 2: Grab the tops of them.

Grey Socks Envelope
Step 3: Pull one top “apart” and envelope the other top

Grey Socks Twizzle
Step 4: Push it up and voila!

Grey Socks Folded
Step 5: Hide shit here and put at the mid-bottom of your sock drawer. Bottom and backs are looked at first. It’s best if your contraband isn’t rigid in case anyone has a quick feel.

Grey Socks Hiding Place

The “compartment”.


  • Keep an old backpack and hide small to large contraband in it. Chuck under your bed and fill the top with old clothes.
  • A Security Guard once told me that a communal kitchen is an endless place to hide stuff. Sure, the Cleaners go there (try to befriend them, too), but I assume you eat cereal. If so, eat half and take the bag out. Fold the top of the bag up and over and hide the small to medium sized contraband at the bottom of the box. Place the cereal bag on top and looks like normal.
  • A friends birthday coming up? Or maybe not? Either way, grab a box depending on if you want to hide medium or large sized contraband. Place it in the box and wrap up then put a label on it. Maybe fill it with scrunched-up newspaper to stop it rattling about if inspected. Keep the label changing if people keep looking. Change it around a bit and just say it’s for a mate “back home”.
  • Buy some hollow stash batteries. Google them. Just buy a set of 2 as most appliances use 2 batteries, y’know? People have been caught out with having one of each size they sell but what appliance uses 1 battery? Combine them in a bag or box of legit batteries and don’t get the fake “Durabell” ones (yes, the typo is intentional and that will draw attention straight away upon a glance). Go for an obscure brand. You’re a student, right? Can’t afford top brand stuff. Combining them with legit ones will throw them off the scent of your smallsized contraband. This also goes for stash lighters you can buy.
    Spoiler :


Bic Lighter

The batteries and lighter in question.

  • I made a hollow book that worked well. Students are supposed to read, so put it on your shelf (make sure it’s hardback. I wrote a guide online that was used here and mentioned here) and either put it on the shelf, or in a box under your bed.
  • If you have a fridge (best one is in your own room as a housemate of mine almost ate a cannabis laced sandwich I kept in the communal fridge for an afternoon), try following one of my first ever guides online. Make a stash can…or buy one depending on your skills. Keep it in your fridge and you can hide small to medium sized contraband. Make it blend in, but don’t forget the liquid is not for consumption. Food containers like I said, are quite good.
  • As above, you can hide cannabis easily by making cannabutter. Not even Airport Security know of this (as long as you aren’t swabbed down) and so what University Security will go through a tub of full fat butter looking for drugs? None.
  • Other things involve a double bagged stash taped to a fishing line down a shower plughole or some hidden in a cockstop in a toilet. Heck, when I thought I was going to be busted as I fell out with a girl I trusted and told way too much, I even took a screwdriver to my bathroom and hid my stash of mushrooms and weed in the ceiling cavity. These aren’t reccommended as they can cost you for “damages” no matter how trivial, and if the fishing line becomes unstuck, bye bye stash!
  • Plain sight is by far the best option. You don’t have to go to extreme lengths to hide stuff and over-complicate your illicit actions. Hide it and keep it somewhere easily accessible but somewhere you know won’t raise suspicion.


Downloading on BitTorrent is also useful. This is only brief, but if you do the following, it usually works.

  • Open up Command Prompt
  • Type “ipconfig /all” without the speechmarks and press enter
  • Look for your “Default gateway” as this is the server/router your PC is connected to
  • Note this IP address down. It usually ends in 1.
  • Fire up Nmap and scan the IP address for open ports.
  • Set any open ports as your BitTorrent port. I was getting crazy speeds thanks to this while other students were scraping by at 50kbps.
Spoiler :
Default Gateway

Bittorrent Speed Graph

As you can see…

Prolonging an exam revision period or boosting your grades.
Lecturers are paid depending on the grades their students get. Of course there is a basic wage, but bonuses apply.
In order to get your exams prolonged for more revision time or some sympathetic extra grades, try the following.
After learning about your Lecturers you can begin to see what makes them tick. If you plan on emotional or stress-related excuses then this will take a long time to do. I’m talking a few months.
Don’t assume you’ll get this to be successful as you can become complacent, think you have an extra few months and then BAM, you haven’t done any work to prepare. While revising, chat to the University Doctor. Begin talking about stress and anxiety. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, this also helps. You can also link it in with your external medical team if you have a serious condition.
Make ties with the Doctors and other professionals such as Hospital staff if you see them on a semi-regular basis. After this, chat to the University Counsellor and talk of stress. They can’t say you’re faking it as long as you give it a few months.
After this, get a few referral letters and speak to your Lecturer in their office. One to one. Who gives a fuck if you’re an emotional wreck because you may genuinely have stress or other issues. Chances are, if you say you aren’t prepared to do the exam and show you have issues in the lecture, your exam will be delayed until the re-take season, usually just before the start of your next academic year. You can either do that, or get the sympathy for your work and get that few extra percent, which can make all the difference.
Do not abuse this, however as people with genuine stress-related and other emotional/physical disabilities will be tarred with the same brush as you fakers out there. Believe me. I really shot myself in the foot by doing this on more than one occasion. That said, one of those occassions saw me get an extra 3 months for an assignment and exam.

Laundry is a necessary evil and part of growing up, so grab the detergent powder, some dirty clothes and a sink, or big plastic crate. Here we go!

Spoiler :
How to sink-wash clothes.

You will need:

  • An armful of dirty clothes. Think of the place you are putting them into.
  • Detergent. I used Daz. You will only need a half or even quarter-cupful.
  • A sink, bucket or plastic crate. I used the crate in my en-suite shower that I washed clothes like squashing grapes.
  • Hangers to dry the clothes out, but NOT in your room, as it will set the smoke detector off due to potential steam or dampness.
  • Step 1: Get topless and put some undies on. If you keep detergent on your clothes for an extended period, you will discolour them.
  • Step 2: Go into your en-suite or communal bathroom. The process will take about 10 minutes so do it at night (if you have communal facilities) or whenever if you have en-suite.
  • Step 3: Fill the sink or bucket/plastic crate 3/4 of the way up with warm water.
  • Step 4: Add the detergent. Dissolve powder, but put liquid detergent onto the clothes when they are submerged.
  • Step 5: Add the clothes. Not all at once if you can’t as it’s best to give more attention to smaller amounts. If the water is hot then bear the colours in mind and wash the clothes in piles of the same colour. Give them a good scrub round and move-about as though you were kneading bread.
  • Step 6: Drain out the shitty water.
  • Step 7: Cover the clothes in cold water and let them sit for 20-30 minutes.
  • Step 8: After they have soaked, swish them round to get the detergent off, or I used to hold the clothing in the shower and spray them down with cold water on a hanger.
  • Step 9: Repeat step 8 again. Really get the detergent out.
  • Step 10: Hang the clothes up to dry.

Towards the end of your first year.
Don’t expect to make any lasting friends. Being the “Grey man” means you are that person people will remember but not to the extent of being regular friends. Sure you may meet one or two good, trusted mates, but don’t expect any thanks for your time or favours. University is almost a communal-based experience whereby favours are worth more than cash. Help people out but don’t put your credibility or life chances on the line (ie: Drugs or other dodgy activities). View people as commodities. Women can also ruin you, as can drugs (as you may say things you wouldn’t normally). Here are some final thoughts.

  • Try to remain single, not least with girls from University. If you have a partner outside University then all the better as they can be your lifeline in a sticky situation. This also goes for out-of-Uni mates. Never rely on anyone within the institution. Always have that lifeline.
  • Talking of being single, don’t fall for women too easily. If you need to get your rocks off then go for someone far removed enough so they can’t recall you enough to raise questions or interest in you. In other words, check out the jailbait threads here and you’ll be sorted.
  • If you do have a partner or mates who wish to stay round your room, and your hall regulations say that they cannot, or cannot during weekdays then observe the following:
    Be respectful of your housemates and don’t take the piss. Sure, the first few weekends are fine if the rules say so, but assuming you make friends with Security, then one weeknight every so often won’t hurt. The best way to do it is to not let them come by car as parking may be an issue, and to move sleeping bags or whatever in during the day. The guise of “they’re dropping my stuff from home off” works wonders. If they share your bed then there’s no worry about moving in stuff and being seen.
    Once again, being friends with Security helps. In short – their superiors don’t want people not in University abusiing the facilities (water, heating etc as they think it’s like a Hostel to them), which means the Security are the front-line defence. However if you are mates with Security and don’t run your mouth, chances are they won’t care if you have a mate over for a night or 2 each week. I used to have an &T member sleep round mine almost every week when we went out raving and I made his bed from kitchen chairs.
  • Take a mental note of the CCTV locations round campus. If you befriend Security well enough, you will also get to see their range and capabilities which help. A lot.
  • Learn to keep a secret…or a few.
  • Explore the local area. Get to meet people who don’t go to your University and go for walks. Nothing worse than being cooped up in a dorm or campus that soon becomes your life. The world is bigger than your University. Keep your mind healthy, and go on walks to keep your body healthy.
  • Befriend everyone. Let them speak. Give them enough rope to hang themselves with but be respectful.
  • Facebook is useful for social events, but so is hearsay. Don’t feel pressured to register to the network, and if you do, be security and privacy conscious. Just because you don’t say something does not mean you should put it out for the world to see as gossip spreads fast. Students have a lot of free time which = gossip.
  • Look for shared areas on the Uni network in the first few days. I found nudes of some fugly bitch with a clingfilm fetish. Jus’ sayin’. I then used her printer to print them off and although she doesn’t know it was me, I can’t look at her now. *shudder* Also if you have to buy RJ45 cables for your dorm, buy a few in bulk before as they make good ice-breakers if you give one to each of your housemates. Worked wonders for me.
  • Be frugal. Don’t blow money easily. Maybe even get a job. One within the University helps to get your understanding of the internal workings up to a good level. Vital departments are: Finance, Security, Hall/Residence Management and Lecturers.
  • Keep up with work deadlines etc. Don’t attract undue attention to yourself. If you need help, ask. If you are having issues, seek help. Just don’t admit anything that will put you on a radar.
  • Always have a “worst case scenario” plan, for example flush drugs or burying a stash, giving it to a mate, and never EVER keep scales, spare baggies and drugs in your room. Implying you deal is the worst thing you can get done for as the University will assume you have sold to all the other idiots they have caught so far that academic year.
  • Use the TOR network when you can. Anything dodgy online (sensitive info and anything criminal based) should be done on a public WiFi spot with TOR. Just don’t link your University IP and account to &ToTSE or anything else shady.
  • It’s your room. Learn the best places to hide stuff. It’s your Campus, learn the best people to befriend. Never assume, always think ahead and trust your instincts. University is, to me, a halfway house between teenage years and adulthood – and that means you will meet some fucked up people. Keep your head straight and your morals crooked.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please say. I created this guide as a response to a few questions and it’s a compendium of everything I’ve learnt at University so far and from others. It isn’t 100% foolproof as Security etc tend to learn from mistakes made by previous years of students. If you thought of something, chances are someone else has – but it’s how you carry it off.
Be respectable, respectful and blend in. Just because you are enlightened does not mean you should be cocky.

V 1.2


  • 4/8/11 – added regulation punishment revisions, TOR info, more stash spots and revised typos.
  • 11/8/11 – added sink washing guide.


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