Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Dispelling the myths about university life

When you receive your A-level exam results and begin to look towards your exciting next chapter, many tell you that “university is the best time of your life.” Your expectations are high, and your excitement is through the roof. You can’t wait to kick start university with a bang in the (in)famous freshers’ week. You’re ready to be independent and to rid yourself of nagging parents. You’re eager to live with a new group of people who are bound to be your friends for life.

Much of this is true, and university can be an incredible experience, but there are many myths surrounding student life, a few of which I will bust now.

The first week of university, freshers’ week, is a subject of much hype, but it actually feels a bit like speed dating. “What’s your name?”, “What course are you doing?”, “Which accommodation are you staying at?” – these three questions will become the bane of your week. I’m sure you’ll have expectations of outrageous nights out, picturing yourself drinking and partying until dawn breaks. For many, this will be somewhat true. Freshers’ week can be a wild time, and the local clubs will tirelessly battle to host the best event. For those who are not the biggest party animals, the thought of this can be daunting. Do not worry, there are other people like you. Believe it or not, not every student likes to drink until they forget their own name!

Please don’t panic if in freshers’ week, first term, or even first year, you don’t stumble across the people who you think will be your friends forever

Side note, freshers’ flu is (sadly) not a myth. Whether you’re a party animal or not, you will fall victim to the dreadful curse… No one is safe.

Another comment that people often make before you even reach university is: “you will make friends for life”. Thankfully, this one is not a myth. By the time you reach graduation, you will have shared a chapter of your life with these people. You will have been there for each other in moments of happiness and in moments of nightmarish stress. It’s because of this that many students do come out of university with life-long friends. But please don’t panic if in freshers’ week, first term, or even first year, you don’t stumble across the people who you think will be your friends forever. First year at university is about finding your feet. There is plenty of time to make more friends.

If you’re at Warwick, it’s pretty safe to say that you were probably a high achiever at school. You made it into university, and you feel pretty smart. Be warned, university can crush your confidence a bit in this respect. You’ll no longer be spoon-fed information and asked to regurgitate it onto the exam paper. Undergraduate degrees focus more on your own thoughts and your own research. It is absolutely fine to take your time in getting accustomed to this. I’m going to be honest – it is very unlikely you will get the grades you thought you would in your first few essays or exams. Bear in mind that achieving 80% and above is pretty much unheard of at university. Don’t be disheartened. You are smart. You just need time to adjust to becoming an independent learner.

There may come a time when you do miss home, most likely when your fridge is empty, the kitchen is a mess, and you desperately miss home cooked food and some cleanliness

Something that people never tell you about university is that it can get pretty lonely. Most of the time this will not be a problem, especially if you join a few societies and push yourself to interact with others. However, more people than care to admit feel homesick at some point. There may come a time when you do miss home, most likely when your fridge is empty, the kitchen is a mess, and you desperately miss home cooked food and some cleanliness!

There a few myths about university, and I hope I’ve made that clear. But, for the most part, the reassuring statement, “university is the best time of your life” is not a lie. University is great. You become independent. You make life-long friends. And you have a lot of fun. Enjoy it – it won’t be long before you have to enter the terrifying world of work.

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