Between what you're shown of student life on TV, in American movies and the endless streams of photos you witnessed from friends and family that went before you - you probably had some pretty big expectations when you packed up your life at home and headed for university. Unfortunately, those TV shows were hardly documentaries and Facebook albums are actually carefully selected to present only the best times, who would have thought it?
Basically, not everything is you expect of university turns out to be entirely accurate. To combat your slightly inflated expectations, we've gathered some of the most common assumptions you had about Uni and their harsh realities...
1. EXPECTATION: You will study at least as hard as (if not harder than) you did in your A-Levels.
REALITY: Except without the end goal of getting into uni looming over your head and the constant pressure from teachers and family suddenly your life is less focused on your studies and more focused on getting through the entire latest series of Suits in 2 days…
2. EXPECTATION: You will be an active member of all the societies.
REALITY: You will sign up to all the societies, hey maybe you’ll even go along to an induction session. However, as your social life grows from halls and lectures, this will probably be the first and last time you bother attending. Coincidentally, being overly sign-up-happy will go on to be one of the biggest mistakes of your university life – something you will realise when you’re dodging emails from the Live Action Role Play society and trying to remember what freebie was possibly worth receiving 20 emails a day from the Slacklining group.
3. EXPECTATION: You will love all of your flatmates and become instant best friends.
REALITY: You've been placed into a flat with other people based solely on the common trait that they got into the same university as you. Let’s be real guys, what’s the chance that your completely random mixing of people is going to result in the reincarnation of FRIENDS? While it’s definitely likely you’ll make some of your best friends and memories in your halls, it’s also a given that every accommodation block will have a resident tool. Sorry to tell you this, but if you can’t pinpoint them – it’s probably you.
4. EXPECTATION: Your course will be interesting and engaging.
REALITY: Unless you’ve managed to stumble upon your life’s calling at 18, it’s unlikely you love every aspect of your course. Some of it is interesting, sure, and some of it makes you want to gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon rather than spend one more second staring at the rules for forming prepositions in Swahili. You win some, you lose some.
5. EXPECTATION: You will be taught in grand lecture theatres.
REALITY: Those beautiful, majestic buildings you saw in the prospectus? Yeah, they’re strictly used for admin and you will likely never step inside of one. Also, the massive lecture theatres like out of the films are reserved for modules with a considerable class size. But hey, the grubby 1960s classroom you’ve been shoved in with the distinct lack of heating is pretty much the same, right?
6. EXPECTATION: You will be the one to make your student loan last the whole term.
REALITY: There’s a reason everyone struggles to look after their loan. You will, most likely, realise this as you down yet another overpriced drink in the new outfit that you just HAD to have. Yes, you said you’d look after your loan, but at least three quarters of the point of uni is the experience. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself as you cry into your fourth consecutive meal of rice and ketchup.
7. EXPECTATION: Freshers’ Week will be the best week of your life.
REALITY: You’re thrown into a new flat and sent out into a city you’ve probably not actually been to since the open day to get drunk with strangers, all the while being told it’s going to be the best week of your life. Let’s all be honest with ourselves for a second; Freshers’ Week is awkward, terrifying and bloody knackering! In fact, the people you see actually having the best week of their lives in Freshers’ Week are the second and third years. The ones who are used to their city with their well-established friends, safe in the knowledge that they’re with people who know just how to handle the inevitable breakdown they will have when they start mix tequila and vodka. Sure, Freshers’ is still fun for the freshers, but just wait until next year.
8. EXPECTATION: Lecturers will be wise and inspiring.
REALITY: Lecturers are old and boring. It takes a long time to get that much knowledge and, to be honest, teaching you is really just an unfortunate distraction on their quest to gather even more knowledge. Sure, some are nice and can be really helpful, but it’s hardly like having Martin Luther King delivering a speech right in front of you, is it?
9. EXPECTATION: Even though you struggle to boil an egg now, you will become a culinary genius after three years cooking for yourself.
REALITY: What you’re doing is probably best described less as ‘cooking’ and more as ‘surviving’. The flaw in your visions of being the next Gordon Ramsey lie in the fact that, as a student, you can’t actually afford to buy good quality produce and you definitely don’t have the time to be creating a gastronomic masterpiece. On the bright side, you’re really good at timing pasta now, so there’s that.
10. EXPECTATION: You will figure out your purpose in life and be in the perfect position to achieve it.
REALITY: So figuring out your life’s calling is actually harder than you anticipated. Not that your parents, extended family or supervisor seem to take that into account as they persistently pester you to divulge your (currently thoroughly incomplete) life plans. Plus, even if you do figure out what you want to do you realise you actually need experience to get the right experience and suddenly you’re stuck in a sticky catch-22 just hoping some miracle will occur before you have to leave Uni.
11. EXPECTATION: You will become a mature, responsible adult
REALITY: You reach the end all too fast feeling like an overgrown teenager with a hell of a lot of debt who still finds toilet humour funny. Okay, so you may have succeeded in keeping yourself alive for the past three years but, quite frankly, the fact that you're expected to actually be an adult now absolutely terrifies you.
And despite it all, if somebody gave you the option to rewind it all and live your university years again you’d do it in a heartbeat!