Don't get us wrong - university is great. However, with all the wild stories, shiny prospectuses, and exaggerated film depictions, students often raise their expectations to a level that can't realistically be met. With fresher's week fast-approaching, HuffPost UK deconstructs some of the common misconceptions students have about university.
Expectation: You will meet all your best friends in the first two weeks.
Reality: Unlikely. Whilst there are a lucky few who end up living in their final year with the friends they made in fresher’s week, it’s probably not going to happen to you. In a desperate attempt to make friends, people tend to cling onto each other at the start. However, you’ll soon work out that the chances of you and the random people you happened to bump into in the first few days being compatible are pretty slim. Most people meet their best friends through societies or courses, as those are the people that share your interests.
Expectation: You will party hard every night and love it.
Reality: Also pretty unlikely. Contrary to popular belief, the transition from sixth form university doesn’t equip you with superhuman hardcore going out stamina. Whilst going out at university is a lot of fun, it isn’t for everyone. You’ll probably find that your 7 nights out a week decrease pretty quickly as the year goes on. Despite what everyone says, you can have a fun night with you friends without even entering a club.
Expectation: You will be happy ALL THE TIME.
Reality: No. People talk of university as the happiest time of their lives. This is often true, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy all of it. At the beginning, university can be really hard. You’re away from home for the first time, don’t know anyone, and are forced to instantaneously transform into an independent, laundry-doing, food-making semi-adult. It will be amazing, but you mustn’t underestimate the challenges you will face along the way.
Expectation: You won’t have to actually do any work until your final year.
Reality: Hate to break it to you, but it’s just not true. Depending on your university you can probably get away with the bare minimum, particularly if your first year doesn’t count, but it isn’t as much of a doss as everyone makes out. There might be less work than you had in sixth form, but it’s much harder, and also involves a lot of independent research you never had to do before.
Expectation: You will meet your future wife/husband in first year.
Reality: Sorry, the Kate and Wills fairytale is quite a rare one. If you don’t find your spouse in your first year, don’t panic – there is still hope.
Expectation: Your future is basically mapped out from here.
Reality: If only it were that simple. Okay, maybe if you’re doing a vocational course like medicine you’ve got it sorted, but even then you’ve got to get a job. Having a degree isn’t enough to walk into a job unfortunately, you’ve got to get the experience, contacts and show there’s more to you than just a degree. The good news: it really doesn’t matter. Lots of people don’t end up deciding what they want to do until after they graduate, and even then, people end up switching career paths. It’s a good idea to check out the careers advice your university offers, and to get some valuable work experience.