Looking through glossy university brochures as an eighteen year old sixth form student makes university appear fun and exciting. However, there are a few facts you need to know that the brochures don’t tell you.
1) It’s ok to be clueless
When arriving at university, many new students expect to make an instant connection with flatmates and go on to have an amazing time in an exciting new city. In reality, as fun as it can be, many discover that nobody actually knows what they are doing.
While your flatmates are perfectly nice, you have only known them for approximately four hours. Whilst you may be ousting your darkest secrets in a boozy ‘Never Have I Ever,’ friendships aren’t made in an instant. It is normal for a night out with them to feel surreal; and as exciting as the new city you are in may be, you will undoubtedly feel like a foreigner.
“As exciting as the new city you are in may be, you will undoubtedly feel like a foreigner”
2) North Vs South
If you’re from the South and going to a university up North be prepared to be compared to the following people: the Queen, a variation of characters from Downton Abbey, the Queen, anyone from Made in Chelsea, the Queen…. And people will assume you have a butler. Similarly from the North you are all descendent from coal miners and have added spectaular and unnecessary words to the English language.The divide is very much real. Embrace it.
3)Naps and takeaways are key to survival
As you get further into Freshers’ week, the ability to stay awake during the day will come as a struggle and you will find yourself scheduling regular naps into your day. However, the desperation to make friends can overtake the urge to sleep as you will find yourself participating in activities that you simply do not want to do. You will feel obliged to go to someone’s halls for a coffee, in case said friend goes off the radar and you end up alone and miserable for the rest of the year. Consequently, cooking dinner is out of the question as you have used up a year’s supply of energy in the space of a week. Being a Fresher IS exhausting, and people wonder why we sleep all the time. With our focus on friends, food takes a backseat and takeaways become a regular occurrence throughout the year, making the ‘Freshers’ Fifteen’ all too real.
4)All nighters are a thing
You may have worked hard during your A levels, and vowed to continue this work ethic as you’re at a prestigious university doing important work. This won’t last long as the nights out are too tempting and, inevitably, you will start writing important essays the night before…frequently. Drunken seminar reading anyone?
Every year you will give yourself a budget and every year you will fail to stick to it. Receiving a student loan is the equivalent of Harry Potter entering Gringotts Wizarding Bank and opening his vault filled to the ceiling with gold. Topped with an overdraft you will feel like Alan Sugar before spending it all on trebles in a week and living off pot noodle and pasta until the next student loan instalment. Incidentally, anything free – no matter how useless or impractical – must be taken.
“Cooking dinner is out of the question as you have used up a year’s supply of energy in the space of a week”
Reality will hit you like a cold smack in the face. With mum gone, you will have to face doing the washing and cleaning yourself - and that includes being able to use the appliances and buying the equipment to do so. Precious money will be spent on mundane items such as washing up liquid, laundry tablets and toilet roll. You even have to pay to use the halls’ washing machine!
As a result, you will hoard an absurdly large pile of dirty clothes before shoving it all into one washing machine.
Although university seems like a series of mistakes and life lessons, you will meet some amazing people and it will be the best years of your life. Honest.