Debunking Myths About University That Aren't (Necessarily) True | TOTUM
Jasmine TomlinsonAugust 15th

If you're heading to uni this year, you've probably heard your fair share of myths about university without even realising it.

Between the media, films, TV shows, Reddit threads and word of mouth tales handed down from older friends and siblings, you probably think you've got things pretty well sussed out - but how much of it can you really believe?

Well, actually a lot of it is theory, and we're here to debunk those haunting tales that continue to seep out and make new students fearful of what's to come...

Who you gonna call, myth busters!

University Myth 1: The Stress Stereotype


Yep, this is a university myth we're proud to debunk.

You might not think it, but social media is partly responsible for silently whispering this one into your ears and inflating the situation behind your back. Even the student memes are conspiring against you.

University is not the pile of books, stress, and panic some people on the internet make it out to be.

In reality, you'll be given so much more time to complete tasks than you're used to. In fact, the main source of your stress will be how to manage all that time and maintaining your motivation to chip away at the work before that deadline, which just seems so far away...


Many say it's like waves, sometimes you'll get a bigger task to do like an essay or project, and you'll be given more time to tackle it, then at other times you'll have bits and pieces of work here and there, acting like mini waves gently carrying you through your course.

University isn't designed to catch you out - it's supposed to help you successfully glide across the seas into adulthood. Your tutors want you to do well, too - after all, they're also being evaluated on how well their students do.

What's more, the initial reading list your course may give you at the start of your studies isn't trying to catch you out either - you'll find a way to ride the wave, whether that means learning to skim read or using book summaries to help give you some basic understanding - you don't have to read every last word all at once. (Of course, we still advise you to thoroughly read as much as you can to keep on top of things!)

University Myth 2: The Never-Ending Party


Of course it's important to keep that balance between workload and relaxation time at university, but that's not how it's always portrayed is it?

We know how it looks in films and on TV, but the reality is that uni isn't exactly the crazy, all-singing, all-shouting, never-ending night out it's often made out to be.

Aside from going to lectures and seminars, studying, exercising, eating, drinking and breathing, 80% of the time people will be too busy snoring in their dorms, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning or just chilling in front of the TV to be going out every night.

That being said, the other 20% of the time... well, we'll leave that up to you!

University Myth 3: Unhealthy Student Life


Here we go again, time to buy another pot noodle and a tin of beans for the 1,768th time.

Something you should know is that being healthy at uni isn't just possible, it's actually pretty easy - which may come as quite the surprise to some people!

Despite there being a (questionable) student stereotype of malnutrition and laziness, there are loads of ways to shape up your lifestyle and maintain good health at university. Simple things include buying more fruits and vegetables to balance out your meals, using the campus gym or simply walking to and from lectures.

In fact, walking is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to get yourself fit and feeling reinvigorated - it’s free, requires zero special equipment, and can be done anywhere, anytime. Walking for just 30 minutes a day can boost your immune system, lower your risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and even boost your memory - perfect when you've got exams coming up...


A sustainable way to stick to eating a more balanced diet is to eat 'healthier' options in the week and then treat yourself to something at the weekends - this really helps with motivation and consistency.

Another way to stay inspired could be to arrange a buffet in which each person is in charge of buying and bringing a different food item to the table - not only does this save you money, but it acts as a fun way to bring your friends/flatmates together and gives everyone something to look forward to.

University Myth 4: The Money Problem


As you're probably well aware, times are tough right now and the current cost of living crisis is no joke, with an NUS survey recently revealing that one in 10 students are relying on food banks.

That being said, it's crucial to highlight that there is plenty of help out there for students and that you shouldn't allow the myths surrounding student loans in particular to dissuade you from going to university if it's something you want to do!

Martin Lewis, the money-saving guru himself, has spoken about this on several occasions, recently writing on his website, "Ignore newspaper headlines about students leaving university with £50,000 of debt. That's mostly a meaningless figure. What counts is how much you'll repay."

Katie Paterson on Save the Student echoes this, writing: "All students will receive a Maintenance Loan to cover their living costs, and you'll receive more if you're from a lower income household.

"Although this means you'll end up in more debt, around 80% of students will never repay their full loan before it's wiped after 30 years anyway!"

As it currently stands, graduates repay 9% of everything they earn over £27,295. As Lewis explains: "What you repay solely depends on what you earn after university. In effect, this is (financially at least) a 'no win, no fee' education. Those who earn a lot after graduating or leaving university will repay a lot. Those who don't gain too much financially from going to university will repay little or nothing."

University Myth 5: The Friend Frenzy


Making friends isn't always the easiest thing, and it's not something that's spoken about too often.

Instead, one of the most common myths about university is that you'll instantly become besties with your flatmates, but it's fine if that isn't the case!

We're not saying that you won't make good friends at uni because you will, it's just that some of the really strong bonds need a little more time and effort to make them stick.

With wildly different lecture timetables spread out across large campuses and halls of residence spread out even further, organising to meet up can prove difficult. Uni life certainly isn't the same as being forced into a classroom on your first day of high school and somehow surviving through a bunch of weird ice-breaker activities.

Break the ice and stick your foot in for yourself, keep up the contact and you'll make some long-lasting friendships, no matter how shy or awkward you think you are.

If you feel like you haven't quite found your crowd, WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE AND GREATNESS OF JOINING SOCIETIES - I know so many people that regretted not joining clubs and societies in their first year because it's the perfect opportunity to quickly find the people you connect with.

Take a look at our guide on how to make friends at university for more help with this!

University Myth 6: The First Year Snooze


No parents, no rules, just freedom.

It's tempting to treat the first year as a blast, with a whole lot of time and energy (not to mention cash) spent on booze, binge watching sessions and pizza parties.

But, as essential as it is to have fun, the first year is probably more important than the rumours may have you believe...

Although the marks you get don't count towards your final degree classification, you do need to pass to get into second year - unless you want to repeat a year, which, let's face it you don't.

Certain grades and positive results may also be needed if you want to apply for a year abroad or year in industry with some unis actually requiring you to get a 2:1 in your first year.

Due to the competition that comes with applying for these opportunities, it's understandable that your ability to perform will be assessed to ensure your place above others.

University Myth 7: Kitting Out The Kitchen


You could probably build a fort with all the pots, pans and spoons you've bought to arm yourself with before university.

But in reality... no, you're not going to need it all, and you're certainly not going to use it all.

So despite the myths stating you'll *need* enough utensils, pots and pans to feed a family of six, this isn't the case.

Most of your flat mates will have had the same idea and brought lots of the same things, which will either prove useful as you can swap and share necessary equipment, or it could lead to some stuffy cupboard space wars depending on how much everyone has brought.

As they say, sharing is caring, and packing your suitcase like you're going on a one-man trek across the world is not needed.

You're not gone forever, so there's some things you can grab at a later date, maybe when you come back home for Christmas or something - the thick winter coats can wait!

And if the myth of needing to bring an iron with you is rather prevalent right now, trust me, you do not need it. You'll find yourself hardly ever needing - let alone wanting - to iron your clothes, and a cool little hack of exposing your clothes to steam by hanging them up in the shower while you wash can help magic out some wrinkles - it works wonders.

University Myth 8: The Future Predictors


Just in case you're heading through those university doors expecting to swing out as a polished, mature adult who has their whole life figured out, maybe we should take a few steps back.

Don't panic - yes, it's easier said than done. Having your entire career worked out and foreseeing your purpose in life is not expected of you before going to uni, or during uni, or after uni.

We can't all see into the future and control time, we're not all Doctor Who.

It's totally normal to be worried about the course you've chosen and question what on earth you think you're doing with your life, but trust your instincts and just enjoy the new stuff you can learn while you're there.

So, there you have it - the myths about university are debunked! It's important to remember that a big part of your university experience is down to what you make of it, and it's perfectly natural to feel both anxiety and trepidation as you embark on your journey. Don't forget to mix a healthy dose of excitement in there as well, though!

Above everything we've mentioned, treat university as an opportunity to learn, grow, have fun, meet new people and explore things you didn't know you could explore - that's what it's all really about!

TOTUM More For Less Banner

Join TOTUM Digital for FREE to access hundreds of student discounts on big-name brands like ASOS, Apple, Myprotein, boohoo, Samsung, and more!

Sign up for FREE, download our amazing app, and enjoy the latest offers, vouchers, coupons and more at your fingertips. Find out more here or download the app for Apple or Android to get started today.

Stories like this