Advice & Hacks

Don't Panic! Debunking The University Myths That Aren't (Necessarily) True

Jasmine TomlinsonAugust 13th
2019

The chances are you've got a fair idea about what to expect when you head off to university.

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!

The Stress Stereotype

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Yep, this is one we're proud to debunk.

You might not think it, but social media is partly responsible for silently whispering this myth 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...

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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.

It's not made to catch you out - you're the one who'll be successfully gliding across the seas into adulthood, with plenty of rewards or 'fishes' to put you on employers' radar.

Also, 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!)

The Never-Ending Party

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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!

The Health Issue

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

Something we need to let you 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!

And 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 good little food plan which seems to stick is eating healthier options in the week and then treating yourself to something slightly more naughty at the weekends - this really helps with motivation and consistency.

Another way you could spice up everyone's meals is 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 acts as a fun way to bring your friends/flatmates together and give everyone something to look forward to.

The Money Problem

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Money, money, money. Must be funny. In a rich man's world.

Actually, the whole money situation and trending 'broke' hashtag shouldn't be leaving you cry-laughing in the build-up to uni.

If you manage your money okay, there's really no need to worry about all these loans and stuff, people make them sound a lot scarier than they are.

Basically, if you budget for the important stuff like course costs, rent, utilities bills (including internet), food and transport, it can actually be kind of fun to have a good time on a tight budget - and super rewarding too!

As Katie Paterson on Save the Student says: "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!"

The Friend Frenzy

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Making fast friends doesn't come like an order of fast food. University is known to have a bit more of a delay, and it may not always be the case that the freshers friends you make in the first week will be your best pals for life.

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 in the beginning.

With wildly different lecture timetables spread out across large campuses and halls of residence spread out even further - organising to meet up can require a bit of effort and life is certainly not like 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.

The Homesickness

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'I feel alone, but i'm not alone!'

No matter if you imagine yourself curled up in a ball watching Netflix wishing you could just walk out of the door into your home, or if you're someone that's been waiting to get out of the house and test their independence for a while now, everyone gets homesick at some point - you're not alone in that!

It could come at different times, at different intensities, flicker in and out when you least expect it, but everyone gets it.

And that's okay, that's expected. Try your best to not give in to the temptation to run back home too often as this could affect your experience and leave you missing out on the opportunity to build yourself as a stronger person - it sounds scary, but just stick through it and I promise you'll be fine.

It helps to know you're all in the same boat and can cuddle up together during the difficult times.

Now's the time to dig out that old High School Musical DVD and belt out "We're all in this together!"

The First Year Snooze

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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 why your ability to perform will be assessed to ensure your place above others.

The Random Saucepan

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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.

Most of your flat mates will have had the same idea and brought lots of the same exact clutter, 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.

The Future Predictors

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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.

If it's been some time and you're still not liking your course, not to worry, as the great thing about universities is that they offer loads of room for change and movement around courses. Some students have even changed an alternative subject area they showed interest in outside of their course into their main area of study - it's dead easy to do all of this.

Hey, most adults will probably tell you that the career they're doing now has nothing to do with what they studied at uni, and somehow... they just found and wriggled their way into what they do now.

So, there you have it, the myths 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!

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