There are some simple truths about university life that every student knows and wishes they had known before they stepped foot in the university.
Of course it is absurd to think that you may know with 100% certainty what it feels like to be a university student before you actually become one.
There are way too many variables for that; such as: which university you’ve been accepted to, what subjects will you study and last, but not least, your own personality.
All these factors make up your own personal university experience. And yet there are several characteristics that the majority of students encounter at some point during their years at university.
So, let’s unveil some common truths connected to university life so that they don’t catch you unawares one day. Preparation is indeed the key here.
1. Contrary to popular belief a university is not a party central.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to those who were hoping to finally let their hair down at university, but I’m afraid your hair will remain tied up in a tight bun for a few more years.
Now, there is nothing wrong with an occasional drink or two, but those who go overboard usually don’t make it too far in the university.
First and foremost, it is a place of learning, and considering that most of them charge you thousands of dollars a year you might want to do just that.
Attend your lectures religiously, do your coursework, attend the library and postpone the social events until Saturdays and post-exam breaks.
2. Speak to those who’ve been in your shoes.
Ask around about specific lecturers or classes. Having a good university professor to tutor you means you’ll manage your coursework better and get higher grades. So don’t be shy to do your research beforehand.
3. Roll up your sleeves and forget about “winging it”.
If you are one of those students who never did much work at school, but still somehow managed to pass their exams, you might be under the false impression that the university life will be no different.
The truth is that nothing comes easy at university.
Some universities look at your first-year results to decide whether you will be allowed to continue with the degree programme, and study material will only get harder as the years go by. Get serious from day one otherwise the work will pile up quick.
4. Choose your modules wisely.
Try choosing the subjects that you are actually interested in.
Otherwise you’ll find that it is extremely hard for you to stay motivated and study during the term, which will in turn have a negative effect on your grades.
5. Trying to finish everything on the reading list is a pipe dream.
One glance at the long reading list of recommended books is certainly enough to send chills down any student’s spine.
But don’t worry!
You are not expected to read every single one of those books from cover to cover. What’s more, few professors would genuinely expect you to do so.
Big part of being a university student is developing your research skills. So, in case of some books, don’t be ashamed to skip over the parts that are irrelevant to your essay.
There are, of course, some books that are absolutely essential and should not be skimmed, but remember, you are given more than enough time to make your way through the list (that is if you take it seriously and work diligently).
6. You might need to get a part-time job.
They say “money makes the world go round”. And the world is certainly not going to stop spinning while you are at university.
So, even though most students are famously tight-fisted, you’ll still need to find a way to earn some part-time money to support your far from lavish lifestyle (unless you are one of the few lucky ones who can just call up their parents).
7. Buy second hand books.
There is no need to splash out on new textbooks. Second hand ones will do just fine. You might be able to find former students on social media or second hand bookstores who want to sell theirs and thus get a pretty good deal.
8. You are not the only one who’s nervous.
When you enter an unfamiliar environment everything seems intimidating. You don’t know anyone yet, and the idea of approaching someone and making new friends may seem daunting.
But you are not the only one, every student has experienced this sensation at the beginning of their university life.
If you give other students the benefit of the doubt and make the first move to break the ice you will find out that they are not as unapproachable as you initially thought.
9. Joining some university societies is a good way to take up new hobbies and make new friends.
Most universities nowadays offer their students much more than their degree. There are many special interest groups and clubs you can join if you want to wind down after a long period of having your head bent over the course books.
Not only will you take up a new interesting hobby, but you will also make some new friends. It is easier to approach a new person when you know for sure that you share a common interest.
10. Use your student ID.
Life in the city can be expensive. Fear not!
Student ID to the rescue!
It provides huge discounts on food, entertainment, travel etc. Every penny counts when you are a student, so wield your ID every chance you get.
There are some common experiences that unite many university students from all over the world. But, no matter how well prepared you think you are for university life you will still come across something unexpected.
And that’s the beauty of this life. It keeps you on your toes and forces you to keep your wits about you. So use your common sense, keep calm and carry on going, all the way to the finish line.