September 15, 2016, by Emma

University: Expectations vs Reality

Freshers week is nearly upon us and a whole bunch of new students are going to be joining us! Welcome to the herd! Coming to university is probably one of the most exciting, scary, difficult and fun experiences ever. And of course with any big event, there are all sorts of expectations! And if you happen to be one of our new students, first things first, get rid of those expectations.  University is a totally different experience for everyone and there’s no way of knowing how your university journey is gonna pan out! Having said that, here’s some common expectations about university and how my personal university experience differed (or aligned) with those expectations!

Expectation: Party! Party! Party!

Reality: Not so much. Perhaps it’s because I’m pretty introverted (see my previous post on how to survive university as an introvert) but university was definitely not party central for me. I did go to a few events in freshers week, and have gone to a couple of society socials but for the majority of my university experience, my spare time has been spent doing pretty much the same stuff I was doing before; spending days in bed watching netflix, going to cool places with my pals (see this post for cool things to do in Nottingham) and procrastinating from coursework!

Expectation: Either crying every night about missing my family, or being totally independent and completely forgetting them.

Reality: Some kind of weird middle ground. I wasn’t crying down the phone to my mum every night of freshers week, but I did have a mini cry in Sainsburys once because I saw a cheese that my mum always used to buy me. (Yes, I know how weird that sounds but I’m sure people have cried over weirder things. I’m sure there were also  probably some other menstrual related hormones at work there as well.)

Expectation: Not hearing from my friends at home ever again, and my high school relationship ending in tears and turmoil.

Reality: We’re all still best buds and whilst every single ‘going-to-uni guide’ said that I should have broken up with my high school boyfriend, I’m now going into my third year and we’ll soon be celebrating our 5 year anniversary! Of course we’re pretty lucky since he’s only down the road in Sheffield  but I’m so glad now I didn’t listen to all of that advice. I’ve also been lucky in that I’ve managed to keep in contact with most of my friends from home as well! Of course this won’t be the same for everyone, some people might be super keen to ditch the people they barely got on with in high school and are totally ready to jump into making new friends at university! However if you are keen on maintaining your old friendships and relationships, my main piece of advice is just to make the effort. My home friends and I have a group Skype every month or so, and we try and all visit a different person or two every academic year. Obviously it’s pretty tricky for all of us to go and visit my friend in Edinburgh, but it’s a great way to visit loads of different cities around the UK!

In conclusion, everybody’s university experience is different. Plenty of people I know are partying every night, have ditched their high school relationships and are totally happy in their university experience, just as I am with mine. All I can say is, go in with an open mind and you never know what you might get out of it.

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