University myth busting – Are the rumours true?
Before you come to Uni, the build-up can be a time of excitement and anxiety as you move towards the big moving in day. I, like many others, spent those months after Year 13 exams looking up all the things I would need for Uni and how to make the most out of the experience from day one. However, when doing this research and from discussing university with friends and family, some myths are told about the realities of student life. Despite this, how much truth do these myths hold, if any?
Myth – Drinking is a central part of your experience.
For many people, this is a big worry. Whether you don’t drink for personal or health reasons, many who don’t drink think that means they will be left behind in the social sphere. Although it is true that there is a big drinking culture at Uni, this varies from Uni to Uni, Society to Society. I know of many, far more than I anticipated, who don’t drink and yet are still very socially active with friends. My flatmate, who was my drinking partner in first year, for personal reasons did not drink this year. I saw no difference in his experience, and he argues he had even more fun not drinking.
Verdict – Busted: Drinking can enhance your time at Uni but is by no means pivotal to your experience.
Myth – It is essential to own everything you need for the next 3 years when you arrive.
Everyone does this. A classic kitchen on first day consists of IKEA cutlery, new stationary and an extremely high amount of coat hangers. Whilst being prepared is always a good idea, the likelihood of you using those 14 different highlighters in May for your revision is very doubtful. By my exam season, I didn’t own any paper, a single pen which leaked, and I had forgotten how to write properly. Although I am an extreme example, owning everything on day 1 is not essential, as you often learn over first term what you really need (I cannot stress how essential a colander is) and what is just a luxury.
Verdict – Busted: You do not need to own every single item that may be useful, so don’t stress if you don’t, but owning it will make you very popular amongst your flat when you’re the only one with a peeler.
Myth – You will spend hundreds of pounds on course books, and if you don’t, you will fail.
This is one particularly for Humanities subjects. When you look at the reading list, especially ones marked ‘key reading’ you can be forgiven for panicking when on Amazon the text costs about £70 a book. However, most of these texts are available in the library and there are usually so many copies that you always have access. If not, it is easy to find someone to share the books with, which is what my friend and I did for the first year, buying half the books each.
Verdict – Busted: Having your own copy of things is obviously useful, but it is not worth breaking the bank.
Myth – Every student is poor, of no fault of their own, and it is inevitable.
Linking to the last one, due to the media and the view in society, many people think it is inevitable when you come to Uni being overdrawn and in debt will become second nature to you. For many, this is very true, as Uni does bring with it many financial outgoings you would not have had before. Course books, Sports club fees, Sports membership fees, Food shopping, General everyday items, Leisure activities and an increase in social life all impact your bank account negatively. However, despite this, I know many who have been able to budget effectively and maintain a healthy bank balance without letting it affect their own enjoyment of University.
Verdict – Partially True: It is not a foregone conclusion, but it is much harder to maintain a healthy financial situation without any effort whilst at Uni, but it is still possible.
Myth – Your Uni friends will be way better than your friends from home.
Coming to Uni is a fantastic opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and meet loads of brilliant new people. Whilst it is true that at Uni I have met some of the most amazing friends, who have made my time at Uni so much better than I could have ever imagined, I am still in regular contact with my friends from home. Rather than my Uni friends replacing my home friends, they have now become two separate groups. Despite this, I know I am in the minority, as most people feel much closer to their Uni friends than those at home.
Verdict – Partially True: Despite my experience being contrary too this, many people would argue this is the case.
Myth – If you don’t meet your friends in Freshers, you will be alone for the whole time you are at Uni.
This could not be further from the truth. Although this was the case for many, like myself, I know many people who made their friends weeks or months after they came to Uni. Because of the high concentration of similar people, you are always meeting new and exciting people who you get on with, and you are never confined to your flat and people in your lectures and seminars.
Verdict – Busted: A fantastic bonus, but not the universal truth.
Myth – Although you only need 40%, you should still try your best in First Year.
This is the case for the 2017/2018 year at Warwick University and is subject to change in subsequent years, so check the validity of any of the information on the weighting of degrees on your course websites for your year of study. Although it is true for most courses First Year does not count towards your classification, this is so that the transition from A-levels to Degree level work does not hold much pressure, so you can learn the skills necessary for Second and Third year. If you do not put the work in during the First Year, you will be ill-equipped and struggle far more in Second Year when the pressure ramps up. In addition, many science courses such as Physics (during the 2017/2018 year) have your First Year account for 10%, so it is even more crucial to get the work done.
Verdict – True: Although it is meant to be a more relaxed year, and you shouldn’t stress, you should still look to improve as an academic throughout the year.
Despite the rumours about university life, most of them are exaggerated realities from a few horrors stories. Don’t believe all the things you read on the internet or from family, and above all, don’t stress thinking about what will be an amazing time and experience for you.