University Myths Uncovered
Last weekend I got back from a lovely fortnight spent with my family in France where we ate a lot of food, drank a lot of wine, visited a lot of chateaux, and tried to deal with the unexpected 40 degree heatwave! This week, I’ve been launched straight back into the real world as I’ve started a new full time summer job for five weeks (more about that in a future post), but whilst I’m relaxing this weekend I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about some of the myths and legends that surround first year at university…
1. People actually do pull all-nighters on a regular basis.
Whether it’s because they haven’t even started that essay yet, or because they’re out all night dancing in Kasbah, or sometimes just simply because they were sat in the kitchen with their flatmates and never got round to going to bed, all-nighters happen a lot amongst first years. I think those who do it are mad – but then they think I’m mad for never doing it!
2. Plenty of people turn up to uni not being able to cook at all – and stay that way.
I thought I was a bad cook, but when I got to uni and found out that one of my flatmates didn’t know how to boil a kettle, I knew I was okay. Some people really do live off of ready meals and takeaways for an entire year, no kidding. Be prepared for a kitchen permanently filled with the lingering smell of 3am Dominoes pizza and piles of boxes everywhere. And be on the lookout for people attempting to use the microwave to cook baked beans in the tin in case you need to leap in front of them to narrowly stop an explosion – that happens too.
3. University kitchens are NASTY.
At the start of the year, the kitchens at Warwick are beautiful. All of the stainless steel surfaces are shiny enough to show you your reflection, and they seem so airy and spacious. Which they are until suddenly they’re full of teenagers who can’t clean up after themselves and lo and behold the sink is blocked for the fifth time that week and there’s some dubious looking leftovers on the side which no one quite knows how long they’ve been there. I was actually really lucky with this as I lived with 13 fairly sensible girls, so our kitchen was always the cleanest in the block, but honestly some of the others are just plain nasty – not that the people living in it seem to have a problem with it! They get cleaned twice a week, but if it’s that bad your cleaner will just refuse to go near it and leave you to deal with it yourselves. Good luck.
4. Some people never, ever go to their lectures.
You know those people who never seem to do any work and yet still manage to get better grades than everyone else? Yeah, they exist here too. Obviously Warwick has high entry requirements so everyone there must have worked hard at some point, but don’t be surprised when you realise that some people you’ll meet just never seem to do any work whatsoever. They don’t get up in the morning, they miss all their lectures, when they do realise that they might have to do some work it’s ALWAYS the night before. I don’t know how they do it, but somehow they do. I’m not sure they’re human. A lot of lectures are recorded though, so maybe they are secretly catching up on them all and it’s just a facade… We’ll never know.
5. You will never have enough time.
After the restrictions of school, university is paradise in terms of how much freedom you have – but everyone makes the mistake of thinking they have a lot more than they actually do. By all means sign up for all those societies and sports teams, but bear in mind that time has this funny way of slipping away with you at university. Of course, how much freedom you have will heavily depend on which subject you’re doing – as an English student with only 8 contact hours a week, I supposedly had a lot, but I don’t know where it went. What with all of the independent work, the whole looking-after-myself and living independently thing, plus all of these other commitments which you eagerly sign up for, the time just disappears incredibly quickly. Not only do you never seem to have enough hours in the day, the term itself goes by in a flash and suddenly you’ve finished first year and you’re back at home wondering where all that time went…
Obviously, this is a very light-hearted view of university life, but if I had to give any overall advice it would be to do everything you possibly can if you want to, and be prepared to meet a whole range of people. You will make mistakes, you will cook disastrous meals, you will forget upcoming deadlines, but that’s all part of the fun. Enjoy it whilst you can because it’s over before you know it.