Tuesday, 26 March 2019

So What's University Really Like?

*Before I begin this post, I'll just say that everyone's experience at university differs, so please don't see this as a one size fits all situation! It all depends on where you go, which halls you stay in, what subject you're studying etc.*

So my first term of university came around and then passed by very, very quickly. It was a blur of meeting new people, drinking too much, and trying to squash lectures in with the countless societies I signed up to in fresher's fair. And then before I knew it, it ended with an exam on translating medieval literature (definitely not my favourite module).

Before I went to university I exhausted every video, blog post and article that attempted to explain what it would be like to embark on this new chapter. I wondered if it would live up to the films, whether it would be the best time of my life, and what would happen if I didn't find the 'friends for life' everyone assured me I would meet.

All of these anxieties were justifiable. University is a completely new experience where you replace all you know with everything you don’t. New people, new places and in my case, a new subject.

So here are a few things I will tell you about university...

Drinking. It is definitely not the be all and end all. I have so much respect for people who come to university and don’t drink alcohol, whether this is for religious reasons or simply personal preference. I have found that my social life has included drinking often. However, I stated that I drink during my application for flats within halls. I can't speak for every university, but mine looked at our applications and tried to put us with like-minded people. You make friends with similar ideas and interests as your own, and you will definitely find others who don't drink, if that is your preference!

Clubbing. Not everyone likes clubbing, and universities do realise this. People in my halls that don't drink/don't like clubbing attend other events run by the university, like movie nights. There will always be plenty to do in university, so don't worry if clubs just aren't your thing!

Friends. I have met some amazing people at university who I already know will be my friends for life. Having the opportunity to meet so many people from all over the country (and even the world) is daunting, but try to see it as more of an exciting prospect, rather than anything else. Plus, I do find that you get closer to people a lot quicker in university, simply due to the fact that you're living with them (some may have already experienced this concept in boarding school). However, if you don't seem to click with people in your flat, don't panic! There are plenty of opportunities to meet people through your subject, university events, societies etc. There is so much opportunity to make friends, so please don't worry about this!

Relationships. You may meet someone at university, you may not. Just try and go with it and see what happens! I feel like there is definitely pressure on people to find their future husband/wife at university, especially if that was the case for their parents. Remember, this is your life and nobody else's! In terms of maintaining long-distance relationships from home, I have seen cases where it has worked, and cases where it hasn't. I think it really depends on the couple in question, but I believe that if you both really want it to work, and it is meant to last, then it will. 

Noise. This depends on who you live with, but first-year halls are usually noisy places! I get woken up most nights if I decide not to go out with my flat, but I'm pretty used to it by now. However, as I said before, you can voice your preferences to be with a quieter flat if the idea of a noisy group of people is daunting. 

Societies. You will sign up for too many societies in freshers fair, and you will definitely not be able to go to them all. But sign up to them anyway and then pick and choose later, even if a group of you only put your name down for Caledonian dancing because the boy at the stall was attractive...

Sex. You're most likely going to hear it I'm afraid, university walls are thin! 

Independence. At first, it’s weird. You can live on a diet of garlic bread for breakfast, lunch and tea if you really want to. Also, the ability to go for a shower at one o' clock in the morning is fab. You can do whatever you want, make the most of it! (But please don't kill yourself off in the process...)

Drugs. You will come across drugs often. I make the choice not to take drugs myself, and have never been peer pressured into doing so! I know some people can feel quite affronted if people take drugs in their presence, but sometimes it's best to remind yourself that you don't have to take part if you don't wish to, and that's the main thing. 

Work. Your first year doesn’t count, and you'll start the term continuously reminding yourself that, after the ridiculous workload of A-levels. However, give it a few weeks and you'll have a much more relaxed mindset towards studying, once you learn to balance work with everything else. Don't worry too much! I only have to get 40% in my first year as it does not contribute to the rest of my degree, and I'm sure this is the same with most other universities. 

I hope this helped those of you who are beginning to get a bit anxious about starting university. If you have any questions, pop them below and I'll try to answer them as best I can!


  1. This was really cool to read! Good luck with the rest of university!

    1. Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading!

  2. Thanks for the cheeky feature Loz...one of my fave photos. More importantly, this is my favourite blog post ever. Such a good summary of everything I remember being worried about before uni, and that I still worry about even now!

    1. No problem, love! It's definitely one of mine, too. Aw, thank you!! I tried to summarise as best as possible <3

  3. One thing that excites me most (and terrifies the hell out of me) is the thought of meeting so many cool people in university halls. Most of the fears you've outlined are at the forefront of my mind, so this post was definitely a refreshing read - thank you!

    1. I know it's easy for me to say now, but please don't be terrified! I felt the exact same as you, I was so worried I wouldn't find people 'on my wavelength' and just wouldn't click with my flat, and I consider myself pretty extroverted. All students feel it, but honestly there's nothing to be worried about. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is in the same boat. Everyone finds someone they're friends with, because there's so many people in university!

      What I will say, if you are stressing, the option of online group chats with other students may be open to you. These were created towards the summer and I got chatting to people on my course, and some in my halls. It's quite comforting to meet someone and go 'oh wait, we had a chat in summer!'

      Best of luck xx

  4. I know I'm super late to this post, but I'm gonna go ahead and comment anyway, and hope you respond. :)

    I'm currently dually enrolled at my community college while in high school, and I will be graduating a year early because I'm a homeschooler, so I will be officially starting college at 16 next year. I AM nervous, but because I won't be moving anywhere and will be living at home (for the first two years at least) since I'm still a minor, I don't have as many questions and anxiety. Transitioning slowly into college and going to a couple classes each semester has also been very helpful for me, since being homeschooled, I'm not used to a classroom environment, especially such a large one.

    However, this post was super interesting to read, and I felt like I gained a lot of insight on how other students may feel when starting something big, like college. Also, because I live in the U.S., the education system is obviously different, and I've been trying to learn more about how education systems function in other countries, especially English speaking ones (basically trying to figure which one is better, haha!).

    Loved the post (also, you are a beautiful writer!).

    Aliah | Indigo Ink

    1. Of course I'm responding, lovely! I am so touched by any comments I receive on my blog, regardless of when they're posted!

      I love hearing about other people's experiences with education, and homeschooling interests me hugely, because it's so different to the education I have had! I'm glad this post provided you with an insight into both the feelings of others approaching the milestone, and the university system in another country.

      Best of luck with everything, and thank you so much! X