Not Like the Movies: Managing Expectations as a University Fresher

It's the moment you've been daydreaming about, anxiously awaiting, the one you've picked out some particularly cute outfits for- your first year of university! To quote the great academics, Sir Troy Bolton and Lady Gabriela Montez, it truly is "the start of something new", and a pretty exciting one at that.



Okay, maybe not everyone is as excited about this new adventure as the movies would lead you to believe. This is YOUR experience, not some cliché college movie where you're at a frat party, being held upside down by a jock named Todd as you chug beer straight from the keg (God, I've got to stop watching those). University is going to be a little bit messy. I'm not saying this to burst your bubble or shatter any of your dreams, but sometimes it's good to know what you're getting yourself into.

Let's clear up some things with these uni expectations: 

Expectation: Everyone is going to care

Reality: I say this in the best, most loving way: Nobody is going to care! People are far too busy trying to finish their tut homework to notice that you're not wearing matching socks (unless that's the look you're going for, then everyone else needs to get with the programme already, geez). My point is, and I know this is going to sound awfully cliché, but just be yourself, embrace your individualism. And if you're not exactly sure who you are, a university filled with all different sorts of societies and people is a pretty good place to start.

Expectation: A party goer’s paradise

Reality: Some say that your university years are some of the best of your life, and trust me, it certainly will be something. Will you be constantly partying and living that complete carefree life? Probably not, unless you're an actual robot or genius of some sort. The narrative that you can't party and be a hardworking student is so outdated. At the end of the day, it's really all about balance. Essentially, while most students don't have all the time in the world to party, if you can manage doing both then you're good to go. As with most things in life, it's really what you make of it. 

Expectation: You're going to meet the love of your life

Reality: Honestly, let's all laugh together. Let me not project the misfortune of my love life onto anyone else here (sigh), but for the most part, keep the RomCom expectations to a minimum.  University is typically the breeding ground for hookup culture, but that doesn't mean you won't come across a few people who have the potential for more. If you are in fact someone looking to explore the casual side of things, you sure are in for a treat. Without sounding like an 80+ year old, remember, your studies are what's really important here.  

Expectation: Going to lectures means you'll learn everything you need to know 

Reality:  Yes, if you attend your lectures and concentrate on what’s been taught, you'll pretty much cover what you need to learn. Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. You're going to have to put in the extra effort if you want to succeed. I don't mean studying, because that's something you'd best do regardless, but rather doing some revision at home or in your free time so you can keep your head above the water. A little work here and there really does make a big difference. A studying tip I swear by: Study to understand your work, not just to remember it.

Expectation: All you need to succeed is yourself 

Reality: While it's true that at the end of the day you are responsible for your success, it really is okay to ask for help every now and then. In fact, it's encouraged. Whatever the situation may be, you don't have to suffer in silence especially when it comes to your mental health. Make use of the student counselling services and talk to people; your well-being comes first.  If you're struggling with your work, ask someone for help, arrange a meeting with tutors or lecturers. You are not alone in this.

Some of these tips and bubble-bursting may be helpful and relevant to you and others may not. No two experiences and journeys are the same. Whatever your case may be, I wish you nothing but the sweetest of memories and smoothest of sailings ahead.