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Debunking University Stereotypes: Fact or Fiction?

Disclaimer: Please note that the verdicts are based on the opinions of myself, my peers and the people around me. It is not representative of every single university student on campus.

It seems like just yesterday everyone was anxiously waiting for their university and college acceptance letters, falling victim to senioritis the second they received it. Clearly, someone cranked up the speed of life to 1.5 right after high school, because university is now almost finished and everyone is supposed to enter the workforce and pretend to be functioning adults that know what they’re doing (spoiler alert: we definitely do not – if someone has found the official book of rules for surviving this next stage in life, please send it over ASAP).

Let’s go back down memory lane and remember those anxiety-ridden moments right before move-in day. Nobody knew what to expect in this next chapter, except that university seemed pretty intimidating in the movies. But then again, High School Musical didn’t really prepare anyone for the reality of high school, did it? Well, have no fear because a lot of those university stereotypes will be debunked here!

1. You’re going to make a countless number of new friends – Fiction

If you expect to just waltz into your lecture room and suddenly become everybody’s best friend, then you’ll be in for a surprise. While there are more chances to meet people because university is very populated, you shouldn’t set up those high expectations. Like anywhere else, there will be people you get along with and people you don’t, and this doesn’t change just because you’re in university. But as long as you put yourself out there, you’ll find your people. It might not be everyone on campus, but it will be everyone you need.

2. You’re most likely going to meet the love of your life – Fiction

The great thing about university is that you’re exposed to so many new faces and people your own age. Technically speaking, that means there’s a lot of potential to meet new people who might end up becoming something more. But that’s really not a guarantee, and it’s incredibly common to graduate without a long-term partner. Remember that you’re still really young even in university, so don’t feel disheartened if you don’t click with someone yet. You still have adulthood (and the rest of your life for that matter).

3. It’s going to be like high school but with a better social life – Fiction

There are a lot more opportunities for social outings compared to high school, but you’ll also be drowning in additional lectures, essays, group projects and midterms. So, in that sense, it’s a lot busier than high school because those items are more intensive (Think of a 50% final exam compared to a 5% test in high school). The number of social outings you’ll be able to attend depends on how well you can balance your workload and manage your time.

4. Everyone expects you to drink and party – Fiction

I promise you that nobody will look down on you because you don’t want to do a keg stand. And it’s totally okay if you would rather spend Friday night watching Netflix instead of chugging tequila shots at the newest nightclub. There are people who love to party and people who don’t, but almost everyone is super respectful of each other’s choices and preferences!

5. You’ll be able to be extra productive in the mornings before classes – Fiction

Based on what I’ve seen, unless you’re on a varsity team or one of those people on TikTok that films a daily 5:00 AM morning routine, the chances of you voluntarily waking up early to study for fun before your classes are quite slim. After all, sleep is a hot yet rare commodity for university students. But if you’re a go-getter and can do it consistently, then props to you!

6. Most people will be more welcoming near the beginning of freshmen year – Fact

Most people are welcoming in general throughout university, but people seem to be exceptionally more outgoing than usual during the beginning of first year. Remember that everyone is in the same boat and usually down to make new friends while everything is still new. So, it’s a great opportunity to try to chat with others during orientation week or get involved with extracurriculars to meet likeminded people!

7. Professors in university are scarier than high school teachers – Fiction

This obviously depends on each professor, but for the most part, they aren’t intentionally out to get you (yeah, your high school teacher lied to you). You’re the one actually paying for your courses, so if you don’t show up, the only one suffering is yourself and your bank account. There aren’t any rules in university where professors are required to take attendance and call your parents if you show up late or absent. But, it is recommended that you try not to skip all your classes for your own sake.

8. Everyone knows what they’re doing in the future – Fiction

Nobody has a concrete and solid future plan, except maybe a few select individuals out there. That’s totally okay, and that’s the whole point of learning and taking courses! You have time to figure out what interests you or what you don’t want to do. Everyone is in the same boat, and it’s a really common struggle for undergraduate students (and for most adults as well). As long as you’re putting in the effort to try out things that could work for you, then you’re on the right path!

9. It’s harder to do well academically than in high school – Fact

The hardest part about doing well in university is just learning how to manage your time. You won’t have a lot of little commitments or random clubs like in high school, but you’ll usually have very intensive ones. Certain projects or exams might be worth a big portion of your mark, so you’ll have to dedicate more time to them. And if you choose to also have a social life and go to the gym, you’ll need to factor in time for that too. Grading itself will depend upon your university’s GPA system and your professors.

10. Freshmen fifteen is bound to happen – Fact/Fiction

You’ll have unlimited access to the dining hall or a ton of meal credits for the food court. When you combine that with intense stressful late-night study sessions, it can be hard to resist temptation sometimes, and that’s totally normal! If you end up experiencing the freshmen fifteen, please don’t feel ashamed because most university students go through it as it’s so common. But if you’re determined to not have this happen, that’s completely possible too! Just don’t let the fear get in the way of your daily activities and make sure you’re still fueling your body properly and in a healthy manner.

Change will always be scary and the transition from high school to university will always be a big moment in a student’s life. But sometimes knowing what to expect can help settle some of those fears. I hope this article can act as your unofficial guide to university and that you’re able to enjoy your time in this chapter of life. Although this differs for others, I can safely say that my time at university has been some of the best years of my life!

Melissa Wang

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Melissa is a fourth year business student at Laurier with a huge passion for writing and sharing stories. In her spare time, you can find her running a 5km, taking a personality test for the tenth time, binging a novel when she really should be studying or deeply analyzing everyone around her.
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