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I have been at university for just over a month, and already I've realised that a lot of the stories that people tell you aren't always true. Since I had a year off, I had a whole 12 months extra to look at student sites and read articles about what student life is like, so I gathered quite a lot of information. Here are some of the things I heard that you shouldn't be disappointed about if they don't happen to you, because it really doesn't matter!
1) "Fresher's week will be the best week of your life."
I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to press the big Britain's Got Talent "No" button on that one. I suppose this is quite personal to me because I'm not much of a party-er (and fresher's week is full of those, duh), so I didn't go out that much. The one time I did go out, I really enjoyed it, but by Wednesday, I was just so tired I didn't really want to do it again. If you don't like going out that much, you'll probably know what I'm saying. But I mean, come on! You're 18 and not even close to being halfway through your life, it's unlikely that one week of clubbing and boozing is going to be the time you're reminiscing about when you're sitting in your back garden at 83 years old. To the people who do say it was the best week of their lives, I have to admit I envy you slightly, but to everyone else, please don't be disappointed; it's only one week and you've got plenty of time to make another one the best!
2) "Your flatmates will be your best friends."
I've been very lucky with my flatmates this year; we all get on really well and the kitchen stays (relatively) tidy. They're great, but they're not my best friends. Let's look at this logically: my university has just over 13,000 undergraduates, and I share a flat with seven of them. It doesn't take a genius mathematician to see that it is very unlikely that the people you are placed in a flat with will be very similar to and have the same interests as you. A lot of people do become very close friends with their flatmates and that's awesome, but please don't be disappointed if you don't, there are 12,992 people left to choose from! As long as you get along alright and don't fight over who stole someone's milk, you'll be just fine.
3) "First year doesn't count."
No, no, no, no, no! First year is important people! I know in most universities, your marks from first year don't count towards your final degree, but they still matter. Taking my course as an example, I have to achieve at least 55 percent on my exams to be able to continue to second year. Plus, the stuff I get taught this year will be built upon in upcoming years, so it'll be helpful to know it well now. Also, your first year grades give an indication to your tutors of how well you are coping with the course. If you skive off and do minimal work for the whole year and then barely scrape your exams, they'll wonder if you'll be able to handle second and third year. Save the mega-long working hours for final year, but still do some work!
4) "Clubbing is a huge part of being a student and you 'have' to do it all the time."
I'm sure that there will be some people who do go out partying and drinking every night, but it's not anywhere near close to the majority. Students think that when they get to uni, it'll be a constant party and alcohol and getting home at 5 AM most nights. Then, when they get there, they realise that they do actually have to do some work and they have a degree to get, and then the constant party turns into one night a week and getting home at 2 AM instead. If you don't like that kind of thing, please don't feel like you have to go clubbing, it's not a compulsory part of being a student!
That's my current list of university myths. I'm sure I'll gather more throughout the year so I may do a part 2 at some point. There are honestly so many!