Thursday, 22 December 2016

What's this thing you call work? | First year University Expectations vs. Reality

Apologies for the yet again overdue post, life caught up again! As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I have just started University, and wow is it a whirlwind?! As some of you may be thinking about going to university soon, or have already experienced higher education, here are some of the things I have been told and learnt aren't as true as expected.

'It's first year, your marks won't count so you don't have to do any work' - is probably the biggest lie I have ever heard. Yes, for my course, my first year marks mean nothing in terms of my final degree mark. Yes, most of my modules are recorded so I don't need to go to lectures. Yes,my A level choices have meant half this semester has essentially been revision. But, that doesn't mean I don't want to do well or get good enough grades for internships, nor does it mean that there isn't stuff to do. I have quickly learnt that what I get out of my Uni experience relies upon what I put in, and therefore for me...WORK EXISTS. And don't get me started on the stress that is group coursework...just no.

'The friends you make in freshers might be the friends you have for the rest of your life so choose wisely' - If you get one thing from this post please let it be this. This. is. not. true. Freshers is a great time, you meet loads of people from your halls, you meet the friends that your school mates have made but you'll probably spend the week with most of the people you sat with at dinner on the first day, but these aren't the only people you'll get to know. You have the people on your course and in your lectures, on the sports teams you join, in societies, the random people you meet in a club and bond with and more. What I've constantly been reminded of is the way you can bond with so many unlikely people and it might be those that you'll stay close to, so do not worry if you don't meet your BFFL in freshers. You will find them one day if you didn't during freshers.

'If you aren't out most nights/[insert any type of activity], you aren't doing first year right' - Like I said before, you will meet a lot of people, many of those from different stages of university, who have their own fully formed opinions about what your first year experience should be like, but it is exactly that, your first year experience. If you don't enjoy going out more than twice a week, then don't do it. If you don't want to try drugs or join a sports team or be single or be in a relationship or join a society, then don't! Uni is a time to truly be you (cringe), so just do that!

'Make the most out of the time you have to socialise while you can' - Now this is accurate. I can see from looking at my timetable and those in later stages that the pressure I feel is a little more unnecessary than theirs, and therefore the time I spend in my room on my own with no work or revision to do, maybe useful downtime, but it is also time I could use doing a million other things! For me, I bought myself a ticket to a social that was happening in the first few weeks where I originally knew no one else going, and now at the end of the term, the group I sat at the dinner with are who I speak to most days! Yes this point does counteract what I said in the latter, but sometimes taking  a leap and just trying something does work out!

What else have you been told? Was it similar?