University: the low-down

We’ve seen ‘The Secret Life of Students’. We’ve heard the horror stories. We’ve watched on the news as alcohol-fuelled twenty-somethings stumble out of a club while the newsreader claims “students to blame for anti-social behaviour in city centres”. But what is university really like?

The degree


Okay, so I’ve put this first because, hey, that’s why we’re at university, right? You’re going to go through various stages of love and hate with your degree as you go through your university life. There will be days when you will go to a really interesting lecture and feel as though you could study this forever. There will also be days when you want to burn all of your textbooks and read Beano forever. It’s meant to be like that. If it was easy, why would we bother? So take the good days with the bad and enjoy it!

The social life

Your social life at university can include everything from nights out to joining a new society, but the reality is that you can’t have it all. If you want to succeed in your degree, despite signing up to taekwondo, fencing, salsa and magic societies in your first week, by the time you reach the end of first year you’re going to have to streamline what you do. You’ll probably be able to manage a couple of societies, and a couple of nights out a week, but unless you’re seriously hard-core, you won’t be out partying and socialising every single night!

The accommodation

So, you’ve scrutinised the webpage, checked out the grainy photographs of obscurely-named accommodation blocks and you’ve been allocated a room. If I’m brutally honest, unless you’re paying extortionate amounts of money you’re not going to be living in a palace. At some point during the year, you’re going to have food stolen, if you’re sharing a bathroom, you’re probably going to come across something you don’t want to find in there, but… You’re also going to meet some great friends. So don’t be too down if your accommodation is disappointing; it’s only for a year after all!

The debt

The truth is, even with student finance, it’s unlikely you’re going to live like royalty at university. At some point you’ll be so deep into your overdraft that you can’t imagine ever getting out of it. That said, with careful budgeting and a little bit of sensible spending, living on a student budget can be done!

The conclusion

University will be the best time of your life, but not all the time. You will have bad days, and you will have days when you want to go home and not come back, and that’s totally okay. Ride the rough with the smooth, and think of all the memories you’ll have when you graduate!

What do you think university is really going to be like? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Francisco Osorio / Flickr

I’m a serial multi-tasker who loves having no spare time. Also an English Literature student.

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