At the minute I’m finding time to quick fire articles left, right and centre – which for a lot of my readers, I know they are greatly appreciating as there is no long gaps between when I post. Today, I revisit another of my old articles ‘Common Misconceptions: STUDENT WORRIES’ – find the original article here.
So, why am I writing this article? Well, like before, I spend a lot of time doing work over on The Student Room in the University Life forums – you can find my profile here, and from the work I do over there, over the past couple of years, I’ve realised a lot of potential students worry about starting university because of misconceptions that they hold about Freshers week and certain situations whilst at university.
The following are the ones I covered before;
- “I have to drink during Freshers”;
- “Freshers is all about drinking”;
- “What if I don’t make friends? / What if no one likes me?”;
- “How will I make friends when moving into halls? What if I don’t?”;
- “What if I run out of money? What if I fail at budgeting?”;
- “I’m a mature student, what if I don’t fit in?”.
Let’s recover some of these points;
- You don’t have to drink during Freshers, not at all. If you aren’t a drinker or just don’t want too, don’t let anybody peer pressure you or make you feel like you must – do not let them make you feel like you’ll ‘lose respect’ for not drinking. If the people you mingle with are decent, they’ll respect your decision. No one should judge you for standing your ground.
- The stereotype generally is that Freshers is all about drinking, but that’s not the case. The evening times, the SU events and clubs are all about ‘drinking’ and partying but that isn’t all what Freshers is. During the day through the week (or two) of Freshers there are day time events to attend, such as Freshers Fair, society socials and much more – there is plenty to do to be social and not have alcohol involved.
- You will make friends in some way or another! The course you will be studying will be with people who share at least one common interest with you – so you’ll meet people there, at the different events you’ll make friends as well and through societies. University is one big social gathering and there is always chance to make new friends. Just think about how you felt when starting school and you made friends – it’ll be the same with university.
- Moving in day in halls is a fantastically chaotic day! Also a great chance to make friends with the people in your flat. A tip that was shared to me and I’ve shared all the time ever since is to buy some sweets or cakes and leave them in the common room in your halls with a note saying hello and what room your in and to come and say hi! Also, buy a doorstop so on moving in day you can keep your door open and people will generally pop their heads in and say hi – don’t be afraid, everybody is in the same boat. There is only a small minority of people that generally don’t get along with their flatmates in halls.
- At the end of the day, you are a student and when it comes to finances, there are going to be some difficulties every now and again – that’s a given. Just make sure you budget well and keep on top of your spending. Don’t be too disheartened if you have money troubles – we all go through them. There are plenty of options to help you out.
- As for being a mature student, it doesn’t matter what age you are when you go to university – you’re studying a course with people that have wanted to go into Higher Education and follow the same passion as yourself, therefore, you’ll generally get along with these people and fit in! Age doesn’t really matter and that maybe me being bias as on my course, we’re all extremely social and age doesn’t matter – but I hope that it’s the same with most courses.
- “What if I find my course isn’t for me?”;
- “What if I struggle with the work load?”;
- “What if halls isn’t for me? What if I miss home?”;
- “What if university isn’t for me?”;
- “What if I struggle to support myself?”.
- At the end of the day, you are picking a course ‘blind’ – I suppose you could say. When at school and college you could, for the most part, talk to teachers and other students about picking a course and get a lot of information – so at the end of the day, when at university, you might discover that the course you’ve chosen isn’t for you and if that’s the case – it’s okay! Don’t worry – don’t force yourself to do something that makes you unhappy – there is plenty of other routes!
- There is plenty of support available at university and make sure you make the most of it – if you need help and you are struggling, you aren’t alone. Ask lecturers and other student support services for help. They will be there for you! Yes, it’s independent study but they aren’t leaving you alone completely! There is support available to you.
- Sometimes you discover that halls isn’t for you and you will miss home – in that case, I’d suggest make sure you make an informed decision. Stay as long as you possibly can and if it still isn’t for you – try and find an alternative, it’ll be okay!
- In extreme cases, university isn’t for some people. You’ll discover that it isn’t for you and you’ll figure that it’s time to leave and if this is the case, that is absolutely fine. There are other routes and options to take – things can be figured out and student support is there for that as well and NO! You are not a failure for dropping out if you do.
- When it comes to university, you may find it difficult to support yourself; be it financially, cooking and what not and if this is the case – start practicing now. Begin budgeting now and practice cooking – tone up those life skills that you are going to need!
Please, please, please ensure that you don’t let misconceptions drag you down and give you a negative outlook/build up to university as it’ll just ruin something that should be quite an exciting experience. There are a lot of misconceptions and I’ll be honest with you, this is from my personal experience and discovering that these misconceptions aren’t true but depending on the university, you might discover they are true and in that case, I’m extremely sorry.
For all you potential students, best of luck and enjoy the experience!