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Articles > Student Life September, 20, 2017

The Brutal Reality of Starting University

Jenny Stavert
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8.80 / 10

Starting university is a bit like being born again: you’re crying because it’s all too overwhelming and you’ve no idea what’s happening. Despite reading student forums and guides, I still stumbled backwards into student life, and there are a few things I wish I had known before starting univeristy.

student starting university collapsed in uni room

This is exactly what starting university is like… no sugar coating

1. Leaving parents is hard

No one likes to admit it, especially to said parents, who only yesterday, you were so excited to escape from, but saying goodbye is awful. Imagine the scene: an ‘adult’ who’s been catered for from birth, abandoned in a small, sterile room with all their possessions boxed up around them while they morosely wave goodbye to mum and dad. Tears are desperately held back until after they’ve left…

You want to go home; you wonder if it’s too late to beg them to take you back to normality. You don’t though, probably because you know they’ll tell you to stop being stupid and go back inside. You sit about; contemplating life without them, as if you’ve moved all the way to the Arctic Circle. You try to keep yourself occupied; make the bed, unpack all your new stationery, binge eat all the snacks you brought with you and curl up in the foetal position: the usual.

starting uni baby

2.You will join societies you have no intention of committing to
Societies are great when starting university; a chance to engage in activities you already love, or to try new ones and make friends. Nonetheless, writing your email on a sign-up sheet at a freshers’ fair doesn’t mean that you plan on attending. Maybe it’s for a society like pole-dancing which sounds exotic and exciting: university is changing you already and your newfound friends are all signing up too. Later, when you get the email telling you that the first meeting is next week and that you have to wear short-shorts, you shudder at the thought of clinging to a pole half-dressed and think ‘I won’t have time for this.’

Maybe you only signed up out of guilt: you made a beeline for the stall with the best freebies only to be accosted by the eager society president. You chatted about how interesting the medieval society is for 10 minutes before signing your name and shuffling off with a bag of freebies and a murky conscience.

3. You won’t become friends with everyone you meet
Fresher’s week was all you really looked forward to since starting your UCAS application. A whole week of wild partying with likeminded people and non-stop alcohol: what’s not to love? You met loads of great people; Sarah who you peed with in a club toilet and became best friends with for a night, Dan who randomly turned up at your pre-drinks with a litre of vodka and knew every drinking game in history and Alex who convinced you that it was a good idea to steal that traffic cone because your room really needed one for decorative purposes.

You will never be friends with Sarah, Dan and Alex except on Facebook. The only thing you have in common with all three of them is that you were drunk when you met. Sober you has nothing in common with them and if your paths ever cross again, you will probably give each other a small nod or smile, but that’s all.

At least you’ll have the memories… and the traffic cone.

starting uni friends

4. No one will remember your name
You’ll meet literally hundreds of people in freshers’ week, and you will be lucky if at least 3 people remember your name. As someone who is particularly good at remembering names, it was even hard for me. Being asked by the same person three times in an hour ‘what’s your name again?’ is slightly soul-crushing. Your name is probably the most important thing to remember about you, and being forgotten reveals the horrible fact that you’re just one face among thousands.

It’s totally understandable to forget names during a time like fresher’s week due to the sheer volume of new information. If it’s week 5 though, and a person you’ve met a few too many times has no clue who you are, then it gets downright insulting and you know this person will never ever remember.

starting uni name


5. Living with new people is weird
Let’s face it, you could have the nicest flatmates in the world, but living with them would still be weird. Being thrown into a flat with four strangers is just university reality. It’s basically Big Brother, except that the nation isn’t watching you and nobody wins at the end.

Milk becomes scarcer than unicorn tears and the fridge requires CCTV. You have to wait until 2am to poop because you’re worried someone will hear you, and your new alarm clock is the sound of your flatmate having sex at 7am, and there are so many bin bags waiting to be taken out that a fox has begun nesting in your kitchen. Starting university and living with students really makes you realise that your parents were the best flatmates ever, and weekends trip home become all-inclusive holidays to the Bahamas.

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  1. Shanice Tarbert

    I think… you are totally right!

  2. Alex

    I can really relate to this article.

  3. Dannielle Greaves

    I think this is easy to relate to.

  4. Maxwell ikenna

    This article totally took the bull by its horn

  5. nayema akhtar

    I think…it’s very relatable.

  6. Mai Thanh Nguyen

    Everything you’ve mentioned is correct. The harsh reality of a fresher…

  7. Yoana Balcheva

    Ready or not, here I come, uni! 🙁

  8. Elise

    I think… everyone hypes up university until they realise what its really about. Higher education

  9. Nafisah

    I think…that this is true especially having to meet new people that you have not met and now you have to live with them you’ll have to get used to their bad habits that you don’t like fast.

  10. Lilly

    I think…this is super relatable and helpful thankyou

  11. Phynux Desmond

    What I think is that before starting a university one have to be unique and be the best of who he is .

  12. Phynux Desmond

    I think your right but let me add up to what is missing sometimes we chase after what is chasing us and so it is to good,bad, also it is to a university life cuz the first thing there is not all about the university alone but how unique are you in going in to a university and less I for got what ever your doing in this life and your not the best of your self your gonna loss it so it is to university you learn you live life that’s all what I got to add up

  13. Laura

    I think…this article makes some good points!

  14. Novo

    I think…this is so true!

  15. Faratira

    I can totally relate with the article.. but university life still the amazing.

  16. Georgia

    I think…this is so right. I feel like I’ve experienced this more than the people around me seem to have.

  17. Faizaan Idrish Mohmed

    I think that you are right as I am a second-year college student who is not looking forward to the start of University.

  18. Joyce

    I think…you are right about these but don’t forget that no matter how much you budget, your money won’t be enough ( well for me that’s the case).

  19. Aalia

    yesssss, This is so painfully true

  20. Victor Goras

    I think that you are a special girl and we have to meet

  21. Agonmuo Kelechi Alexandra

    I think… Being a fresher in the university is like one just registering into a new school, Everything about that person changes and it now going to be you alone no one to tell u things you are meant to know on your own, university also helps broadening one’s mind and also can learn and participate in lot of activity and makes newly fresher independent in one’s self and also meeting new friends. Also in the university you will get more exposed to things which one never intended to do or join e.g initiation, cultism, fraudster among peers. I recommend the article of “Jenny stavert”as a true story line of a new fresher 100 percent correct.

  22. Georgia

    I think… this just made me even more scared about starting uni.:(