After almost a year in university, I’ve discovered a few things that aren’t always apparent from the start. While every university is different there are some similarities and some misconceptions that need to be cleared up.
I hope that this article helps make university a little less daunting. It’s a new thing to make sense of which can be a scary prospect. So here are 5 myths about university that aren’t accurate…
Myth#1 Everyone knows more than you
This is probably the most common misconception and it’s also known as ‘imposter syndrome’.
We all come into university thinking that we don’t belong. We think that everyone knows more or is more ‘qualified’ than us to be here. However, after starting uni and talking to the students on my course, I found that most of them felt the same way. Most of us didn’t have prior experience in the course. We felt completely lost at first, but that’s was the whole point.
When you start university, it’s best to start with a flexible mindset. Ever heard of the expression ‘you can’t fill a cup that’s already full’? You’ll find that what you’ve learnt before is just a small grain compared to the amount of knowledge you will be exposed to now.
So your ‘imposter syndrome’ is just a sign that you are making progress by exposing yourself to a new environment. Just don’t forget that everyone else feels exactly like you do, even the lecturers at times.
Myth#2 You have only one chance to make friends and connections
When telling people I had to start university online because of lockdown and travel restrictions, they all thought I’d miss the complete university experience because fresher’s week had been cancelled. There’s this idea that you have only one opportunity to make friends. Only one opportunity to find ‘your people’. This isn’t necessarily true. Throughout your uni years you’ll be moving through different courses and meeting different people. So don’t stress about your first week because you’ll have ample opportunity to make connections.
Myth#3 All reading is compulsory
This is a common university myth and probably one I believed myself. You often hear about the overwhelming amount of reading you have to do for your classes. While there is quite a bit of material to cover, not all of it is compulsory. Many readings are suggested in preparation for your essays later on and your lecturers will specify which ones are compulsory. With time you’ll also learn how to judge which part of the readings are relevant or not.
Myth#4 No one is going to help you
Another misconception is that you’re all on your own in your university work. In reality, you’re provided with resources to help you and it’s up to you how you want to use them. Your lecturers and tutors have private meeting hours to answer any queries. There are also online workshops held, and you can always reach out to your student mentor or student advisor.
Remember that it’s normal to seek out help, I’ve often emailed my tutors and student advisor about my concerns and they were always quick to respond. If you feel like you aren’t receiving that support then you should definitely write to your programme director/administrator and give appropriate feedback.
Myth#5 University is impossibly hard
We’re all overwhelmed at one point during our semester or even throughout but don’t think that you’re incapable of thriving in uni. Even though university is much harder than high school, it’s important to remember that you’re also changing. We’re slowly becoming adults and thus our ability to overcome stress and handle obstacles is growing with us. Take it one day at a time and prioritise your mental health and you’ll find that university life becomes much easier.
I hope by demystifying these 5 misconceptions has dissipated some of your concerns about university life. These are the things I wish I knew before starting, so let me know down in the comments if you have any myths of your own or if you have any queries.