Life at University – Myths vs Reality

Life at Uni – Myths vs Reality

Moving to University can be a daunting concept. As prospective students, many people worry about commonly voiced (and not necessarily accurate!) ideas about Uni life. This mini article aims to put some of these common concerns to rest: myths vs reality.

Myth 1 – It’s too expensive!

Often a big concern for prospective students is the financial burden of university life; paying for tuition fees, accommodation, and general living costs can all seem a bit overwhelming.

However, there’s no need to lose sleep over costs, as your tuition and maintenance loans should cover the bulk of this. Many student bank accounts with zero interest overdrafts are also available for those ‘just-in-case’ unexpected costs too. Part-time jobs that are flexible around your timetable are also plentiful both at the University and in York city centre. Many students may work in on-campus bars, or periodically as student ambassadors for their subject on Open Days.

Myth 2 – Uni life is all about drinking and clubbing!

A big concern for students that don’t drink can be the strong drinking culture associated with university.

Sometimes, it appears that all students do is go out and party – but whilst there is definitely a lively and attractive nightlife in York, it is far from the only thing to do in the city.

York is home to lots of sites that are all really fun to visit, notably the National Railway Museum, Jorvik Viking Centre and even the thrilling York Dungeon!

Photograph of National Railway Museum entrance
National Railway Museum

And of course, there’s always a range of exciting events and societies you can take part in at the university, ranging from the Astronomy Society, all the way to the Dungeon and Dragons Society!

Myth 3 – It’s too hard to make friends…

This is another pretty common fear for new students, but there is absolutely no need to fret over friendships.

Although you will most likely make friends with people on your course or in your flat if you live on campus, there are many other ways that new students can make friends such as going to freshers events and joining societies. Because we are such a diverse university, there will always be someone you can call your friend.

There are a number of societies designed especially for groups of students based on personal identity, including a number of cultural societies for international students of different backgrounds, and the ever-accepting LGBTQ+ Society.

Myth 4 – Degrees are too much work…

There’s no sugar-coating the fact that higher education is not a low effort undertaking, but that doesn’t mean you need to stress out. Provided you’re willing to put in a reasonable level of dedication to your studies, there’s no reason that assessments, assignments and research should become too much to bear. Inevitably, there will be times in the year when you will be busier than others, but through effective timetabling and healthy study habits this should be more than manageable.

If time management and effective study is still something that concerns or intimidates you, then all is not lost! A number of colleges at the Uni run workshops on managing your workload, dealing with stress, etc…

Photograph of Wellbeing Hub entrance
Wellbeing Hub in Goodricke College

Outside of this, the university employs a number of staff who can help you improve your written and verbal communication. Most tutors/lecturers have open office hours where students can pop along with any concerns or questions.

Myth 5 – Uni is too much of an adjustment…

There’s no doubt that the transition from further education to University is a big one – and sometimes a difficult one, depending on how quickly you adapt. Some students adapt quickly to living and studying independently whereas others take a while to adjust. We are all different.

It’s important to emphasise here that’s there’s no shame in taking a while to adapt. University is a vastly different environment to what most people have experienced before. For a lot of people the change can be a little overwhelming – but again, support is available. The university runs a number of events aimed at getting freshers more involved and comfortable with life at university. From talks about life at uni to more informal ‘hang out’ sessions held in colleges and societies across campus, you’ll find lots to do.

So all in all?

There can be no doubt that moving to Uni comes with its own unique set of challenges, but this is no reason to worry and stress. Whatever you’re struggling with, there will always be someone there to help, should you need it.

At the end of it all, you’ll come out with an experience unlike any other – and hopefully a degree too!

Read more stories about what university is really like.

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My name is Xavier (he/him) and I'm a 19 year-old student studying at York Law School. My interests range from football to gaming and anime. One day I hope to be a successful medical negligence lawyer.