You're about to become a student, which means three years of questionable decision-making and constant surprises...
University will teach you a lot of things - how to actually use Harvard referencing and write essays at an alarming speed, just to name a few.
But there's also a lot of non-academic things you'll pick up from your time studying...
That last shot is never a good idea
This is a mistake you will make EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. If your head's saying you have a 9am lecture tomorrow but your mates are chanting ‘SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!’, you’ll pick the shots time and time again… until one hangover too many turns you into your parents and you end up going home for a pint of water and two slices of toast at a very reasonable 10pm.
From the forums...
“I broke my arm in a nightclub, but didn't notice it was broken so just went back to dancing. Was a wild night.” – Elastichedgehog
Going out every night of the week is less fun than you’d imagine
During Freshers Week, you’ll probably think that university life couldn’t possibly get any better. You’ve just got your student loan, lectures don’t start until next week and you’re making loads of new friends. But you’ll quickly realise how exhausting all that partying can get, and you’ll find yourself turning down mad nights out in favour of binge-watching a new series on Netflix.
You’ll come to love visiting home
Lots of students can’t wait to get away from nagging parents, eat whatever they want for dinner and experiment with styles that would raise eyebrows in their hometowns. But, when you make your first visit home, you’ll find that mum’s lasagne and dad’s stupid football commentary are actually quite endearing. Don't be surprised to find your relationship with your family improves once you’re not living on top of each other anymore.
From the forums...
“I tend to go home every other week purely for washing my clothes and bringing back to halls with me some home-cooked food.” – jv.lalloo
Surviving off a diet of white carbs is, shockingly, not great for you
It’s so easy to fall into the student trap of eating nothing but pesto pasta, oven chips or whatever you can sneak out of your flatmate’s cupboard on toast. And it may also shock you to discover that it might just be related to why you always feel so run down. One day you’ll snaffle a handful of someone’s grapes from the fridge and… actually enjoy them? It may be hard to believe now, but by second year, you’ll be cooking up a storm (ish) when you realise that scurvy just isn’t sexy.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a good thing
Going to Freshers Fair and signing up for 43 societies just to get the freebies is a rite of passage (though how many tote bags do you really need?). And sure, maybe you’ll find that the nice people on the Embroidery Society stand sliiiiightly oversold it… but equally, maybe you’ll discover a natural flair for street dance, a surprisingly refined palate or a love of South East Asian cinema. You just won’t know until you try.
Cheap box hair dye is NOT the answer to a breakup
So Harry from the corridor above ghosted you two weeks after your drunken fumble, and last night you saw him getting up close and personal with that girl from the history of art department. You’ll try to show him what he’s missing by dyeing your hair bleach blonde from a box you pick up in Superdrug. Your hair will end up orange. It just will. Cue a month spent wearing increasingly bizarre hats and headscarves until your next loan comes in so you can get it fixed. Just don’t bother.
From the forums...
“I was terrified when I had my hair dyed! I'd get it done professionally because it would be your first time and let's just say....if you do get it wrong, you'll probably regret it.” - MissVampire
Washing clothes isn’t as easy as it looks
If you’ve endured years of listening to mum complaining about the amount of washing she does, you’ve probably wondered what all the fuss is about… until the first time you do it yourself in your cramped, boiling-hot halls launderette, leave a red sock in with all your whites and spend the rest of the year rocking baby pink everything. Oops.
The work/life balance is HARD
Yep, sorry, this one really doesn’t change. Juggling essays, revision, a part-time job, maintaining a clean home, going out, friendships and relationships is really, REALLY hard work. But the good news is that uni is the perfect place to practise for life as a real adult. You won’t always get it right, but you can guarantee that you’ll have a blast figuring it all out.
The great thing about uni is that you’ll learn about so much more than just the subject you’ve signed up to study. Whether it’s some deep dark truth about yourself or simply the fact that ketchup really is a disgusting substitute for pasta sauce, you’ll come away with a wealth of invaluable knowledge that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Seriously though – put the bottle of Heinz down…
Watch more videos about student life
Our vloggers are sharing their experiences of student life direct from the campus. In this video playlist, we've collected their vlogs about first year accommodation, to help you get an idea of what it's like when you first start.
Our partnership with the University of East Anglia
The Student Room is proud to work with UEA, a UK top-25 university (The Times/Sunday Times 2020 and Complete University Guide 2020), as the official partner of our student life section.
Not only is UEA highly rated in the league tables, it has also received a TEF gold award for excellence in teaching, learning and outcomes.
Located on the edge of Norwich, a lively city full of secret gems just waiting to be discovered.
Visit their profile page to learn more or join the conversation on TSR's UEA forum.