Uni life: Expectations vs reality

September 03, 2015
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Thanks to films like American Pie, Pitch Perfect and a bunch of other college classics, we probably had some preconceived notions of what uni life would involve before we actually experienced it. But once we enter the realm of being a student, we understand that sometimes university life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Often, it’s a completely different kettle of vodka.

Expectation: You’ll be out partying all the time

Reality: You’re probably gonna spend most of your nights alone, watching Netflix in bed

Thinking you’re going to be partying all the time is an unrealistic expectation for several reasons. Firstly, your liver isn’t an organ with unlimited capacity, and if you’re flushing out your system with alcohol every other night, you’ll find yourself feeling pretty rank. Secondly, your bank account is equally limited, and you’ll soon find out that alcohol is a delicious but expensive endeavor that doesn’t really harmonise with the student budget. To be honest, spending your nights in bed isn’t too bad of a reality: Food, Netflix and comfort - what more could you want?

Expectation: You’ll head to all your lectures and tutorials, even the early ones

Reality: You’re so wrong - so very wrong

I think it’s fair to say that most of us like to learn. I mean, why else would you be at uni? By now you’ve realised your uni schedule is vastly different from the general 9am to 3pm routine of high school. You’ll have 8am lectures and 7pm tutorials - and that’s not including the shit-tonne of classes packed in between. No one expects you to make it to every class (we all need beauty sleep, amirite?), so do yourself a favour and don’t put that pressure on yourself - only bitter disappointment awaits.

Expectation: Living out of home is a flawless experience

Reality: Eh… kinda

When I first moved out of home, it was certainly liberating. I was submitted to constant iterations of “living with your friends will make you hate them” and “you’ll be home in a month”, which I immediately dismissed. However, four months into my first experience living out of home, I felt like I was in some sort of eternal hell.  I’ve now been living in a different place for over half a year and am yet to have any serious issues. It’s an experience that can be completely freeing and a lot of fun; sometimes you just have to keep your guard up.

Expectation: You’ll never go back to your parents, except for special days and holidays

Reality: …and when you want money, food and just about everything else

The freedom when you move out of home is bloody exciting, but you’re an utter fool if you think you won’t have to go back to your parents’ nest outside of important dates. Guess who the first port of call is when your fridge is as empty as your bank account? The BMD (Bank of Mum and Dad) is a trustworthy and straightforward financial institution, and if you feel like you can’t borrow from them because you’re “independent” now, it’s OK – they expected this would happen sooner or later.

Expectation: Despite student loans and Centrelink, you’re still going to be poor as hell

Reality: Despite student loans and Centrelink, you’re still going to be poor as hell

Sometimes, the expectation aligns perfectly with the reality, and never more so when it comes to money. Stereotypes are generally anchored in truth, and the ‘poor student’ one is no exception. What you can expect is looking at your bank account with a distinct look of sheer terror, consistently buying the cheapest drink no matter where you are, and figuring out new and thrifty ways to make use of household items so you don’t have to buy anything else. You’ll be poor, but damn it, you’ll be resourceful.

Jackson Langford

Jackson is studying a Bachelor of Communication degree at the University of Newcastle and is the rightful heir to the throne.

Image: Niels Heidenreich, Flickr Creative Commons license