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Freshers

13 common myths about university

You might have seen movies and TV shows which make university out to be one long party – but is that what it's like in real life? We're here to do some myth-busting... 

man sleeping passed out drunk party

Credit: Rawpixel.com – Shutterstock

If you believe the Hollywood movies, you'll probably think that uni life is just 24/7 parties, binge drinking and sleeping until noon.

And while university does have its fair share of that stuff, the student stereotype you might have heard of is mostly just a myth.

We're here to show you exactly what you can expect at university and answer some of your most frequently asked questions. Read on for a real insight into what uni life is really like – from those who've been there and done it.

Myth-busting answers to common questions

If you're about to head off to uni for the first time, you'll probably have loads of people telling you what to expect – but how much is actually true? From people who've been there and done it, this what life at university is really like:

  1. Do you need to be rich to go to uni?

    The Great Gatsby party cheers

    Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

    You hear in the media all the time about how expensive university is now, with £9,000+ a year tuition fees and extortionate interest rates.

    While these changes to Student Finance are unfair and something we strongly oppose here at Save the Student, they're more likely to have a mental impact on you than an actual impact on your finances.

    All students will receive a Maintenance Loan to cover their living costs, and you'll receive more if you're from a lower-income household. Although this means you'll end up in more debt, around 80% of students will never repay their full loan before it's wiped after 30 years anyway!

    Don't believe us? Have a look at our Student Loan repayments calculator to see when your debts are likely to be cleared.

This is just one of many myths about Student Finance at university – student debt is not as scary as it seems, we promise!
  1. Should you move away from home for university?

    Modern Family Phil and Clare

    Credit: 20th Century Fox

    While it's true that many students do move away for university, and choose to live in halls and/or private housing, it's certainly not a necessary part of the uni experience.

    You'll still be able to make friends and go on plenty of nights out if you live at home. Chances are you'll even make some friends who live away and will let you crash at theirs if you have a late one.

    Plus, although you do a get a smaller Maintenance Loan if you live at home, you'll save a whole load of money if you're not having to fork out for rent – meaning you'll be able to use your money for socialising, travelling and eating out (or whatever it is you enjoy doing!)

  2. Should you buy stuff before you arrive at uni?

    Jenna Marbles packing video

    Credit: Jenna Marbles

    If you've ever tried to fit your whole life into one car before, you'll know exactly why we're saying this. It's just not worth the hassle.

    Save yourself (and whoever's been dragged into helping you move!) the stress by buying some of your essentials after you arrive or have them delivered to your new address – you do know you qualify for free Amazon Prime now you're a student, right?

    You may even turn up to find you live in a house full of fellow health-fanatics and you have five Nutribullets between you! Remember, you're likely to head home at some point during your first term, so anything that you find is missing can be grabbed at a later date.

Find out what current students recommend you take to university when first moving to your new student accommodation.
  1. Is it worth having an en suite room in halls?

    Fresh Meat bathroom shower

    Credit: Channel 4

    This is something that a lot of freshers obsess over when they first move to uni, and to be fair, the thought of sharing a bathroom with a bunch of random strangers is plain terrifying if you've never done it before.

    There will likely be plenty of en suite rooms in uni halls if you do decide having your own bathroom is necessary, but remember these rooms will be more expensive and shared bathrooms aren't as bad as they seem!

    Plus, when you move into a private house in your second and third year, the chances of you finding an en suite room are very slim, so you may as well get used to it now, right?

  2. Does the first year of uni count?

    Friends Joey and Ross nap

    Credit: Warner Bros.

    When you first arrive at university, you'll probably get told that "first year doesn't count" a LOT.

    To some extent, this is true – the actual mark you get in your first year of uni often won't go towards your final degree classification (double-check with your uni though as this doesn't apply everywhere).

    However, you do still need to do enough to pass in order to move into your second year of study. Also, if you're keen on doing a year abroad or a Year in Industry (YinI), some universities require you to get a 2:1 in your first year to qualify for these, and the best study abroad placements (normally in the US and Australia) are often reserved for first-class students.

    Regardless of all that, what you learn in your first year will be built upon in your further years of study, so knowing your stuff now will give you a boost when things really do start to count further down the line. Putting the work in will also impress your tutors, and that can come in handy for all sorts of reasons.

  3. Does everyone meet their friends during freshers' week?

    The Inbetweeners Friend meme

    Credit: Channel 4

    There seems to be a common misconception among uni starters that the first people they hang out with during freshers' week will be their uni buds for life.

    In your excitement/anxiety to make friends ASAP, you're likely to strike up friendships with people you'll later realise you have nothing in common with – apart from being freshers.

    That's not to say that you won't meet some amazing people during freshers' week who you will potentially build great friendships with, but just don't put too much pressure on yourself and those around you to make it happen.

    You'll meet absolutely loads of people as the years go on and your friendships will undoubtedly change over time – so try not to panic about it.

  4. What if you don't like clubbing at uni?

    Bad Neighbours frat party

    Credit: Universal Pictures

    While clubbing can be fun, it certainly isn't the be-all and end-all of student nightlife. You might find that everyone goes clubbing two or three times a week in first year, but let us tell you, by third year, nobody has the stamina for it.

    Why not have a cocktail night at home, host a dinner party or throw a house party instead? These are more budget-friendly options and are a much better way to get to know people than on a crowded dancefloor where you'll struggle to hear anything that's being said.

    If partying simply isn't your thing, that's ok too – whack on Netflix and eat Ben and Jerry's in your pyjamas. Fun comes in many different forms and more often than not it involves ice cream!

  5. Not drinking at uni – is it possible?

    drinking champagne on the plane

    Credit: BBC

    Just as you don't need to go clubbing to have a good time, you don't need to drink either!

    If you want to drink, drink, and if you don't want to drink, don't! Anyone who tries to force you into doing anything is someone who isn't worth being friends with.

    Not drinking doesn't mean you have to miss out on a night out, either. Good friends will accept that you don't want to drink, but if you don't want to draw any attention to yourself, it's easy to pretend – after all, coke and orange juice both look exactly the same whether they've been mixed with vodka or not!

  6. Should you get a part-time job while studying?

    Joey Friends working in Central Perk

    Credit: Warner Bros.

    You'll hear a lot of people proclaiming that their university course is too intense for them to have a part-time job.

    While it's true that some courses are incredibly time-consuming (and some unis even forbid students from working), it's worth knowing that sometimes having a part-time job can actually be good for your studies.

    Juggling uni and a part-time job requires organisation, which means you're likely to use your time more wisely and stick to deadlines.

    Doing some part-time work will also ease your money stresses and provide you with another opportunity to make new friends. If that's not enough, future graduate employers will be impressed with your CV if you can show how you supported yourself through uni and gained some practical workplace skills.

    Part-time jobs don't just have to be bar shifts either – why not try selling things online, taking paid online surveys or even pet sitting!

We've got absolutely loads of ideas for different ways you can make money at uni if you need some more inspiration!
  1. When do you need to sign for a house?

    row of terrace housing

    Credit: Manchesterphotos - Wikimedia

    It can feel like you've only just arrived for freshers' week when people around you are already teaming up and hunting for their second-year pads.

    However, there's no need to rush into things – who knows if these people will still be your friends in six months' time!

    Don't panic and start making commitments – take your time and find a group of flatmates you know you'll get on well with (something you'll only know for sure with time).

We've got plenty of help and advice on what to look for in your new student house and how to organise your bills.
  1. Is everyone having sex at uni?

    40 year old virgin condom

    Credit: Universal Pictures

    Not to disappoint you if you had your hopes set on this, but university really isn't the big sex-fest it's made out to be in US movies. Seriously, it isn't.

    Of course, if you're not living with your parents, you'll probably have more freedom to invite special friends over, but it's likely you'll start to notice that people around you are more interested in making friends than anything else.

    Whatever you decide to do once you're at uni, just make sure you stay safe and get a regular STI check (they're free!).

  2. Do students live off beans on toast?

    beans on toast on plate

    This is the biggest student stereotype in the book and something you've probably heard your parents say once or twice. Students don't know how to cook, and you'll inevitably end up living off beans on toast, right?

    Even if you can't cook when you first arrive at university, you'll probably pick it up quickly. We've got loads of simple student recipes to get you started, and we'd advise investing in a student cookbook like Nosh For Students for a whole range of meal ideas for every occasion.

    And if even if you do end up living on beans, what's wrong with that? We've got loads of baked beans recipes to help you jazz up the typical beans on toast combo.

  3. How easy is it to find a job after graduation?

    why don't I just strap on my job helmet

    Credit: FX

    Graduate employment levels are currently really healthy, and the idea that all graduates will end up working in McDonald's really is just a myth (unless you want to work in McDonald's, of course). If you're worried, why not have a look at the average graduate salary for your degree?

    Aside from working hard to ensure you get the best result you can from uni, there are also a number of things you can do while studying that will make you more employable when you graduate.

    For example, extracurricular activities related to your interests and industry can be just as important on your CV as your degree. You might also want to think about doing an internshiplearning a second language or setting up your own business! All these things will make you stand out from the competition, so get working on them ASAP.

Want more? No More Beans is the only student podcast which tells uni life like it really is – from cockroaches to 3am chicken nugget runs, we relive some of our funniest uni memories.

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