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13 common myths about university

You might have seen movies and TV shows which make uni life out to be one big party – but is that what it's really like? Read on for the truth about university...

man wearing unicorn hat passed out drunk on sofa

Credit: – Shutterstock

While some students do like to go out partying a lot, play drinking games and sleep until noon, the common student stereotype is often largely a myth.

We're here to show you the truth about 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.

Find out what to take to university when first moving to your new student accommodation.

Biggest myths and misconceptions about university

Wondering what uni life is really like? Here are the most common myths and misconceptions about being a student:

  1. You'll never get a job after graduation

    While 42% of students in our latest National Student Money Survey did say they worry about finding a job after uni, there are many ways to stand out among the competition in the graduate job market.

    Aside from working hard to ensure you get the best result you can from uni, there are other things you can do while studying that will make you more employable.

    For example, extracurricular activities related to your interests and industry can be just as important on your CV as your degree.

    You could also do an internshiplearn a second language or set up your own business! All of these things will increase your chances of getting a full-time job.

    Have a look at the average graduate salary for your degree for an idea of what you could earn after university.

  2. Only rich people go to university

    You've likely heard people say that university is very expensive, with extortionate tuition fees and rising interest rates on Student Loans.

    These aspects of Student Finance are undoubtedly worrying, but they could actually be having more of a mental impact on you than a financial impact.

    All students who are eligible for Student Finance can receive a Maintenance Loan to cover their living costs, and you'll receive more if you're from a lower-income household.

    However, there's a chance you might not repay the loan in full before it's wiped after 25, 30 or 40 years (depending on which plan your Student Loan is on).

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

    For more myths about Student Finance, check out our handy guide.
  3. Students don't cook

    Quite possibly the biggest stereotype about students is that they don't know how to cook and will inevitably end up living off beans on toast.

    But, even if you can't cook when you first arrive at university, you'll probably pick it up quite quickly. We've got a great meal plan to get you started. It's also a good idea to invest in a student cookbook like Nosh For Students for a whole range of dinner ideas.

    Even if you do end up eating loads of beans, we've got plenty of baked beans recipes to help you jazz them up a bit.

  4. You'll meet all of your friends during freshers' week

    Four friends watching tv together

    Credit: bbernard – Shutterstock

    When starting your first year of uni, it's natural to hope the first people you hang out with during freshers' week will be your friends for life.

    But, in your excitement/anxiety to make friends, you might strike up friendships with people you later realise you have nothing in common with. And that's okay!

    There's every chance that you'll make some amazing friends during freshers' week. But it's important that you don't put too much pressure on yourself to make best friends straight away.

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

  5. The first year of university doesn't count

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

    To some extent, this can be 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 as this doesn't apply everywhere).

    However, you still need to do enough to pass to be able to move into your second year of study.

    Also, if you're keen to do a year abroad or a Year in Industry (YINI), some universities require you to get a 2:1 in your first year, 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 count.

    Putting the work in will also impress your tutors, and that can come in handy for all sorts of reasons, like receiving a good reference and getting introduced to their industry connections.

  6. You have to move out of your parents' house

    While many students do move away for university, it's certainly not a necessary part of the uni experience.

    You'll still be able to go on nights out and make friends at uni if you live at home. And, chances are, you could even make friends with people who let you stay at their student accommodation after a late one.

    Plus, although you do get a smaller Maintenance Loan if you live at home, you'll save a whole load of money if you're not having to pay a lot (or anything) for rent. This means you'd be able to use your money for socialising, travelling and eating out.

  7. You have to bring all of your stuff at the start of the year

    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 – particularly as you can get free Amazon Prime as a student.

    Bringing too much with you at first risks you and your flatmates all overpacking, and you may find yourselves with multiple versions of the same kitchen gadgets.

    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.

    Figuring out what you should and shouldn't pack is a big part of preparing for uni.
  8. En suite rooms are better than shared bathrooms in halls

    Whether or not to share a bathroom is something that a lot of freshers worry about when they first move to uni. Many new students will find the thought of sharing a bathroom with a bunch of random strangers pretty terrifying.

    But, while there should be en suite rooms available in uni halls if you're not comfortable sharing a bathroom, remember these rooms will be a lot more expensive.

    Shared bathrooms really aren't as bad as they might initially sound. And, particularly as you're unlikely to get an en suite if you rent a student house in the second and third year, there's no harm in sharing a bathroom in the first year.

  9. All students drink

    Despite the common misconception that students go out and get drunk all the time, this is really not how all students live. You should never feel like you have to drink if you don't want to!

    If you want to drink, drink, and if you don't want to drink, don't. Anyone who tries to force you into drinking when you're not comfortable with it is not 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, orange juice looks exactly the same whether it's been mixed with vodka or not!

  10. You have to go clubbing at university

    people in nightclub

    Credit: bbernard – Shutterstock

    While clubbing can be fun if it's your kind of thing, it certainly isn't the be-all and end-all of student nightlife. You might find that a lot of students go 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 fine too. Instead, you could always put on Netflix and eat Ben and Jerry's in your pyjamas.

    We've got plenty of help and advice on what to look for in your new student house and how to organise your bills.
  11. You won't have time for a part-time job

    You'll hear a lot of people saying 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 be good for your studies if you're able to manage the work hours.

    Balancing 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. For example, you could try selling things online, taking paid online surveys or even pet sitting!

    There are loads of ways you can make money at uni if you need some more inspiration.
  12. You need to find a house for second year immediately

    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 it. Who knows if these people will still be your friends in six months' time!

    Don't panic and make any commitments too early. It's best to 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).

  13. Everyone is having sex at uni

    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.

    But, whatever you do in terms of your university sex life, just make sure you stay safe and get a regular STI check (they're free!).

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

Katie Paterson

WRITTEN BY Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson is an accomplished writer from Glasgow. She studied English Literature at the University of Strathclyde, then went on to do a Research Masters in Literature at the University of Amsterdam. As Lead Editor for Save the Student, Katie has covered topics from career tips to ways to make money go further as a student.
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