Myth busting – the truth about student life!

…And the journey is over! As my days as an undergraduate are rapidly coming to an end *sob* perhaps this means it’s time for me draw on four years of uni experience and open up about what REALLY happens? K then. I shall proceed. Ahem. Is this thing on?

If you’ve never been a student, you probably have a few assumptions about student life. Whether or not they’re serious, or just plainly “I’m guessing it doesn’t happen but it’s fun to ask every single time you come home” assumptions. I’ll now clear a few up.

Do us student types bring our dirty washing home? Nah. It’s kind of near impossible to live away from home for months on end without learning how to use a washing machine. In fact, washing machines are actually pretty straightforward to learn.

For the first month in first year I was too nervous to ask my housemates (who were all younger than me, I’ll add) to show me how to use the washing machine, for several weeks. But I feel like that counts as a legit reason. It’s also not to say that you’ll never take the odd dirty shirt on a trip home just because it’s sometimes fun to let the parents do it.

We don’t hate washing up THAT much. We are yet to declare war on Fairy Liquid. But saying that, I have used some weird cutlery combinations thanks to utensil shortages. In first year, we didn’t have much in the way of a dining table, so to save me having to awkwardly cut stuff up on my lap, I learned to eat every meal using just a fork. Or a teaspoon. This habit remains with me today.

Some weird cutlery combos I’ve used:
Eating quiche with a knife and teaspoon. Spreading peanut butter across toast with a spoon.

And the weirdest one of the lot gets its own section…. In second year I was running late for a morning class and ended up eating Weetabix out of a cup. With a butter knife. It did the job!

You HAVE to get on with your housemates. Thou shalt love thy neighbour. Or at least learn to live with them. I’ve heard some utter horror stories about university households, and I’m eternally grateful that I’ve never had to knock on anyone’s door at 3am and beg them to turn their music down.

I’ve lived in households where everyone stays in their room 24/7 and you never really get the chance to get to know them, but I’ve also been lucky enough to live in households where we’ve been like a family and I’ve had to hold back tears when moving out.

But it really is a lottery. Due to various factors, every single year I’ve felt the pre-moving-in nerves because I’ve got to meet a load of new people that I’ll have to learn to live with immediately. What if you don’t get along? What if you have an argument on the first night? What if one of them is an Arsenal fan?

On my very first night in my last household, as my now-former-housemate loves to remind me, it couldn’t have gone much worse. He was starting his second year and had volunteered to help all the Freshers settle in to university life, and on my first night, which happened to be the final night of freshers week, they were all invited over to ours for pre-drinks.

It’s common knowledge I’m not exactly big on crowds, but to add to this, halfway through the night, next door’s dog came darting through the front door and started rampaging around our living room. Given dogs are one of my phobias, I bolted. It was kind of a shame because up until that point I’d been handing the situation admirably, and had just button-mashed my way to victory on a fighting game vs one of the freshers on Xbox.

We don’t all get out of bed in the afternoon. In fact, I’ve met more who do their best to get up early and make something of their day, and only a handful who enjoy watching Doctors over breakfast. I’m a bit of both. I preferred sleeping in on days off but only until roughly 10ish at the latest!

But… DUN DUN DUN, this is where I have to confess that in first year, around Christmas time, I had so little to do that I stayed in bed until 4pm on the day before term broke up. Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

Do we really all live on beans on toast? www.NOPE.com. I’ve had at least one housemate every year who was a dab hand in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I failed to pick up any tips from any of them, but thankfully my culinary skills are good enough to ensure I lived off a reasonable diet.

But, yes, quite a lot of it was pasta.

The most advanced thing I concocted was a (heavily assisted) curry, on a few occasions. I’ll reluctantly confess that cooking just fails to interest me, but thankfully it doesn’t require much motivation when it’s your favourite dish and there’s a few beers on hand to make things interesting.

We do actually attend lectures! Shock horror, I know. There’s always one or two students who you only see in the first lecture and who then disappear off the face of the earth for the rest of the year, but 80% of people attend every session.

Class sizes do begin to lessen the longer the year goes on though – a great example being my non-fiction group this year had around 15 or 16 of us in October, but by March we were lucky to get eight.

We don’t party every night. We really don’t. That’s not to say I’ve never been out for a few drinks on a school night, but it’s a rarity. Having never been in halls, I can only speak from the experience of living in independent housing, but the majority of students I met knew when it was okay to go out for drinks and when it was more sensible to get an early night.

On a similar note, student houses are hardworking places. I always found that it makes things easier to be around like-minded people – it doesn’t matter if you’re all on different courses, you are all in the same boat, and you’re sharing the experience together.

I always found it handy having other students on hand if I’d had an unexpectedly bad grade on an assignment, they’d always help me remain focused in order to do better next time.

Let us know what student myths you’ve debunked at your time at uni. We would love to hear from you in the comments or on our twitter at (twitter.com/Student_Wire).

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Matt Lawrence

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